Though my kids love to explore the woods behind our house, with the weather turning frosty their time spent outdoors will be shortened considerably. So for those days when Mother Nature is less than hospitable, I’m thrilled to find the Toca Nature app from Cool Mom Tech favorite Toca Boca that will keep them exploring and thinking about the great outdoors.
Toca Nature is a beautifully designed app for iOS that has a very different look from the more cartoony and well-loved apps like Toca Boca Monster Mashup, Toca Store, and Toca Hair Salon. In Toca Nature, kids are invited to create their own little ecosystem completed with lakes and mountains and forests, as well as all the creatures that typically live in those areas.
Dig a lake and you’ll see small fish swimming in it, as well as beavers going from the shore to the water. Erect a forest of pine trees and you’ll soon see bears lumbering around in search of food. Gather the different foods each creature needs to survive and feed them when their thought bubble pops up, letting you know that they could use a little smackeral to fill up their tummy. Fortunately, I didn’t see any animals eating animals, which may be a bit too much reality for most preschoolers to handle. One hint: You’ll need to build all the different ecosystems in order to produce the five different foods your animals need.
My kids and I are very impressed by the level of detail and the immersive experience Toca Boca has created with Toca Nature. Take a bird’s eye view to see your entire region, or zoom down to ground level and maneuver around the trees or up the mountains to see your animals. I loved watching a deer prance delicately toward some food, or a rabbit looking around with big eyes before hopping away.
Just keep in mind that if you allow photos to be added to your iPhone or iPad’s album, you might end up with 10,000 photos your kids took of “nature.”
And while I wouldn’t say that Toca Nature is a substitute for getting outside and experiencing the natural world firsthand, it’s a nice way to get them thinking about the great outdoors, especially when the great outdoors is hovering around zero degrees.
Download Toca Boca’s Toca Nature for iOS on iTunes for $2.99.