Toca Dance

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Toca Dance App Poster Image
Break it down and boogie in silly, open-ended routines.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about creative expression, moving bodies, and sensing the beat in a song. Freedom to move their characters empowers kids to get creative and silly, and they can feel proud ownership when they see their choreographed show performed on stage. Challenge kids to move to the music and they'll learn about listening for tempo and beat, transferring real-life movement to digital representation, and build some body awareness. Toca Dance is definitely for fun, but with some offscreen extension, kids can learn more.

Ease of Play

Navigation is easy and intuitive, though it takes a bit of coordination to use multiple fingers to get the dancers going -- and sometimes doing so can activate your device's multitasking features if you don't turn them off in the settings. Parents may want to read the guide to fully understand all the features.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

A small icon on the home page advertises other apps from the same developer; user must enter their birth year to access any purchase pages. The icon can be hidden by going through the device's settings menu.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in true Toca Boca form, Toca Dance is an open-ended app that gives kids a platform to create and imagine. In this case, kids choreograph a dance routine for up to three dancers and then watch the characters perform on stage. The performance can be saved as a video to your device's camera roll. The potty humor that's usually present somewhere in Toca Boca's apps goes a little farther here with a whole poop costume -- complete with poop hat and stink dots -- and a fart noise represented by an icon of a puff of air coming out of a curved rear end. Read the app's privacy policy for details on what kinds of information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Choreograph a dance performance with TOCA DANCE. Choose up to three performers, dress them in silly costumes, select a song, and teach them a dance. Use up to three fingers to move the teacher's arms, head, and body while the characters dutifully copy. Fill up to six colored "spots" with moves: Each spot has a different starting body position. When finished, move on to the stage, where kids can change the background scenery or add some special effects or audience sounds. After the performance, choose to save the video to the device's camera roll, or delete and start over again. It's possible the music selections will be available on Spotify, though they're not at the time of review.

Is it any good?

Kids are free to have lots of fun as they make characters in silly costumes move and groove to the beat. Performances let kids add special effects, such as a smoke machine and bursts of fire for extra drama. Some performance features seem a little out of place -- such as fart noises, a poop costume, and throwing food -- and are likely there just to be silly, which kids probably won't mind. Though it's delightful to choreograph body movements, it may take some practice for kids to be able to really make their limbs, head, and body move in a purposeful and intentional way. One major disappointment is the narrow range of music available: It's all upbeat with the same number of beats per minute, but it would be nice to see more varied styles with different tempos. The developer does mention that additional music will come out in future updates, so be on the lookout for that.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the differences between making characters dance on-screen and dancing in real life. Help bridge the gap and get kids doing the same moves they design for their Toca Boca characters.

  • These kinds of games can be lots of fun but help kids remember that it's important to maintain a balance between on-screen and offscreen activities. Talk together about setting reasonable limits.

  • Make your own dance party at home! Crank up the music and get moving. Experiment with lots of kinds of music and with different tempos; how do you move your body differently for different music?

App details

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