A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn math concepts including counting, addition, and subtraction with $1 coins. Toca Store introduces kids to basic concepts of money and the roles of shopkeepers and customers. Without a lot of structure or feedback built in, there's a lot of room for imagination. Kids are empowered to play creatively, but they'll quickly see the relevance of the game to real shopping as they count out their coins for purchases. The app is designed as a toy, not a game, so its learning potential depends entirely on its players. Kids may need parental support to master the imaginative math concepts in Toca Store.
Ease of Play
An overview of the game's purpose is provided for parents, with tips on how to enhance the game's educational value. The game itself does not have many instructions, so kids and parents need to figure out the simple steps together. Similar to a store set toy, there is no built-in variation in difficulty, but customers and shopkeepers can make the game as easy or difficult as they choose. The game is best played by two players, but one person can play both roles. The game does not save upon closing. A small glitch very rarely lets a game continue longer than it should (more money keeps appearing).
Products & Purchases
There is a link from the home menu to buy more apps by the developer. One of the items available to sell in the store is a "Toca Boca" T-shirt.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Toca Store is a digital version of a toy store set that can be used to teach number skills and basic concepts of money to kids who know numbers 1 to 10. The game is designed for two players, a shopkeeper and a customer. The shopkeeper selects five items to sell from a catalog of 28 choices. The customer then drags an item to the checkout table, and the shopkeeper chooses a price for that item (by pressing a number from 1 to 5). That number of circles appears on the cash register, then the players drag coins from the customer's wallet onto the cash register to match the circles. The item is then dragged into the customer's bag, and the customer chooses a new item. There are 10 coins in the customer's wallet; once all 10 coins are spent, the cash register prints a receipt displaying the items purchased and their prices, and the game is over. If the customer does not have enough money for the last item, the wallet winks and the needed coins appear. The game itself is pretty simple and repetitive, so most of the room for learning and creativity is in the conversation that parents have with their kids while playing. The "for parents" section of the game gives some tips. Once they understand the game, kids can play both roles by themselves, or play with other kids.
Is It Any Good?
This app is simple but fun, with engaging graphics and great intuitive reinforcement of numbers, counting, and basic money concepts. In particular, counting out the coins, ending the game when the coins are used up, and displaying the receipt helps reinforce counting and introduce the concepts of subtraction and addition. Kids will enjoy picking items to sell, but the value of this repetitive game lies in the interaction between the players. Parent involvement is really required if kids are to understand and get the most out of this app -- and to explain the parts that are just for fun, like the magical wallet that produces the money needed for that last item!
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