Parents' Guide to

Toca Life: Pets

By Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Open-ended play with animals in virtual pet paradise.

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Kids' love of animals and pretend play get combined in this pet-centric open-ended world. As with all apps in the Toca Life series, there are no rules, no time limits, and no instructions. Kids simply fire up their imagination as they enter a virtual space filled with pets -- as well as some decidedly non-pet-like animals. There's an abundance of cats and dogs, but kids can also interact with some silly choices like an owl or a hedgehog. Most animals make a fun little animal sound when you pick them up. There's a bit more potty humor in Toca Life: Pets than in other titles in the series: Pets leave lots of poop and pee in litter boxes and other areas. Though there are plenty of props to move around and environments to explore, the most interactive kids can get is perhaps dumping animals in the mud to get them dirty and then in the water to clean them off. And, since it's a digital world, kids don't have the limitless possibilities of traditional pretend play. Here they are constrained by what the programmers have written into the app. Occasionally, it's also difficult to manipulate the tiny pieces, getting them to go where you want, especially for kids with less fine-motor control. The Record option is a fun way for kids to tell, save, and share their stories.

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