Toca Builders

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Well-done Minecraft-style app great for younger kids.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The only instructions included are in text form in the parent's section, but this sandbox game is meant to be explored to figure out. Different builders move in different ways, and the controls can be tricky for small hands to control.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The start page includes an ad for another Toca Boca app, accessible only through following written instructions to double-swipe.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No login required. Toca Boca's privacy policy is accessible from within the parent's section of the app and explains how the app collects and uses both personal and non-personal information.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, though most Toca Boca apps are for preschoolers, Toca Builders was designed for kids ages 5 to 11. For kids not quite ready for or interested in Minecraft, Toca Builders offers sandbox-style play where kids can create worlds. It's easier to pick up and play than Minecraft, and there's no fighting or monsters.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • measurement

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Since kids direct their experience -- from what to build to which builder to use -- they're in control of their fun and engagement. The controls take a little getting used to, but the design is beautiful.

Learning Approach

Sandbox-style, open-ended creation is hot in learning right now. Kids learn through creating and problem-solving. Being in control of what they create personalizes (and makes relevant) their learning experience.

Support

Players are left to figure out most of the gameplay on their own, which is part of the learning (and fun) experience. The parents section includes written instructions. The app saves each world automatically.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • measurement

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • part-whole relationships

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn creative thinking, geometry concepts, and non-standard measurements in this sandbox-style creation game. The open-ended gameplay lets kids create structures and build worlds their minds imagine -- block by block. Kids can develop spatial reasoning as they play and build three-dimensional structures. Toca Builders gives kids a fun, easy-to-manage way to express creativity and use technology.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

Parents say

Not yet rated
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What's it about?

Play starts with a flat world floating on water. Kids control six different builders, each with a different job, to design whatever worlds they can imagine. One builder paints the ground. Another drops blocks from a backpack or destroys them with a hammer. A crane places blocks in high places, and a jumper hops up and places blocks. Another painter spits paint, and one builder stretches and places blocks in midair. Different builders can destroy blocks, too -- but not in an antagonistic way -- just to help create the world that kids imagine. There's no competition or objective in the open-ended creation game. It's like playing with LEGOs without having to store them.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Alongside Minecraft and other sandbox-style creation toys and games, Toca Builders holds its own. The builder characters will appeal to kids drawn to stories, and the open-ended creation possibilities put kids in charge of their fun. Some characters move directionally using a gear-like shifter. Some move using a roller ball. Switching back and forth can get a little confusing, but most of the other controls are easy to pick up and fun to play around with. Parents who have had their device's camera roll fill up with their kids' Toca Boca creations will appreciate that Toca Builder's default is not linked to the camera roll. It can be changed in the game's settings. Creations are automatically saved, too, and kids can revisit them. It would be nice if all of the builders could enter the buildings kids create, but some are taller than six blocks, the maximum number of blocks the game allows players to stack.

Families can talk about...

  • Steer kids who like to build with LEGOs or who are interested in Minecraft but may be too young for it to Toca Builders.

  • Ask how the experience of building with LEGOs compares to the experience building in Toca Builders.

  • Ask kids about their creations and encourage them to share with you stories about their worlds.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone
Price:$.99-$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:June 19, 2013
Category:Education
Size:39.90 MB
Publisher:Toca Boca
Version:1.0.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later; Android 4.0.3 and up

This review of Toca Builders was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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For kids who love to build and create

What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old February 15, 2015
 

Toca time

It's really fun, because you can move the characters, and color blocks, but 4 stars because you only have a limited space.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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