Toca Train by Toca Boca – Educational target goals are limited only by the user’s imagination
by HWagner, M.S., CCC-SLP
Toca Train is a “Toy Train Playset”, as described on Toca Boca’s website! This is indeed, true! Who does not love any Toca Boca app, and who does not love trains? Joining the two is a no-brainer. You already know you will love it before you open it up! Toca Train is a universal app for anyone ages preschool and up. It is understood in all languages: The language of fun! Directions are not necessary…just open it up and start your journey.
In this exciting new app, YOU become the conductor of your very own train. You are in control! Jump on board and take a ride across a beautiful 3-D countryside! Cross over the bridge, pick up and unload passengers at Millvill, Tiltslad, and Bergsby train stations! Go through the tunnel on your way to pick up cargo. Wow, it’s dark in there! Are you picking up boxes of pears, loads of wood, hay, or maybe a prize winning pumpkin or a gigantic super saw? You have three cargo docks to visit. Load and unload your cargo using the giant cranes! Listen! The railroad crossing signals are going off! Pull the steam whistle to greet your friends as you pass by! Wow, did you see that windmill? Play as long as you like!
The Details: Toca understands what we want! When you first open the app, there is a Parental button which provides the user with some suggestions for guided play. There is also information on how to easily turn off the app’s music and the in-app link to Toca News. While the background music is nice and relaxing, it is wonderful to just listen to all the sounds of the train during game play! Your choice!
To Play: The opening screen appears and you see the train and the conductor. Use your fingers to rotate the scenery 360 degrees! Look all around! Pinch to zoom in or out! You can look ahead, behind, up and down, left and right. Study the clouds or study the countryside. Can you see the outline of the city in the distance?
Here are my favorite parts! During play, you can hear the train chugging. You can pull on the steam whistle to blow the horn! You hear and see the signals of a railroad crossing! You experience all the sights and sounds of a real train. You may drive the train with an outside view of the train from the tracks, or from the conductor’s view inside the train. As you are driving the train, you can look completely around you at all of the scenery going by, just like on a real train. It is the next best thing!
You: The Conductor!
From your conductor’s perch, you have the perfect view of what’s up ahead! Choose from 3 speeds….watch out, don’t go too fast or you’ll miss your station! Take a sip of tea, consult your map, and blow the steam whistle! Watch for signs along the railway. A smiley face means you are approaching a station…a crane symbol means a stop to pick up some goods!
This is a wonderful app just as it is, but if I could tweak it, here are some ideas:
1. I would like to be able to put the train in reverse if I miss a station.
2. What fun if the headlight could come on in the tunnel, or during an added night scene.
3. I would love to get to manipulate the characters at the train stations!
4. I would like to see who is riding in the passenger car…the shades are pulled down!
I highly recommend this app just for fun, or with educational goals in mind! Educational target goals are limited only by the user’s imagination. Use it to ask and answer wh-questions, sequence, practice pronouns, adjectives, labeling/vocabulary, problem solving skills, following directions, practice fine motor skills, social skills and turn taking, or whatever else you may need to address with your kids.
I give it a 5/5 rating. HWagner, M.S., CCC-SLP