Toca Life: School

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Toca Life: School App Poster Image
Rule the school and record stories with open-ended play.

Parents say

age 5+
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 about imagination, creativity, and storytelling. Just as with non-virtual pretend play, kids practice role-playing as they dictate what characters do and say. Kids can try out things that they wouldn't normally do and experiment with actions and consequences. Because they're totally in charge of their own little world, kids can feel a sense of empowerment. They'll also practice storytelling and presentation skills if they record their own voices narrating scenes. As they explore Toca Life: School, kids will naturally construct narratives and can share their creations with loved ones.

Ease of Play

Gameplay is all about exploring and experimenting, which is easy to do. Sometimes it takes a few tries to pick up and/or place characters or items where you want them.

Violence & Scariness

In the youth club, there's a goblin head that some kids might think is scary.

Sexy Stuff
Language

There's a bit of potty humor: Characters sit (clothed) on a toilet, make poop and fart noises, and flush the toilet. There's also poop in a litter box.

Consumerism

An icon advertising more apps from the developer appears on the home screen but can be turned off in your device's settings menu.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Toca Life: School joins the Toca Life series in which kids experiment, explore, and make up stories with characters and items, just as they would with a dollhouse. A recently added feature allows kids to record their voices as they move things around on the screen and save their stories to the device; for this, they'll need access to the microphone and the camera roll. There's an icon on the home screen that features weekly videos and silly facts about the Toca Life characters. In their device's settings menu, parents can turn off the music or hide the Weekly News and Toca news icons. In the bathroom area are farting and flushing noises and cat poop in a litter box. One scene has a goblin head that might be scary to some kids. The developer's detailed privacy policy explains what kinds of information it collects and shares. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byRahma I. January 1, 2018

Educational and fun!

Try it now! Entertain your kids

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

TOCA LIFE: SCHOOL offers five settings for free and imaginative play. Kids can visit a house, the school building, a playground, the cafeteria, or the youth club. Each of these places has places to explore; for example, the school building has a classroom, a hallway with lockers, and a bathroom. There are objects and props everywhere for kids to pick up and move around. Add, remove, and "interact" with 32 characters: Make them sleep, eat, play in a band, and so on, though they're more like paper dolls and don't perform many actions. The recording feature allows kids to make and narrate short movies as they interact with the features.

Is it any good?

There's certainly a lot to do, discover, explore, and imagine with this virtual school-themed dollhouse, but there are limitations and a few potentially eyebrow-raising elements. Kids are in control, it's easy to use, and some elements are really thoughtfully designed: The diverse range of characters lets kids pick from a wide variety of people, creatures, and animals, and props include wheelchairs. Though the recording feature is a nice addition, as it encourages kids to organize their play around a story, the weekly updates are not as impressive. At the time of this review, they were weirdly silly (for example, talking about how much a sloth "chills") in ways that won't always make sense to young kids. The chemistry class will likely be fun but also might be something the target age group won't relate to. There are also elements that some parents of the preschool set might not love: Some of the characters wear punk-style studded jewelry, there's graffiti in the youth club, and there are some mildly creepy elements such as a strange goblin head. The question remains whether the digital setting really is the best way for kids to engage in pretend play. Though there's an abundance of material here, which gives kids a wide set of possibilities, kids are still limited to what the game designers have programmed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the worlds kids create. Ask questions about whom different characters represent, what they're doing, and why.

  • Encourage offscreen pretend play with tea sets, dolls, stuffed animals, action figures, cardboard boxes, and more.

  • Read the letter from the developer for some insight into what the app has to offer and how to accompany your kids' play.

  • Talk to your kids about their own experiences at school. What do they do during school days? Who are their friends? What do they enjoy?

App details

For kids who love preschool apps

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