I have a real treat for readers today as I would like to announce that recently, Toca Boca released a free version of their popular digital toy app, Toca Kitchen. Titled Toca Kitchen Monsters, this new app includes two monster characters whom players can cook for and feed, complete with monster-like table manners and house-keeping skills.

Toca Boca is one of my all-time favorite developers, and it is really a gift for app users – new and seasoned alike – to be able to download an app of theirs for free, allowing parents to try one of their digital toys to see if they would like to purchase more of these reasonably priced applications.

Fans of Toca Boca who are familiar with Toca Kitchen will recognize much of this app because game play here is similar to the original application. First choose one’s monster character – either the brown furry creature with the banana peel on his head or the odd-looking blue guy styled in an equally odd way.

A swipe to the left of the screen will bring players to the refrigerator that here contains eight foods that one can prepare and feed to their character choice, including fruits and vegetables as well as a steak and/or hotdog. By first glimpse of the fridge, players may notice the old food splatter all over the interior, as well as the outside of the fridge and the door, which can be seen as one drags a finger over this section for a moment before the finger lets go, opening the door to see inside.

I love the inclusion of these messy details, as one can see spaghetti draped over the door handle, a piece of toast stuck to the door itself, as well as yucky yellow handprints and a mysterious yellow spill dripping from the top.

After food selections are made, one can choose to feed these choices raw to their creature, either whole or cut into pieces, as well as using other kitchenware to prepare these foods such as food processor, pot for boiling, pan for frying and microwave.

One can also see here that these monsters are not great housekeepers as all the kitchen tools seen here are also in need of a good wipe-down, as are the walls and other surfaces such as stovetop or microwave. This kitchen is pretty much a disaster – elements that I really enjoy – with many messy details to discover, which really adds to my monster-feeding experience.

When the food is prepared, do offer some to your creature, taking note that these beasts have very strong food preferences that they are not shy to display, as they often blow a raspberry, complete with out-stuck tongue but can also really enjoy their food, although this can be quite messy in and of itself, with food particles flying from their mouths as they chew.

When I was first testing this app, I loved these messy, friendly monsters and took them on face value as being simply whimsical characters which are very Toca Boca. It was not until I over-spiced my character’s food with pepper or salt – new condiments to the Kitchen app – and had this monster blow the entire mouthful in my face digitally, complete with what would be drip-down on the front piece of glass of my device – that a thought hit me.

This is no generic little monster; this reminds me of my little monster, especially when he was younger and trying foods for the first time, and yes, in the throes of taking care of a sometimes high-needs baby, our kitchen could use a good wipe-down from time to time as well. This is the reason that I am so smitten with the fun dirty details found within this charming application.

My mind wanders to a personal favorite book that I read to my son, Zagazoo, by Quentin Blake, about a young couple who receives a package of a zagazoo, which readers will identify as a baby. This zagazoo inexplicably changes into a vulture who screeches loudly, especially at night, to a warthog who wallows in the mud, an elephant who knocks everything down, a vulture with a fiery temper, and finally to an odd hairy creature that keeps to himself until one day he changes into a lovely young man, having gone through all the stages of childhood that readers will easily relate to.

Keeping this book in mind, I see the monsters from Toca Kitchen Monsters as children with monster-like table manners that I as well as most parents can relate to on many levels. From this point of view, I am smitten by all the antics and messy details found within, confounded by the fact that my son is growing up and has developed better eating habits. I can now look back fondly at this time in his life as he is no longer exhibits such messy behavior, but I can understand parents being concerned that very young children may in fact emulate the raspberry-blowing and food spitting of these monsters – not much of an issue for children in preschool or beyond, I would hope.

I am enjoying the new salt and pepper and extra cutting abilities found in Toca Monster Kitchen and the recent update to Toca Kitchen. The biggest change I would love to see included within these apps is the ability to cook or in other ways combine different foods together, although being able to place foods together on the plate to feed these monsters is always nice.

It is very easy to recommend this wonderful, free application to readers. My husband and I enjoy Toca Boca apps as much as my son does, and we as a family get very excited to hear about anything new from Toca Boca. I look forward to new applications by this talented group of developers.

Posted in: By Age Range, By App Feature, Creativity, Just For Fun, Parents and Kids, Preschool, Primary School, Reviews, Social, Toddlers

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