Toca Boca

Meet Amanda’s Desk

25 Jul 2014 by Megan

Every week, we kindly ask one of our fellow Toca Bocans for a quick peek at their desk. Actually, we never really ask, we simply take some time to snoop around in their creative mess, which is then neatly organized a moment later.

This week we have the amazing Amanda. She has been working at Toca Boca since 2011 and has been a part of the teams that have developed some Toca Boca favorites like Toca House, Toca Tailor, Toca Mini (which was her favorite app) & Toca Town.

Amanda desk

Megan: So Amanda, tell us about some of the cool stuff on your desk.

Amanda: Hmm, well the round stickers on my macbook are the first Toca Boca stickers we made without the logo. We only made one batch so they’re quite rare! The other sticker on my macbook, the cat/octopus one, is from github.com, a tool that I use every day at work. I love Lego, so I have several Lego models that I’ve built at my desk. The Lego model at the top left corner is “The Shellraiser”, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ car. I’m a big TMNT fan. I built it during one of our Lego nights at the office.

M: Very cool! Isn’t lego the best? What can you not live without?

A: My computer! What’s missing in the photo that I also cannot live without: my computer mouse & mousepad, and my second monitor which is essential when coding. My favorite item on my desk is the Yoshi plushie. Can’t live without him either.

M: Awe! Yoshi is essential. What sort of things on your desk make you laugh?

A: The Lego model at the bottom left corner of the photo. I call him “Nybble”.

M: LOL! He makes me laugh too! Tells us more!

A: Many of the other things on my desk are stuff I’ve bought from the Gashapon machine in the office. The coin is in fact a Japanese coin (100 yen) that I need for buying stuff from the Gashpaon machine. Let’s see, theres the black christmas ornament that came from the Toca Boca christmas party that I helped organize at the end of last year. The small white robot, you can hardly see it in the photo, but it’s below the christmas ornament, is a 3D model that I’ve printed using the 3D printer that we have at the office. (It should be known that Amanda recently fixed the 3D printer in the office! Another reason for being amazing Amanda!). And I have two iPhone/iPad charger cables, one with the new type of connector and one with the ‘old style’ connector, that I use for debugging on older devices such as iPad 1, 2 & 3 and iPhone 3GS, 4 & 4S.

M: Thanks for sharing your desk with us, Amanda! Sorry we moved everything around… will you forgive us?

Toca Town Update

25 Jul 2014 by Megan

The people have spoken! You asked for refillable cups and bottles in Toca Town and we listened. We loved reading all your comments and suggestions and were more than happy to revamp Toca Town to add this fun feature. It’s available today on the App Store! Don’t have Toca Town? No worries! It’s just a click away for only $2.99!

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The Mad Scientist

23 Jul 2014 by Megan

Well, not really. But our friend Willow is using some cool science to make Kombucha in the office. It currently resides in the kitchen and after a few strange looks at the SCOBY brewing we decided to ask Willow all about it!

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Megan: So, what is this stuff?

Willow: It’s a fermenting culture that helps turn sweet tea into a fizzy drink that’s filled with B-vitamins, antioxidants and those good-for-your-tummy probiotics. It originally comes from China, from one of the dynasty’s, and is a gazillion years old (the process that is). I’ve only been making it for around six months.

M: It looks a little strange to see floating in a jar in the kitchen. How did you get started?

W: I picked up a batch from the Stockholm mini maker fare when I visited. A lady had been given the SCOBY from a friend who got it direct from China – which is where it originates from.

M: OK, so you get some ancient SCOBY and then what?

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W: You make really sweet tea – like 2 dl sugar to 1.5 liters water. Boil the water, add the sugar and black or green tea. Leave to cool. Add your SCOBY and leave for 5-7 days until desired sweetness is reached. The SCOBY eats the sugar, basically just like yeast in bread, and produces bubbles and all the other good stuff like antioxidants and probiotics.

M: So it’s fizzy and sweet? How does it taste?

W: It has been called the champagne of teas, but I think that makes it sound pretty gross. I really like it, obviously. It’s sort of hard to describe… it has that little edge that fermentation brings but does not taste bitter. If you brew it a long time it tastes vinegary, which I quite like too.

M: I assume there are a ton of heath benefits to this champagne of teas…

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W: Oh there’s loads! Russian and Chinese studies have shown it prevents cancer, something about the glucaric acid in it. It helps relieve joint pain and arthritis. It’s a good detox, helps your digestion and boosts the immune system.

M: Oh wow! Sign me up for all of that! And thanks for sharing. Is it tea party time?

