November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Dancing to the Toca Boca Beat | Touch and Go

Apps designed with kids in control as co-creators are becoming more and more popular. Toca Boca’s latest production, Toca Dance, hands the choreography and wardrobe selection over to children. Programming potential? It’s a thought.

The instructor warms up her students in Toca Dance (Toca Boca)

The instructor warms up students in Toca Dance (Toca Boca)


Toca Boca, well-known for its entertaining apps targeting young children, has broadened its audience base with Toca Dance (iOS $2.99; Free, lite version), a music and movement app for kids ages five to eight. Would-be choreographers can choose three cartoon dancers from a selection of eight to dress in a variety of colorful costumes. A tap to an arrow sends the dancers racing into the rehearsal space to select their music and meet the instructor. Dots surround the instructor’s arms, head, and torso, beckoning users to activate the figure’s limbs and body. No dots surround the legs; those movements are limited to scuttling left and right, crab-style.

While creating their dances, users encounter the one potentially confusing feature—the six colorful circles that appear above the dancers’ heads. With no specific directions for children, youngsters must  experiment to determine that the dots correspond to short steps that can be combined to create a dance sequence executed in the last portion of the app, the performance.

At the performance, users may control the dancers’ heights and the size of their heads, choose the music, add special effects, change the backdrop, throw items on stage (for good or bad); and control the audience’s reaction—while the dancers are showcasing their moves. Multiple users might hold a digital dance-off, or with the music is playing in the background, get up and join in on the fun. It’s definitely a beat kids will want to dance to.Cindy Wall, Southington Public Library, CT

 For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal‘s dedicated app webpage.

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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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