Q&A with Play Designer for Toca Boo: Why Scaring Is Good to Explore

If you’ve played with Toca Boo, you may have noticed that it is a bit darker and more mystical than many of our previous apps. Any child (or grown-up!) playing with this digital toy is in charge of spooking — which is timely at Halloween, but also a general topic that’s good to think about for young kids.

Some parents have asked us for advice on how they can guide their kids when playing with Toca Boo. Play Designer Chris Lindgren offers some more insights:

Why did we chose to do an app that is a bit scary? What was the inspiration?
Chris: In this project I wanted to explore a rather unusual mood in apps for children: spooky, a little scary, and full of tension — the mood that makes hide-and-scare games so exciting. I found inspiration in reading “Who Will Comfort Toffle?” with my own daughter and watching her become fascinated by the magical, melancholic atmosphere in Tove Jansson’s world of the Moomins. We mixed that inspiration with a lot of crazy humor to create the unique experience of Toca Boo.

Toca Boca Toca Boo

Photos by Liz Stanley for Say Yes.com. Assisted by Sarah Iveson.

Are spooky themes and melancholy OK for kids as young as 3?
Chris: In this age kids start to be able to symbolize the act of being scared and being excited, and often translate this into play such as hide and seek. Kids have a need to express both fear and melancholy; the important thing to know is that the child is in control and explores a role through play.

At the very start of the app you can see that the ghost really is a little girl who puts a sheet over her head. And talking about the people in the house as family members who love to play hide and seek might help ease some of the tension.

Toca Boo Toca Boca

What can parents do to make kids feel comfortable with the spooky theme?
Chris: Most kids we met during the production think the scaring and reactions are hilarious. At the same time, there’s a tension and darkness in the app that might challenge some. Preschool kids are sometimes afraid of imaginary things that aren’t always obvious to us grown-ups. Your child might not tell you if he or she is scared, but instead ask you to join in and play. With your help this can be a chance for your child to learn to manage emotions and become confident when taking on new challenges — useful things in everyday life.

To learn more about the idea behind Toca Boo, watch our Play Designers Chris and Willow discuss the process.

Join Toca Boca’s “Rimstuga” For Christmas!

It wouldn’t be a proper Swedish Christmas without scribbling down a rhyme for your gift.

Be inspired by anything silly from doodle-i-doo to Taylor Swift.

The tradition is to guess what’s inside the gift in shiny red.

You may think you know, but you’re most often being misled!

Join Toca Boca in the Christmas rhyming fun;

Go ahead and invite your loved one.

To help get you in the mood,

Take a minute and prepare some Christmas-y snacks or Christmas-y food.

Don’t forget the classic mulled wine,

And turn on your favorite music to loosen up your writer’s mind.

If you’re stuck on words that don’t make sense,

Swap them around or try a different tense.

But what’s most important isn’t the best rhyme,

It’s hanging out spending quality time!

Make it a cozy night to remember.

We hope you have a lot of fun rhyming this December!

Head over to our Holiday Gift Guide to see what we wrote for our favorite gifts.

Make your kids happy — get what’s at the top of their Toca Boca wish lists!

 

* “Rimstuga” means to gather your friends and rhyme together on all your Christmas gifts!

Toca Town Has Turned (RED)

Today is World AIDS Day, and we’re very proud to be a (PRODUCT)RED App Store partner and support (RED) in the continued fight against AIDS. In honor of this day we have painted Toca Town (RED) with hidden surprises throughout the app. Look for (RED) diamonds and sample (RED)elicious ice cream while making a difference!

“Toca Boca is proud to be a (PRODUCT)RED App Store partner. With over 80 million downloads across the globe, Toca Boca touches millions of families. We hope that our customers and fans will join us in the fight for an AIDS free generation. We look forward to a future where all kids grow up healthy with the same opportunities to play and have fun.”— Björn Jeffery, CEO and Co-Founder, Toca Boca

Support the fight against AIDS — 100% of the proceeds for Toca Town app downloads will go to the Global Fund. Get Toca Town on the App Store at only $.99 — that’s 66% off regular price!

More about Toca Town
In Toca Town you can explore six different locations and create your own world and tell your own stories. Go to the store and buy groceries or stop by the restaurant to cook lunch. Run over to the park for some (RED) ice cream and sample the new gummy bears. You rule in Toca Town!

Toca Paper Creatures: The Second Toy in Our Artist Play Series

We’re launching the second collaboration in our Artist Play Series together with Argentinian street artist CHU. Currently living in Buenos Aires, CHU is known for his work in art, illustration, graphic design and animation. As the co-founder of the DOMA Collective, a multidisciplinary art and design group, CHU played a key role in bringing street art to Buenos Aires.

Toca Paper Creatures is a kind of puzzle of colorful pieces that can be combined in thousands of different ways to make a completely unique little creature in the style of artist CHU.

“Children have the fundamental right to play and to engage with culture and the arts,” says Jens Peter de Pedro, Play Designer here at Toca Boca. “Our collaboration with Chu encapsulates Toca Boca’s philosophy of design and playfulness. We are always exploring new ways of delivering fun play experiences that celebrate creativity and spark the imagination, even beyond the digital screen.”

We are always exploring new ways of delivering fun play experiences that celebrate creativity and spark the imagination.