 

Meet Yanto’s desk!

18 Jul 2014 by Zemika

Every week, we kindly ask one of our fellow Toca Bocans for a quick peek at their desk. Actually, we never really ask, we simply take some time to snoop around in their creative mess, which is then neatly organized a moment later.

First up is our Office Assistant, Yanto. If you ever visit our office in Stockholm and see a casual plate of cold cuts in the kitchen, spot a bottle of home-made Sangria, hear some weird but funky music or simply enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee – that’s all him!

Yanto desk Toca Boca

Q: Hi Yanto! What three things could you not live without on your desk?

A: 1. Post-It’s*. Makes my wold a little more fluffy and also pink. 2. Dymo-Master. Who doesn’t want to label everything that isn’t where it’s supposed to be? 3. The staplers. One is used for short term. But for most projects I use the grey and yellow mothership! It has a more long-lasting effect.

*In case you’re wondering what each Post-it color means:

Orange: What the boss wants – not the wife
Sunshine: Scribble
Pink: Urgent
Green: It’s in the pipe
Blue: What my wife wants for dinner
Yellow: I should probably do this today or tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow…

How I got to do a TEDx talk

14 Jul 2014 by JP de Pedro

It’s supposed to be the talk of your life. There will be no one but you on stage, the paying audience is expecting to be entertained and enlightened, all lights will be on you, cameras are rolling. You get one chance. This will be on YouTube, for all to see, forever.  Sound nerve wrecking? It is.

It’s now right before my talk. I’ve been lying on my back for 45 minutes, on a hard wooden bench shorter than I, in the darkness behind the stage. Talking to myself…

“I better not stand up. My legs feel like spaghetti. Gotta save my energy. Keep calm, breathe. Deep breaths. Not too deep or I’ll get dizzy. Wait, I am dizzy…”

I hear the name of the next to last speaker being introduced. Out of the corner of my eye I see him walk on stage. Applause.

“Soon it’s me. In a few minutes I’ll be on the other side of the curtain facing the people in the auditorium.”

For some reason, they had chosen to have me, a rather inexperienced speaker, be the last one for the day. I’m the big finale.

“Did I string them on? I’m getting imposter syndrome. Damn, I can’t believe it’s now! All the work I put in…here I go. Ugh…”

That’s the talk the speech coach told me not to have with myself.  I’ll try what he said to tell myself instead:

“Just focus on the delivery, Jens. Focus on the craft. Finish your sentences with emphasis. Find a friendly face or two in the audience and talk to them.”

As I’m ushered toward the edge of the curtain I hear my name. “From Brooklyn, New York. He’s a TOY DESIGNER…. Jens Peter de Pedrooooooo!” I’m not a toy designer. Oh well.

I’m on stage.

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Source: TEDxNavesink

I start talking.

 What am I saying?

 “Wow, listen to me talking! You’re doing great, Jens! Wait, what are you talking about? Get back to the audience now! Be present!”

Then. I’m off stage! I pulled it off. I did it! It wasn’t perfect but it was OK. I stumbled a couple times, but, because I’m so freaking media savvy, I just repeated the sentences so that the video editor would catch it in post and take the botched segment away and leave the new one in! It might have appeared slightly odd to the audience, but it was a genius move! Backstage, I raised my arms in victory. Who cares about the audience! Everyone knows it’s all about the video! I’m a freaking genius! I hacked TEDx! Unless the editor is a fool, then I’ll look like a fool too. Oh, well… we’ll see.

Six weeks later the video comes out. The editor was with it! Everyone I know is very impressed. The most common question is: How did you get to do a TEDx-talk?! Some emphasize the “you” more than others…

First let’s straighten out a common misconception. There are TED talks and TEDx talks. The official TED talks organized by the official TED-folks are called  TED…something: TED2015, TEDGlobal, TED-Ed, etc. Those events have a total of a few hundred speakers a year that are often celebrities or exceptional talents. You have people like Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Sting, Sheryl Sandberg. Then there are TEDx events. These are independently franchised by volunteers on a topic that they care about. Recently TEDx surpassed the milestone of 10,000 events since its inception. Just last year, in 2013, there were 3,112 TEDx events held around the world. They each showcase about 10-25 speakers that talk on one topic. If you consider the wide range of topics, to be asked to speak in your country or region, is still a pretty big deal.

