Every day, we see countless of plants growing around us, in our backyard, our neighborhood, our school. But do you know their names and how they grow? If you don't, Toca Lab: Plants can help you learn.
Toca Lab: Plants is the second title in Toca Lab, a series of apps designed for budding scientists. As the title suggests, the focus of the app is on growing various kinds of plants.
Evolve and Discover 35 Plants
In Toca Lab: Plants, kids can experiment to discover up to 35 different plant characters, each with its own unique personality. They start with one plant, and use different lab tools to evolve it into new species. As they play, they can discover what each plant needs in order to grow.
When kids start the app, they will be taken to the lab to meet their first plant character. Kids can swipe or tap to move their plant around. They can also visit five different locations: grow light, watering tank, nutrition station, cloning machine, and crossbreeding apparatus. Each location allows them to experiment and observe how different plants react to different stimulations.
The key to evolving a plant is finding the right amount of water, sunlight, and nutrients. For example, some plants will bask happily in sunlight while others will groan and wiggle away. Some plants prefer to stay dry, while others can withstand large amounts of water. If the criteria for growth are fulfilled, the plant will produce a seed that pops to reveal a new plant.
To view all discovered plants, kids can use the pull tab on the top of the screen. A big map will appear and show the picture of each plant, its evolve paths, and its English and Latin names. The map also shows small icons that represent what each plant needs to grow, for example, the Red bogmoss requires water and nutrients.
In addition to evolving their plants, kids can also create entirely new species using the crossbreeding apparatus, or clone existing ones using the cloning machine. Once a plant is cloned, kids can plant the clones in any of the empty pots in the lab.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Toca Lab: Plants is a beautiful, open-ended app for all ages. Older kids will enjoy discovering new plant characters and figuring out ways to evolve them, while younger kids will simply love poking and prodding at the many fascinating tools and items in the Lab. As with Toca Boca apps, navigation is intuitive even with the lack of instructions. Reading isn't required to play, though kids who do read can benefit from learning the rightful names of each plant.
The app has no third-party ads and no in-app purchases. There are no links to external sites, save for a secured one that opens to a letter from the developer. The app doesn't require an Internet connection.
Things I Like
Toca Lab: Plants is an excellent way to get young kids interested in botany and science in general. I love the open-ended experience and funny interactions; they facilitate kids' natural curiosity. Even though some parts are not exactly scientific—seeds produce entirely new plants, for example—the overall idea is good enough to inspire kids to learn more about plants in general.
As always with Toca Boca, humor seeps through every inch of the app. The design for each plant is nothing short of interesting, and the way seeds are produced—from the plant's bottom, complete with sound effects—is sure to induce giggles. Kids will love bouncing the plants on mushrooms all over the lab, and crossbreeding different plants to get bizarre creations.
Toca Life: Plants may not replace your child's science textbooks, but it's a great way to introduce young kids to botany. They will love the quirky plant characters, the colorful graphics, the open-ended experience, and the friendly interactions. In fact, it's very likely that they'd want to grow their own plants after playing the app. Highly recommended!
App was provided for our honest review.
About Toca Boca
Toca Boca is a play studio that believes in the power of play. Check out their other apps:
Toca Nature is an imaginative app in which kids can manipulate terrains, grow trees, and watch as tiny habitats spring up at their fingertips. It’s an interactive way to experience the wonders of nature, and at the same time provide kids with a safe, creative outlet. Highly recommended for kids (and adults, to awaken your inner wild child!)