Artist CHU, speaking about the Toca Paper Creatures project, also comments: “For me, art is all about play and keeping a connection to childhood. During this process I got to play with prototypes and try them out with different kids all over the world. It was really inspiring to try and keep the kids’ perspective throughout the whole process.”

Toca Paper Creatures makes the perfect gift for any child and is available in our webshop.

Toca Nature Printables – 3D Masks

We’re giving you the Toca Nature 3d mask. Gather around a table or sit on the floor; you’re going to need the space. Grab a bunch of scissors, glue sticks and grab all your spare patience and focus. These masks deserve some extra loving that’s for sure.

Mokkasin Toca Boca Toca nature 3d mask

To make it easy for you to get started, here’s today’s list of supplies.

  • A printer
  • Paper for the printer
  • Scissors, as many as you like
  • Good company
  • Elastic band

Oh, and some patience!

Now you’re ready to go!

Mokkasin Toca Boca Toca nature 3d mask
To make the masks may seem hard, but it’s super easy! Follow these simple steps and you’ll be a pro in no time!

1. Choose which mask you want to print.

– The Bear

– The Bird

– The Fox

2. Download the file and print it out.
3. Cut along the outlines of the mask and fold the dotted lines.
4. Now, match the numbers and watch the mask come together.

Mokkasin Toca Boca Toca nature 3d mask

5. Grab your glue and stick the belonging numbers together.
6. Did you get a pair of scissors? Great! You’ll need them now. Go ahead and cut along the dotted lines where the eyes are or you won’t see a thing when you wear it.
7. Measure the elastic band around the back of your head, staple or tape it on the sides of the mask.
8. Admire your very first Toca Nature animal mask! Isn’t it beautiful? We’re sure you want to show someone, why not show us? #tocanature is the hashtag to use!

Mokkasin Toca Boca Toca nature 3d mask
Mokkasin Toca Boca Toca nature 3d mask

Toca Nature Printables – Face Masks

We’re giving you the Toca Nature face masks! Choose a mask, print it out and become an animal. It’s super easy and great fiddly fun! However, you’ll need a few things to get going…

mask2

1. You’ll need a printer. And paper for the printer. Just regular paper will work, or if you want a longer lasting mask get a thicker paper. Just make sure you don’t buy too thick as it might not work in your printer.

2. Pick which animal you’d like to be. There are three different ones to choose between:

The fox
The bird
The hare

3. Grab all colored pens you can find – crayons, pens, paint, water color… you name it! Go crazy in your color cupboard – the more the merrier!

4. Paint and draw the mask as you like. Make it sparkle!

5. Find a pair of scissors and cut along the outlines. Attach a string on the side of the mask before putting it on.

6. Take a look in the mirror. You’ve transformed into a real animal!

mask1

We’d love to see your masks, share them with #tocanature on Instagram and Twitter!

Toca Nature Printables – Color Fill Ins

We’re giving you color fill-in printables of the animals in Toca Nature. It’s super easy to get going!

Toca Boca Toca Nature coloring sheet

You’ll need a few things before you start:

  • Pens or crayons in your favorite colors
  • Printer
  • Paper
  • … and the files!

Now you’re good to go. Grab your crayons and start coloring – there are 5 adorable animals to choose from!

Download the hare
Print the fox
Get the deer
Color a bird
Paint the bear

Toca Nature Toca Boca color sheet

Toca Nature Printables – T-shirt Print

Toca Boca Toca Nature t-shirt print

We’re advancing with the Toca Nature t-shirt print! First of all, you’ll need a few things to get going:

  • Iron-on transfer paper
  • An iron
  • A pair of scissors
  • A white t-shirt or a sweater you want to style
  • A printer

Now, let’s get printing!

You can find the t-shirt print file right here. Simply download it, print it out on the transfer paper and cut off the white area around the print – we only want the bear on the tee and not the white area around it. Now, go get your iron but make sure to double check the instructions on the transfer paper for ironing before getting started. We don’t want to make a mess of things – all papers are slightly different. Place the cut out print bear-side down, we already mirrored it for you, and follow the iron instructions. When the paper is cool, peel it off. Now it’s done! Wow, you really are a pro! You can now make tee’s for the whole family!

Toca Boca Toca Nature t-shirt Print

Don’t leave us hanging – we’d love to see your tee’s! Share with #tocanature on Twitter or Instagram, or why not send us an email? We love emails too!

Get the print here.

Toca Nature Printables – Collect Sheet

Today’s printable is the Toca Nature collect sheets. Download them right here, print them out and start collecting! Can you find the things listed? Bring it with you on your way to school or simply take a tour around the house. As you can see, we went crazy in the candy bag.. And we did find both mushrooms and fish! Surprisingly yum!

Collect Sheet 1
Collect Sheet 2

Toca Nature Collect Sheet 1
Toca Nature Collect Sheet 2
Share your findings with #tocanature on Instagram!

It’s Toca Nature!

We’re so proud to announce the launch of Toca Nature! Discover birds, pick mushrooms and feed bears. Grow forests, dig out lakes and raise mountains! In our new app Toca Nature we’re bringing magic to your fingertips. Watch the trailer and get mesmerized!

As we count down the days to the launch we’ll post a treat for you here on the blog to get all excited about! Check back everyday to find a new exciting surprise. First out is the Toca Nature trailer! Enjoy!