Saturday, October 24, 2015

Toca Boo- Currently Free and Full of Fun Scares

This is partially a repost from last year- Thanks Smart Apps For Kids for letting us know that Toca Boo is Free for a short time- please click through to the App Store from their site to support them.

This highly interactive app allows you to play the role of a "ghost" and wander a darkened house scaring members of a family. Seems a strange concept, but it's loads of fun.

Have you ever played hiding games with kids who proceed to hide themselves or items in plain sight? This illuminates, pun intended in the context of this app, problems around perspective taking and "thinking with the eyes" (see the work of the folks at Social Thinking®). In Toca Boo, to achieve a maximum scare, the ghost needs to avoid the family members' flashlights and hide in hotspots (e.g. under the covers of the bed or in a box) or behind furniture. Watch the trailer below:

The process of coaching students to effectively scare the characters will give you the opportunity to model and elicit if/then and causal language, as well as target spatial and positional concepts, in addition to the social cognitive ideas mentioned above. The app provides a good context for building the category of rooms of a house as well.

Do use your judgment of the trailer to consider which of your students would like this app, and whether it might be too scary for some. I do think they go a little far in having you scare (and knock over) the comical older man with the cane. I admit I laughed at this, though (America's Funniest Home Videos being a guilty pleasure of mine)! Toca Boca as always does a good job of discussing the ideas around the app in the "For Parents" section of the app, but I'm a believer in a little scare, suspense or humor being a great context to get kids talking.

New idea: try following this app with some dramatic play, perhaps filming with your video camera an "unsuccessful scare" vs. a "successful scare," at the same time targeting the sequential language of hiding and popping out and some feelings vocabulary.

1 comment:

  1. Sean, Thank you for letting us know about this great App! I have a middle school student that enjoys hiding from his teachers and friends ever day after lunch. Luckily his classmates haven't tired of his routine. I can't wait to show him Toca Boo tomorrow!