Building Blocks, though among the simplest of toys, provide an incredible amount educational benefit and entertainment for a child. For parents, they are tools to encourage creativity, to develop eye-hand coordination, to teach basic math skills, and to elicit communication, just to name just a few. For children, they are the most magical of toys that can be transformed to anything they can imagine. Toca Boca’s latest app, Toca Blocks, brings this same magic to children, digitally.
Toca Blocks is a colorful world of blocks. The first one you see when you play includes a few items already pre-built to give you the different things you can make or do in Toca Blocks. There are five different icons on the screen. On the very top right is an icon with stick figures on it. This icon allows you to find the 3 special inhabitants of Toca Blocks (more on them later). Right below that icon is the zoom toggle that allows you to get a wider view of your Toca Block world to see where everything is. On the bottom right is your inventory. On a completely new world, this will only contain your basic building blocks and a pink door (more on this later as well). On the middle bottom is a round multi-colored ball that you use to scroll left, right, up, and down in your world. On the very left bottom is a pencil icon that allow you to quickly place a string of blocks together. Next to it is what my children like to call the eraser monster. This creature, when chosen, eats up the blocks you put it next to.
You start with four basic building blocks. A multi-colored block, an orange block, a red block. and a green block. They are just plain solid blocks by themselves, but combine them and they create new blocks with special properties. For example, a multi-colored block combined with a green block makes a blue water block, an orange block combined with a red block makes a red brick block, and a green block combined with a red block makes a gray block that crumbles when you step on it. Every time you create a new block with two basic building blocks, it gets added to your inventory which is located on the bottom right of the screen.
Now you have a set of basic blocks and special blocks, which leads to even more block combinations! Combine two special blocks or a basic blocks with a special block to create objects to beautify your world. Some of the things I found include an apple (red block combined with a water block), a light bulb (orange block combined with a red brick block), a trumpet (orange block combined with a bouncy white block), and a fish (water block combined with a sticky block). All objects you create will also be added to your inventory. More objects can be created by combining 3 blocks in a specific order. You can even create something by combining two of the same basic colored block with a special block if you sequence it as follows: basic block A – special block B – basic block A. As you can see, it can take quite some time and thought to see what new objects can be made. I’m not sure if I have discovered all there is to create! Sometimes the result of combining blocks simply results in block that combines the colors of both blocks and contains the same property as the special block. These color combination blocks are not included in the inventory.
Toca Blocks is inhabited by 3 characters with special powers. There is a red character that looks like a bear with fantastic climbing skills. There is a green character that my kids think looks like a cat that has the ability to destroy blocks by smashing them. There is a black character that looks like a bird who is fast and can somewhat fly. These characters will help you discover how each block works and help you explore your world. You can guide them with your finger, or you can bring up the controls by tapping on a character. The controls include left and right button to direct the character’s movements and a green jump button. Jumping can help the characters get out of sticky situations.
I mentioned earlier that in your inventory you will find a pink door. When your character goes in front of the pink door, an icon pops up. Clicking on this icon will make your character enter the door and be teleported to another room or world. You can also turn this world into whatever you wish. You can return back to your original world by going through the door again.
My children enjoy Toca Blocks and have been creating all kinds of structures and worlds with it. They love discovering what combing different blocks would do and what each block does. They also enjoy seeing how the different characters interact with the blocks. They have suggested a few things for future updates and I wholeheartedly agree with them. First, they would like a “reset” button for the characters so that if they end up falling down far they can quickly get the back to the top with just a click of the button. Second, they would like to see the characters interact with the objects. Currently, most objects are just for decoration. Third, they would like to create more objects and different shaped blocks. Finally, they would like to have all of the items in the inventory to stay inventory when creating a new world instead of having to start all over from scratch. It can be tedious to combine things all over again to get them in the inventory.
Toca Blocks comes with very minimal instructions. As a parent, I would have appreciated a detailed instruction including a list of blocks and their properties, a list of block combinations and objects they create, explanation about the characters, hints, and tips. I would like to have this in the parent section so that if our kids need help we can provide it for them easily. I believe parents are a good judge of how much and how little assistance our children need.
Toca Blocks can be enjoyed by the youngest child for simple block building to the oldest child (including adults) for more complex building and landscaping. There is of course no substitute for the classic toy blocks, but Toca Blocks makes an excellent alternative. It takes patience to figure it all out, but I highly recommend it.
Toca Blocksby Toca Boca AB
Category: Education, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 93.55 MB