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June 30, 2012

Toddie Downs’ App Reviews – (1) “Toca Tea Party”

Toddie Downs, M.A., CCC-SLP (an SLP in our practice) writes:

I’m obsessed these days with the potential that the iPad shows  to provide enrichment experiences to children, but there are so many apps! How can you know which apps are worth the money, and which are just taking up storage space? I hope that with these reviews, which I will try to publish on a pretty regular basis, that I can help provide some guidance to perplexed parents.

The first app I’ll review is a great one: Toca Tea Party by Toca Boca. Toca Boca makes many wonderful apps for children, and I’ll review other games at a later date. This is one of their best. This open-ended app encourages a lot of natural  conversation where you and your child can interact with each other, asking questions and pretending to eat yummy treats. The table starts out bare. Then your child makes a choice of tablecloth, plates, cups, and treats. There’s ample opportunity to model and practice a wide variety of vocabulary within these choices.

Once the food is on the plates, you “eat” by tapping the food. When an item has been eaten, a dialogue bubble with a picture of a treat will appear. This provides a great opportunity for the child to model requests by asking “Can I have more cake?” or whatever the target may be? Similarly, you can “drink” juice, and occasionally even spill it, which gives opportunity to practice verbs such as “clean up” and “wipe.”  Once everything is eaten, itiPad Apps for build Conversation Skills for Children’s time to wash the dishes and then you can do it all over again.

Because there isn’t a “end goal” to playing this game, this is a great game for younger kids or children with special needs who may have difficulty understanding more complex directions. It’s well worth the cost ($1.99 at the iTunes store).

RECAP:

Age range:  Toddlers on up

Target skills: Pretend play, conversation, asking questions, vocabulary, and more

Type of play: Open ended

Cost: $1.99 (as of review date)

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