What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Toca Doctor is a fun and safe collection of puzzles based on healing a sick patient. There are no written and few spoken words in the app -- it is largely visual with sound effects and music. Kids will need help at first understanding how to play. Four patient issues are identified at a time; tapping on one takes you to that puzzle. The puzzles generally involve visual matching, with some logic and tilting the device to move items. Some of the scenes show blood, such as a puzzle giving the patient a shot or cleaning up a cut and applying a bandage. A few puzzles involve tapping on mangy-looking bugs to pop them.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- defining problems
- solving puzzles
Health & Fitness
- body awareness
Engagement, Approach, Support
Artistic graphics, nice sound effects, and fun games will appeal to kids. It won't take long for kids to finish the games, but they're fun enough to play over and over again, especially for younger kids.
The games provide plenty of opportunities for conversations about the human body and doctors. However, without context and extra support from an adult, learning within the app may only be superficial.
Kids can't see where they are in the game; they simply cycle through without explanation. Although gameplay is intuitive, there aren't any explanations or help points. The parents section has some nice suggestions for scaffolding.
Is it any good?
Kids will enjoy the simple animations and clean but catchy graphics and sound effects in TOCA DOCTOR. The puzzles can be a bit repetitive, but enjoyably so for preschoolers. Kids will have to learn several different skills to solve the puzzles, and may need help at first. Overall, it's great for kids to have this positive exposure to the workings of their bodies and to doctors' activities, including cleaning teeth, eliminating lice, and giving shots. We'd recommend this app for kids who are nervous about visiting the doctor, but you'll have to keep in mind that some of the puzzles are just for plain silly fun!
Families can talk about...
Play alongside your child and explain the body's internal systems.
Empower and encourage kids to help you address their own injuries or those of siblings.
Read the For Parents section from the main menu for more ideas.