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Design notes

Letter from the play designer

Science is important.

The life you lead is made possible by science. The device you read this on is a product of science. The food you consume has been made available to you through science. The medicines and vaccines that save millions of children’s lives yearly are crucial results of science.
It’s important not to fear science. We can be skeptical and question scientific research, but we should try to understand it first. And to do this we must understand what science is; what it means to scratch the surface of the world to discover something you might not have known about.

At Toca Boca we take a stand for play. Play is the driving force in a child’s growth. It is a tool to understand the world, a tool for exploration of concepts. Play is also creative, a way to apply your own ideas into the world. Understanding and accepting the logic of life and your effect on it is the science of play. The curiosity of a child is the curiosity of a scientist. At Toca Boca we want to encourage you and your children to stay curious, so that we may have many more scientists progressing the world in the future. Taking a stand for play is taking a stand for science.

What better way to inspire this curiosity than to play WITH science? With Toca Lab: Plants we’d like to introduce you to a brand new botany lab to experiment in, exploring concepts like growing, heat, moisture and more. Taking care of and experimenting with certain plants can even change your plant into new species! The science of botany is as much about nurturing as it is about experimentation, and your plants will react differently to the experiments you subject them to. The plants are curious but friendly; take care of them and they might just explain the world to you…

Mårten Brüggemann, Play Designer


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How to play

How to play
In Toca Lab: Plants you perform nurturing experiments on plants. The plants are depicted as talking, moving characters. You can drag the plant around the lab and use the different pieces of equipment propped up on the shelves of the lab by tapping on them.

There are five stations of lab equipment to play around in:

  • Grow light: Shine the light on your plant and watch what happens! What happens when you turn the light up a notch or two?
  • Watering tank: Put your plant in the tank and fill it up with water. Will your plant float? How does your plant behave when it’s soaking wet?
  • Nutrition station: What’s the optimal diet for your plant? Try the three different nutrition formulas and discover which ones your plant character likes!
  • Cloning machine: Spin the wheel on the cloning machine and before you know it, you’ll have five little seedling versions of your plant. The seedlings can be planted in the pots in the lab.
  • Crossbreeding apparatus: Here you can mix two plants to create something unexpected. More plants will appear here as you discover them through the other experiments.

As you experiment with the tools you will eventually discover new plants. These are tracked in the botany chart that can be accessed by pulling the string dangling in the upper edge of the lab. In the botany chart you can choose which plant to do experiments on. You also get hints on how to evolve your currently discovered plants even further.

When seedlings have been produced in the cloning machine you may plant them in one of the pots in the lab. A potted plant grows over time, but can also be grown by watering it with the watering can located on the upper right shelf of the lab.

In the Settings panel of your device, there is an icon for Toca Lab: Plants. If you open it you can erase all progress made in discovering new plants in the botany chart. There are also options for turning off the icons on the start screen for Toca News and the For Grown-Ups section, which you are reading now. You also have the option to turn off the music in the app. And if you would like to turn off the camera shaking that happens when you drop a heavy plant you can do this here too. You may need to restart the app for some of the settings to take effect.

The Team


Mårten Brüggemann, Play Designer
Jonas Löfgren, Concept Artist
Félix Roman, Artist
Jonas Laurell, Animator
Frida Schlaug, Programmer
Victor Guerrero Corbi, Programmer
Roy Yasasindhu, QA
Sara Roos, Project Manager

Emil Ovemar, Executive Producer/Co-founder
Rebecca Crusoe, Marketing Director
Johanna Andersson, Communication Designer
Teddy Derkert, Art Director
Michaela Rosengren, Marketing Designer
Klara Miesenberger de Morais, QA
Chris Lindgren, Kids & Play Research Manager
Nick Ljungqvist, Release Manager
Andreas Bergman, Android Programmer
Matti Grip, iOS Programmer
Markus Gustavsson, Programmer
Rasmus Langvad, Web Programmer

Red Pipe Sound Design AB, Music & Sound
Erik Blåsjö, Freelance Programmer
Emil Berner, Freelance Artist
Viktor Khan, Freelance 2D Animation
Eddie Moulder, Freelance Animation
Walid Sodki, Freelance QA


The Toca Lab series is made possible through a dedicated game team but also by using various open source plugins, other open source software and sometimes we work with friends or others companies that we like to acknowledge.