By Mieke VanderBorght,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sandbox world-builder offers a great intro for younger kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn about planning complex structures and creating logical connections among multiple dimensions. They'll work on design strategy and following through on a plan. They can also get silly as they use blocks to build worlds that stretch their imaginations and add infinite personal touches that express their unique sense of creativity. Any stories kids tell about the world they create or the characters who explore that world takes learning even further. Toca Blocks features open-ended exploration that lets kids practice using technology to build and create.
Ease of Play
Usage is entirely exploratory and will make more sense to some than to others. Sometimes it can be frustrating to make sure you're grabbing to move what you want to move.
Some icons call on potty humor, such as a toilet and a small pile of poop.
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Products & Purchases
An icon advertising more apps from the developer appears on the home screen but can be turned off in your device's settings menu.
Parents Need to Know
Where to Download
Videos and Photos
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What’s It About?
Build imaginary worlds with TOCA BLOCKS in the style of Minecraft. Kids start with a basic setting and small set of blocks. They can move blocks around, add to and change them, combine them, and explore their created world with three characters, each with a special way of moving around. There's a vast sky and deep underground available for building and much to explore. For example, doors take characters to different dimensions, and different block combinations create blocks with unique properties. Each world is automatically saved and can be revisited at any time.
Is It Any Good?
The sky's the limit in this open-ended Minecraft-esque building universe; with no introduction or instructions, kids are let loose to explore, discover, delight -- and possibly get frustrated. Block combining can get fun -- and downright addictive -- as kids keep experimenting to see what new block or item they can generate, and whatever they create is always available in their block dock. However, there's one downside: Though many kids will love the freedom, the lack of structure may exasperate others. Though the website and parent instructions within the app do have some user videos that demonstrate what fun it can be, without more guidance about what the app can do, its appeal may fly straight over some kids' heads. And some things are never explained -- for example, what are those eyes on some of the blocks for? Also, navigation can be sensitive sometimes, so kids will need practice to get used to how and where to tap or drag. For kids who love to explore without limits, Toca Blocks is a decent introduction to world creators that offers some unique special features, makes a strong use of the screen, and is appropriate for younger kids.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what kids create. Ask kids to take you on a tour of their world and explain how it works.
Build with your kids on and off the screen. Break out traditional building blocks, Legos, or whatever you have, and get creative. Talk about how building experiences are different depending on what you use.
Creating imaginary worlds can get addictive for some. Talk about setting screen-time limits and balancing on-screen and offscreen activities.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Hobbies: building
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: strategy, Creativity: brainstorming, imagination, innovation, making new creations, Tech Skills: digital creation
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: December 17, 2015
- Category: Education
- Publisher: Toca Boca
- Version: 1.0.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up
- Last updated: July 27, 2016
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