So why me? The theme for this particular TEDx event was play and, well, I actually happen to be accomplished at something, believe it or not. I was part of starting the most successful kids app company in history, and I have designed apps that are sitting on top of the charts on iTunes. Ya know, Toca Hair Salon, Toca Kitchen, Toca Train. I’ve also been working in children’s interactive media for 15 years, which make me somewhat of a veteran.

You’d expect that to be the topic of my talk, however it was not. Instead, I talked about the importance of creating toys, physical or digital, that don’t feel like they exclude girls or boys. My talk was entitled “Why we must go beyond pink and blue”. It is not a topic I am an expert on per se, but it is something that I have come to care greatly about in the latter part of my career. Toys shape how we play, and how we play shapes who we become. I may not have a PhD or be a psychologist, but I think I managed to make a convincing case for this coming from the perspective of someone who designs tools for play for a living.

In theory, anyone can do a TEDx talk. You don’t have to be an expert at what you talk about. There are no official credentials. You just have to…

1.  Have something to say, or as the TED slogan goes, you have an “idea worth spreading”. One idea per person is enough.

2.  Be able to prove that you will be able to present your idea in a convincing way in front of a live audience.

Of course having some credible experience for why someone should listen to you is crucial. I had already talked to an audience before on the topic and received a standing ovation. Mentioning that was enough for me to get to present the idea for my talk to a panel of organizers.

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Source: TEDxNavesink

 If you are interested in trying your luck or just watching a TEDx live, find an upcoming event near you on the TED site. If there’s an event on a topic that you have thoughts about or are just interested in, contact the organizer and ask to speak or be part of the audience.

Let me know what you learn!

I’m @jp_de_pedro on Twitter.

Cheers!

Jens

Why Parents Stink at Playing With Their Kids

9 Jul 2014 by Megan

Hey Parents! Guess what? You stink at playing with your kids. It’s a harsh reality and we’re sorry to have to be so blunt, but it’s becoming an epidemic. The good news is that we have a fix and it’s a pretty simple solution. Our good friend JP, with help from his daughter, recently wrote a blog post for The Joan Ganz Cooney Center to better explain why parents need to be better when it comes to play.

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Happy 4th of July!

4 Jul 2014 by Zemika

What a day! The weather is fine and Bo is already behind the barbecue prepping for the party. Doesn’t he look neat in that apron with the badges on? Perfect for a special occasion like this. Happy 4th of July!

€th of July BBQ Toca Town Bo

Summer Super Sale

3 Jul 2014 by Megan

We’re having a SUMMER SALE on 16 of our apps! Now is the time to complete your Toca Boca collection. But hurry, they are only on sale for a limited time and we don’t want you to miss out on all the fun. Get Toca Pet Doctor, Toca Hair Salon Me, Toca Train and many more for 66% off the regular price!

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Digital Toys for Kids

20 Jun 2014 by Megan

Our very first Play Designer, Jens Peter de Padro, who we all call JP for short, recently tried his hand at being a public speaker! We’re so proud of him, for not only all the great work that he does for Toca Boca (have you played Toca Hair Salon? Maybe Toca Kitchen? Yep, that’s JP!) but for having the guts to step on that huge stage! Below JP discusses play and making digital toys that are fun for all kids to enjoy. Take a look and help us in giving Jens a Toca High Five for all of his great work. Way to go, JP!

Make your own Midsummer wreath!

20 Jun 2014 by Zemika

Today is no ordinary day. We know it’s Friday but it’s also Swedish Midsummer, so we took Bo out to show him what it’s all about!

The most essential thing in order to have a great Midsummer is the wreath. You wear it when dancing around the Midsummer pole, when eating herring and potatoes, when dancing again, when eating again and even if you’re planning on going for a quick swim in the sea. It should be glued to your head all day, and for that to work you need it to be stable but leafy. Follow those 6 easy steps and become a pro in no time! It’s really fun, we promise!

Toca Boca Midsummer Wreath Bo 1

First of all, pick your favorite flowers! If you can’t find them outside, the shop next door works just as well. However, if you’re stubborn and want to be true to tradition you should definitely head to the closest park and pick them yourself.

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Essentials before kickstarting the making of the wreath: a pair of scissors, string or thread, a bunch of greenery, and of course the flowers!

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Now then? The secret technique to a everlasting wreath! Place the leaves and greenery next to each other and begin to form a garland. Use the string to loop around the leaves to make them stay together.

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Continue to loop, and loop, and loop around the greenery until it’s long enough to measure around your head. Form a circle and tie it all together. The wreath is now done! Almost…

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Fasten the flowers by looping the string around the wreath a second time. Place the flowers where you want them, preferably on the top side of the wreath. No specific reason other than it’ll look fantastic!

