Toca Tea Party is a wonderfully creative app from one of my new favorite developers, Toca Boca. This app creates a lovely interactive tea party environment which has become a huge hit with our entire family.
This is a wonderful iPad app which simulates a tea party for three, be it a child and two adults, a child and two dolls or stuffed animals, or three toys with the help of little hands. This app has been enjoyed in our house in every conceivable way and I can say that my husband, son, and I all love this application.
Being very intuitive, my son needed very little help from me to be able to play tea party by himself and his animal friends. One is given a choice of three tablecloths and different colorful plates that one can mix or match at will as well as a choice of wonderful treats to serve, as well as what I assume are coffee, tea and pink lemonade.
Once all the selections have been made, it is time to gather up the guests and enjoy the party. Tap the desserts to take bites, tap the cups to take a drink. Serve treats when plates are empty, and do top off the cups with whatever you fancy. It was a wonderful surprise the first time a cup was spilled and needed to be cleaned up, and I simply love the way the color of the drink is shown being absorbed into the napkin. Lit candles create a fancy mood which I would never allow in real life, but here it is safe and lovely. Tap to light or put it out, another nice touch from a recent update. Be sure to change the music on the radio as one can listen to an upbeat jazzy selection or a more relaxing and subdued country tune, an element my husband thinks makes this app.
It is fun that when a guest has finished a plate or drink, this app asks for sometime specific for each guest. Feel free to meet this request, or give something of your own choosing. When the plates are empty and the last treat has been served, it is time to do dishes! Drag the empty plates and cups into the dish pan or hold the iPad up for all the dishes to slide into the soapy water. One can also move the dishes around the page before cleaning up as well. The sound effects used for the eating, sipping, even knocking over a cup are cute and fun, adding to the life of this animated app, especially for the toy guests.
This is a true hit with our son, who is obsessed with play food, play kitchens, and play dish sets. He is quite the tea party thrower and often drags little plastic pieces all through the house, changing his party's location, much to our dislike of this. I do not expect this app to take the place of tea parties with real plastic ware, but it is nice that he can play this app on our sofa without losing any pieces as our sofa likes to eat small toys. It is also fun and relaxing to play tea party in bed at night without a huge cleanup.
A born caregiver, my boy really enjoys cleaning spilled cups as this is something he can utterly succeed at, as well as giving a hand to one of his stuffed friends. My son, however, does not have much of a sweet tooth and at first he really wanted to feed bananas to his animals. It would be nice to see some vegetable or fruit choices for those who want something lighter. It would also be fun for milk and sugar to be options in this app as the details of the sugar slowly disappearing and the milk lightening up the coffee or tea, adding even more to look at and play with.
I like that this this app is very open-ended, but there are some basic rules as well, such as serving each plate before one can start eating, or how you must clean up a spill before pouring more to drink. It is also nice how after finishing the desserts, one goes to the dish-washing stage, but it would be good if one could finish their drink first before everything is taken away.
Some kids may also want an endless game where they can select more food after the first round is finished. My son plays this game multiple times in one sitting and enjoys the fact that the tablecloth and plate choices change from party to party, but I do think some kids may want to just select more desserts and keep the game going without any distractions.
This app will be loved by a wide range of children, and I also recommend this application for children with special needs as it is a wonderful way to practice social interactions with other adults, children, or alone by themselves.
Every adult interested in children's app should become familiar with Toca Boca. They know what kids like and they certainly deliver. I hope they come up with many new exciting apps to come.