Toca Lab: Plants

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
Toca Lab: Plants App Poster Image
Unique way for young botanists to explore, experiment, grow.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to experiment with laboratory equipment while exploring plant growth and reproduction. This is accomplished visually, as kids interact with the plants and observe what happens. They learn an important lesson - that all plants have the same basic requirements including light, water, and nutrients, but that different plants require them in different amounts. Kids are also introduced to cross breeding and learn that when two plants are bred together, a new plant is produced with characteristics from both of the original plants.

Ease of Play

Using the lab equipment is easy and intuitive, but interactions are sometimes a bit confusing, as it is not always clear what needs to be done and why.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There's an icon in the bottom corner of the main page that, when tapped, takes users to an advertisement page for the developer's other products.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Toca Lab: Plants is an open-exploration app that young learners can use to experiment with basics of botany. It's similar in concept to Toca Lab Elements, but the focus is on growing plants and evolving them into new species. Kids get to play with five different lab stations where they can discover what their plants need, such as nutrients, light, and water. During the phase when a plant makes a seed, there's a farting sound and the seed appears to come out of the plant's bottom. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLousie M. May 25, 2018

Toca Lab: Plants Parent Guide

Some plants seem a little scared before you give it the chemicals. Might make kids ages 3 and under cry. This game is still FUN to play!

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What's it about?

Kids start TOCA LAB: PLANTS by pressing play to enter the plant lab. A plant appears on the table, and kids swipe, slide, and tap to move the plant around the lab. They can choose from five different experiment stations: grow light, cloning station, watering tank, cross breeding station, and nutrition station. As kids experiment with the various lab equipment at each station, they observe how the plants respond. Some make happy noises and gestures, while others make grunting sounds and appear to be distressed. With the right amount of water, light, and nutrients, a plant will grow and eventually produce a seed. Kids can discover up to 35 plants with different personalities and physical traits.

Is it any good?

Die-hard botany lovers might find some of the "non-science" features hard to swallow, but most kids will love the plant personalities while getting a wonderful introduction to life science. The open-play experience, colorful graphics, and friendly interactions are an excellent way to get kids excited about science. Many will likely be inspired to grow their own plants or to simply learn more about plant life in general. The addition of some basic audio or text that teaches kids some science would make the app appealing to a wider audience. At the very least, it would be great to have some information for parents so they can address any misconceptions generated by the game. For example, unlike in "real science," a new plant seed produces an entirely new kind of plant. For families who are less concerned with the specifics, Toca Lab: Plants gives kids a fun way to explore science.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why we need plants and how they help other living things. What do we learn about plants from Toca Lab: Plants? For example, plants give us food. They also release oxygen into the air, which helps us breathe.

  • Discuss differences between what kids observe in the game and what actually happens in real life.

  • Grow a plant or a garden with kids. Work together to learn what the plants need in terms of water, sunlight, and nutrients in the soil.

App details

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