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Wow, you did it! What does your look like? We’re literally dying to see it. This is the one we made for Bo. Doesn’t it look like he’s ready for a real Midsummer celebration? Oh, we think so!

Psst! Why don’t you share your flower wreaths on Instagram and Twitter with @tocaboca!

Free Shipping – Just in time for summer!

19 Jun 2014 by Zemika

The sun if finally our and to show our summer lovin’ we’re giving you FREE worldwide shipping on all orders in our webshop, until July 15th! Treat yourself or your little one to the perfect gift. Happy shopping!

Toca Boca free shipping webshop

The Toca Boca summer party!

18 Jun 2014 by Zemika

When winter is gone and summer is here, all we want to do is spend time outside and have fun! And what is more fun than a summer boat party? Nothing we can think of at least! Tag along and join us in a pile of feel good pictures from out Toca Boca summer party last week when we showed off our true colors, on a boat somewhere in Stockholm. Don’t we look happy? Oh, we are!

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Things to do in Toca Town

17 Jun 2014 by Megan

The world of Toca Town is filled with tons of activities to discover from making silly sounds to enjoying tasty treats. With different locations to explore we’re still finding new ways to play and we hope you are too! Check out some of the exciting things you can do and let us know how you play when in Toca Town!

Drop a beat! Listen to some cool jams and get ready to dance!

Wrap presents in the store to share with friends. Wrap a party hat, a box of cereal or even a taco!

No change needed for this market staple! Just tap for a fun surprise.

You can write the code for the latest Toca Boca app! Head on over to the apartment and start typing.

In Toca Town if you can carry it, you can bring it anywhere. Pillow fight in the park? Why not!?

In Toca Town we invite you to play, explore and create. No two worlds will ever be the same and that’s how we like it!

 

 

 

 

Let’s Get Cooking in Toca Town!

3 Jun 2014 by Megan

You can be the chef in Toca Town! Simply combine delicious food items together to create a tasty meal in seconds. Share with friends in the restaurant, or pack it up in a grocery store bag and bring it to the park for a picnic. You decide! Can you make all 10 recipes?

Blog_Toca-Town_Recipe_01_Chicken-BurgerBlog_Toca-Town_Recipe_02_Veggie-PizzaBlog_Toca-Town_Recipe_03_Beef-TacoBlog_Toca-Town_Recipe_04_Nigiri-SushiBlog_Toca-Town_Recipe_05_Swedish-Meat-BallsBlog_Toca-Town_Recipe_06_Tofu-PastaBlog_Toca-Town_Recipe_07_Hot-DogBlog_Toca-Town_Recipe_08_Tofu-SubBlog_Toca-Town_Recipe_09_Fish-and-ChipsBlog_Toca-Town_Recipe_10_Chicken-Wrap

 

Introducing – Toca Town!

30 May 2014 by Megan

You rule in Toca Town, a play world where anything and everyone is welcome! With six different locations and 22 classic Toca Boca characters, the everyday adventures in Toca Town are infinite. Get it on the App Store today!

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EXPLORE
Move around in Toca Town! Visit the store to buy groceries, stop by the restaurant to cook lunch, and head home to watch movies with friends. Run over to the park for a picnic or the police station to meet the officers. Cereal for dinner or maybe a quick pillow fight before bed? In Toca Town you decide!

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CREATE
Play cops and robbers today and hide and seek tomorrow, the story is up to you. Use your imagination to create your own world and play together with friends and family.

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DISCOVER
There are treasures everywhere in Toca Town. Turn on and off lights, toss garbage in the bins, or wrap up a present in the store to give to friends. Remember there are no rules in Toca Town so don’t be afraid to interact with anything, even the toilet!

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FEATURES
- 22 Toca Boca characters to play with. Do you recognize any of them?
- 6 locations to explore – park, police station, restaurant, house & apartment
- Open game play with no rules or stress
- Kid-friendly interface
- No third-party advertising
- No in-app purchases

Restaurant - Toca Town

Toca Town is made for kids as young as three years old, yet can capture the imagination of those much older. It’s filled with surprises and exciting things to do – there are no limits, just fun! Come play!

Cheers to the Toca Town team!


Mårten Brüggemann, Play Designer
Amanda Rösler, Programmer
Mathilda Engman, Artist
Eric Alm, Programmer
Lena Fernqvist, Programmer
Marko Permanto, Programmer
Christoffer Svenningsson, 3D Artist
Fredrik Telenius, Project Manager
Olle Axelsson, QA