Toca Boca is back with another excellent, entertaining app for the iPhone and iPad, Toca Lab. Toca Lab encourages little scientists to run different experiments on “elements” to discover something new.
Like all Toca Boca apps, there’s no text to wade through, so your little one can begin learning about experiments and science before they can even read. The game features 118 elements, each busting with personality. Once an element is selected, testing different lab tools on the element can result in the creation of something new.
The game promotes open exploration without time limits or penalties. Kids simply try the lab tools on every element to their heart’s content. It’s important to note that the game isn’t scientifically accurate—freezing or electrifying an element won’t turn it into something else, for example. It might be better suited to younger kids who don’t know much about science, serving instead to encourage experimentation and highlight the joy of discovery rather than teach chemistry concepts.
There’s also a bit of a learning curve with navigating the app. If the experiment doesn’t result in something new, kids have to press the arrow at the top of the screen to return to the lab. The same arrow selects an element in the periodic table. It took my daughter a few tries before realizing she had to navigate using the arrow, but the frustration has since disappeared.
With 118 elements to discover and a number of experiments to run on each, Toca Lab offers replay value and fun at a low price for an app. The game is available for $2.99 on the App Store for the iPhone and iPad.