Friday, July 15, 2011

More by Toca Boca

Toca Boca, designers of Toca Doctor, Helicopter Taxi, and Toca Tea Party, have added a few additional apps.  I recently purchased:

Toca Hair Salon
This app was $1.99.  The app begins by having the student/child pick a face/character (from 6 choices).  You then can select multiple tools to interact with the character's hair:  scissors for clipping, power clippers for shaving/clipping, comb, hairdryer, and multiple colors of spraypaint.  There is also a small jar of 'hair growth' gel for regrowing hair. Very fun app, I enjoy it and my 4-year old loves to ask me to play this app with him.  It would be really wild and cool if they added the ability to do pigtails, make curls, more characters, etc.

Therapy ideas:
*Social Skills: This app would work well for focusing on turn-taking and 'being flexible'.  Partners could work together to create a hairstyle for their character, but would need to exhibit appropriate turn-taking, flexible thought (Superflex anyone?), and conversation skills.  Of course, there is always room 'problems', which can then be discussed or acted out through some role play.

*Describing:  Have the student describe their character prior to beginning.  A graphic organizer, such as a web, could be useful.  Allow the student to 'play' and change their character.  For each new tool, have the student describe what they are doing.  When finished, have the student use another web to describe their character.  Lastly, Use a venn diagram to compare and contrast how the characters changed, are the same/different, etc.

*Adjectives/Adverbs: Have the student formulate and write sentences containing specific adjectives.  It may be beneficial to provide a word bank initially.  Ex: "I will quickly shave Bob's head." "Bob has colorful hair with spikes on the top of his head"

*Verb Tense: Have the student formulate past, present, and future tense sentences.  Ex: "I will comb Bob's hair, then I will spray it orange."  "I cut Bob's hair before I sprayed it blue."  The clinician could write the sentences and compile the sentences.  If working on word order as well, these same sentences could be cut apart and mixed up.  Have the student put the sentences back together.

*Before/After:  Sentences containing before/after are often challenging for some students.  Have the student take turns following and formulating sentences/directions containing before/after. Ex: "Before you shave his head, blow dry his hair."  "After you spray her hair orange, give her a mowhawk!"

Toca Robot Lab
This app was $.99.  For this app, the student/child is able to build a robot by selecting parts. First, s/he chooses a set of legs, then a body, arms, and head.  Each time you build a robot, there are new parts. Once you finish building the robot, there is a quick game.  The student/child must hold down/drag the robot through a maze of items to collect stars.  Once all of the stars are collected, the child steers the robot towards a giant magnet at the top of the screen. The robot is then dragged away and a score (for stars) is provided.

Therapy ideas:

*Social Skills and Non-verbal communication: students work in pairs and use non-verbal communication to indicate which robot parts to use, and later, how to guide the robot through the maze.  Other social skills could also be incorporated, such as turn-taking, eye contact, staying with the group/attending to task, and 'being flexible'. Again, it is always fine if problems happen as they are opportunities for discussion/role play.  I am very lucky to have a 4-year old son (who loves Toca apps and is always willing to be my assistant) to try these apps with.

*Following directions and basic concepts (left, right, center, middle, next to, etc): students can follow or give directions to indicate verbally which body parts to use.  Ex: "Pick the legs in the center".  You could expand on this skill during the game portion  by providing higher level directions.

*Describing: Have the students describe which part they want, then the clinician or a peer will locate that part. Reverse roles by giving a description and having the student locate the part.  Once the robot is complete, have the student provide a complete description of the robot.  This could become a writing exercise as well.  The student could use a graphic organizer, such as a web, to jot down descriptions of each part.  Once the web is complete, the students could write a paragraph and add other story details. 

They also have: Toca Boca Paint My Wings, which is an app for painting butterflies.  I have not bought this app yet.

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