© 2015 Toca Boca
50 MB, iPad, Android, iPhone, Apple TV
Teaches: Creativity, logic, spatial relations, art, blocks
Tagged for: All Time Best, Classics, Android, Library Apps, Maker, Art, Logic, Road Trip, Summer Learning, Montessori, ECE
Block play comes to your iPad or Android touch screen, with this playful, powerful 2D creativity experience. Not to be confused with Toca Builders (http://reviews.childrenstech.com/ctr/review.ph...
Block play comes to your iPad or Android touch screen, with this playful, powerful 2D creativity experience. Not to be confused with Toca Builders (http://reviews.childrenstech.com/ctr/review.php?id=16958) this much more powerful app gives you a huge working space, making it possible to build deep mines or tall towers -- over 250 blocks in any direction. Because the blocks stick anywhere, you're not limited by things like gravity. Want a floating swimming pool? No problem. Everything about this app leads toward one-touch success. In our child testing, the kids couldn't resist this app; and we should note that the slightly similar Minecraft "blocky" look doesn't hurt. To start, tap the screen and a block appears; another tap, another block. Below, a list of blocks with different properties (grass, rocks, water, sparkles) provides more options. If you drag one type of block onto another, they mix into something new, like a tree, chair, toilet or musical instrument. Every time you make something new, it's saved in another menu in case you want to use it again. All projects are saved automatically and stored with auto-generated thumbnails on the first menu, so no reading is required, and there are no user accounts to worry about. An entire classroom of children could use this app as long as they don't mind seeing (and perhaps editing or deleting) each other's work. Think of apps like this one as a massive tub of virtual LEGOs, where some projects might stay assembled to be shared by everyone. Besides the blocks, three animated creatures appear on the screen that can be used for adding a narrative element to a project. Plus, there's a very nice, not-to-be-overlooked portal (in the form of a door icon) that brings in some basic ideas about coding. If you add it to your project, you can jump back and forth to a hidden room. This gives your work a 3D dimension. This is the type of app that doesn't need a tutorial, but there is one that helps you understand how to "mix" the blocks. There's also Features include a short tutorial, plus three pre-installed worlds for ideas. Weaknesses are minor but worth noting. There's a pencil and eraser icon for quickly placing or erasing blocks, but sometimes they don't work in the way you think they will, which created some tester confusion. Also, the background music can't be turned off and could be annoying for a classroom or library setting. Use your the controls found in your iPad's preferences to adjust the sound. Toca Blocks is a staple app with broad age appeal that should be on every child's screen. Reviewer notes: We didn't test the Android version. This is Toca Boca's 30th app in five years, and it was designed by the team that developed Toca Nature.