Toca Store review by Dr. Robin Parker, Speech-Language Pathologist along with Technology in Education
Overview: Toca Store is a fun and interactive shopping pretend play app that can help a child learn about many concepts involved in shopping at the store. Playing ‘store’ has new meaning when you can also do it with technology. Children choose from 28 realistic looking items for their store as the shopkeeper. Once the store is set up, the children can invite a shopper or shop themselves. Once the shopper starts shopping, they choose an item from a basket and decide on the price. Then the shopper pays for the item and has it bagged. There is a money subtraction aspect to this app. If the child spends more money then is left in the purse, ‘magic’ stars appear and the shopper is given more money. When this app is played interactively, not having enough money or spending too much can be talked about to teach appropriate language.
IEP Goals that are covered: Social Skills, Life Skills, Counting and Beginning Subtraction, Shopping, Pretend Play, Matching, and Sequencing.
Toca store is another fun and interactive app from the Toca Boca Play studio with Toca Hair Salon, Toca Paint My wings, Toca Tea Party, Toca Doctor, and Toca Helicopter
There are some great features of this app that make it excellent for students with special needs. There are great clear prompts to help children know how to play and learn with positive reinforcement and feedback only. The items wiggle and make a sound if you are supposed to tap them. Also and even better is that a shaded area appears to show where to put an item once you want to buy it and shaded dots appear to show you how much money to count out. These prompts help ALL children learn new skills but make it especially positive for students with special needs. I would highly recommend this app for students with autism spectrum disorder because it helps work on social skills, life skills, pretend play in an errorless learning format.
Wish List - Although I really like this app as it is right now, here are some additions:
- Be able to choose which type of store the child is shopping at: a grocery store, a toy store, and maybe a superstore.
- Add a few spoken words with the sounds. For example, when shopping is finished, ‘thank you’ or ‘thanks for shopping’ or ‘oops’ when spending more money than is left in the purse.
- Add a companion app that keeps the format the same but has realistic pricing and the option for subtracting realistic looking coins.
- Add own pictures for shopping items
- Allow multiple items of the same thing (currently it allows only one item).
- Have levels so the kid needs to stop at the exact amount or pay more and get a change.
- Add choices to purse. Currently it has only ladies bag. Boys may not like to use it.
- Allow kid to view what they already purchased.
Overall impression- Highly recommend Toca Store. Love the interactive component and the sequence of a real everyday event. I also think the prompting and positive only feedback is great. This app will be fun and educational for ALL children and it encourages role-playing and interaction and language.
Review by Dr. Robin Parker, Speech-Language Pathologist