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App of the Week – Toca House

By Sarah Combs:

A giant yellow monkey with a floral headband may not be the ideal head of a household, but this isn’t your typical house.  (And considering that one of the other inhabitants is a little girl with a pink house for a head, maybe this giant monkey isn’t so strange after all.) When you step into Toca House, you’re entering a world that’s just a little bit off, and we happen to like it that way.

Toca House is the latest in a fantastic series of educational kids apps from Swedish app developer Toca Boca. The game’s premise is simple enough; you help five family members with their chores around the house. What really takes this app to the next level (and will make it an immediate family favorite) are the delightfully whimsical graphics, the engaging sounds, and the number of different activities that you can play.

As you move up and down the floors of the house, you can help out with all sorts of different chores. Just a small sampling of the 19 different activities include sorting out the mail, ironing, doing the laundry, mopping the floor, cooking, putting away the groceries, and cleaning up the bathroom.

Only Toca Boca could make doing basic, typically boring household chores ridiculously entertaining and gorgeous at the same time.

We really love how Erik Wahlgren, Toca’s play designer, describes the thinking behind the activities within the app:

“To small children, housekeeping is novel. In their eyes, it’s an act of making things nice. Later in life many learn from their surroundings that it’s a dull duty. Our aim with this game is to help bring out the fun and rewarding parts in making your home nice. We think that establishing housekeeping as something joyful early in life will be a big help to your child as he or she will grow up and eventually will have to manage a home of their own.”

This makes a lot of sense. When I was little, I thought helping around the house was a cool, grownup thing to do. Maybe this is just what a family needs to help cut down on the complaining when it comes time to do the household chores.

There aren’t any spoken words within the app, since it’s built with an international audience in mind, but the sounds are super fun and they work really well to reinforce positive achievements within the game. Toca Boca’s CEO, Bjorn Jeffery, said that their apps are designed to promote "learning rather than education: learning for life rather than learning for school" and they’ve definitely remained true to their mission with this latest project.

Toca House is recommended for Toddlers and Kids (ages 1 to 9) for adorable graphics and elementary level educational concepts. Find screenshots, reviews and family-friendly ratings for Toca House and more of the best iPad apps at Famigo.com.

Developer: Toca Boca

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (iOS 4.2 or later)
App Category: Education

Price: $1.99

Famigo Family Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Comment by corneli, posted 3/6/2014, 11:34 AM:

Why is this stunning app only available for apple and not for android? Would love to have Toca house for my pre-scool kids on my Samsung note... Regards Corneli du Plessis
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