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USA TODAY: Digital playground apps top the charts

June 15, 2014


Digital playground apps top the charts

“Play is really the work of childhood,” said Fred Rogers, the beloved TV star and early childhood educator. With this quote in mind, it’s not surprising that open-ended play is the focus of several apps landing in the coveted top-10 lists in iTunes. Here’s a look at three apps that let kids manipulate objects to create their own stories, discover hidden delights and expand their own creativity as they combine things in novel ways. Toca Town Toca Boca AB, best for ages 3-6, $2.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Rating: 4 stars (out of 4) Kids become the mayor in Toca Town, a digital playspace with six locations. 21 characters populate the town, many from previous Toca Boca apps. As kids check out each location, they explore by tapping and moving things and characters about. Want to hold a pillow fight? Start shaking a pillow to let the feathers fly. Always wanted to flush the toilet repeatedly? Go for it. How about creating your own new signature dish at the restaurant? Just slide food together to see the result. Fans of other Toca Boca apps will enjoy playing with favorite characters, who appear together for the first time in this app. I enjoyed placing Stikk Figga (my favorite rapper from “Toca Band”) behind a tree in the park to play hide-and-seek.

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