Thursday, December 17, 2015

Discover Toca Blocks + A $100 iTunes Giveaway! And Some Thoughts on Kids and Screen Time



Kids and technology! Everyone has an opinion, and maybe you've noticed I haven't really talked too much about it here...I just feel like parents know and do what's best for their kids, so I always felt like interjecting with what I felt, especially on this topic, was unnecessary. However, I will tell you that Hank and I have always kept technology to a minimum in our house. We bring coloring books and reading books out to dinner for the kids to use if they must be "entertained," although I still think it's most important to talk and be present for little ones of all ages in social situations. We would rarely let Henry use Hank's iPad and even more rarely allow him use of our iPhones, but as he has gotten older I've been realizing that it's important to find a balance of some sort. Technology is everywhere. Social media, apps, digital play, none of it is going away, and I think by not allowing Henry to explore the world of technology, we'd be holding him back a little bit. So now that he is five we finally feel comfortable with allowing 30 minutes or so of screen time via the iPad each day.


But with that said, we've been so choosy with what apps Henry has been able to use. I'm always a bit wary- so many apps geared at kids Henry's age fall outside of what we think is age-appropriate, so it's been a bit of a learning process to figure out what we want to allow him to use. 

A couple weeks ago Toca Blocks, a new app (releasing TODAY!), contacted me about setting up a post here on their launch day. I was hesitant, of course, but once I downloaded it and played with it myself I realized how much Henry would like it- and how much I would like him playing it too.


Toca Blocks is awesome- it's a world building app that aimed for kids ages 5-9 full of bright colors and eye catching graphics. Kids are encouraged to build new things and explore the "world' they create. Shapes, sounds, neat little "builder guys" as Henry calls them...all of it comes together in this really interesting, imaginative construction app that makes a ton of "real world" connections too for my building block fan. It's been neat watching him figure out the app as well- we didn't watch any how-tos but he picked it up very quickly. He really enjoys that the blocks themselves are transformative, each with their own characteristics made of various colors and textures. It's so interesting to watch him play too- the blocks are ever evolving that will reveal themselves to turn into new shapes with new properties- and seeing how Henry uses them to fill "his world" is very cool.

I know we will always be choosy and very conservative when it comes to our kids and screen time, but it makes me happy to know their are indeed good choices out there in the app world, from alphabet practice to reading apps, to a world of construction building and problem solving like Toca Blocks.

And yay, good news! Today Toca Boca, maker of Toca Blocks and other awesome age-appropriate, fun digital toys is giving away one $100 iTunes gift card to a lucky winner. Just follow the instructions below to enter to win! You can also download Toca Blocks here.

Win $100 iTunes Gift Card from Toca Boca
Good luck!


This post was shared in partnership with Toca Boca. Thanks for reading! xoxo

59 comments:

  1. We love all the Toca games! Right now our favorites are Toca Band and Toca Builders.

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  2. The kids we have hosted in our home loved Toca House!

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  3. We love all the Toca games as well!

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  4. My 3-year old knows how to use an iPad better than I do, thanks to her grandparents. I have no huge issue with allowing her to explore technology; like you said, it's the world we like in these days and she'll be exposed to it one way or another!

    She loves building towers with blocks - any type of blocks! Her favourite is Lincoln Logs right now.

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  5. That's great! Whenever I would babysit, the parents would always tell me how much screen time the kids could have while I was there. She included TV and video games too though. It's interesting to me, but I think it's so good that there are parents not having their kids entertained with the iPad all the time. I also agree with you, in that we are becoming a digital world now and kids do need to be introduced. I wish I could stop living through a screen for a little bit!

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  6. My nephew would love this! Will have to pass on to my sister. :)
    finelifeco.com

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  7. I love finding out about learning apps for kids, that peaks my interest. My feeling is that i am not crazy about it and i can't wait to take the device back, whether how long. ;)

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  8. Margaux loves all the TocaBoca games! I seriously think we have them all, so we'll be adding this to the collection. We actually walked by their offices in San Francisco and she saw the little banner/sign and flipped out, LOL!

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    2. Hi Maryam! We'd love to have you and Margaux stop by our San Francisco studio next time you're in the city :) Let us know!

      — Giana from Toca Boca

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  9. We love toca boca. I have girls and my oldest love toca boca tea party. It is cute! My daughter is not super into blocks, but when she does play with them, she usually trys to build the tallest tower possible, haha.

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  10. Ezra loves to build towers with his blocks. We love Toca Boca. Another good one is ThinkRolls. Just as good as the toca boca apps.

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  11. My daughter loves building a castle for her stuffed animals.

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  12. My son comes up with some crazy things when he builds...love his imagination!

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  13. This is awesome! We have a couple Toca games that my son really loves. I'll have to check this one out! Have you checked out the Endless games? (Endless Words/Alphabet/Numbers). We love those. Great learning games, and they're by far our favorites!

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  14. They love to build tall, tall buildings.

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  15. My boys love to build tall buildings and then crash them down. Toca Boca is a huge favorite of ours, we love their apps, they're so much fun!

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  16. My daughter loves building towers that end up looking more like castles with the protective outer wall, lol.
    -Amanda S.

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  17. My kids love building little homes with families!

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  18. Media is hard to figure out, but as the kids age you really see how much it is part of everyday life and how useful it can be.

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  19. My daughter builds houses for her princesses. My son likes to recreate the things he builds in Minecraft.

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  20. my kiddos love building castles, robots, and garages for all their toy cars.

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  21. Toca City was the first app we ever bought my 6 year old and now I'm pretty sure we have them all(except this new one!). Toca Boo is a favorite.

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  22. My kids love to build castles with blocks.

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  23. My 3 year old son loves tocaboca apps! I can't wait to try this new one!

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  24. My son loves to build fortresses for his superheros!

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  25. Garages for their cars and cages for their animals

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  26. My son is two, but I can't wait to try out news apps as he gets older! He loves building, loves doing puzzles, and he loves to read!

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  27. We don't have toca boca, yet, but my daughter is looking over my shoulder and asking for it right now! Normally, she builds shops and stores when playing with construction toys!

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  28. I've never heard of this! My son likes building towns and castles.

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  29. Definitely a tower.... so he can knock it down!

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  30. My toddler loves to build with blacks and make them crash down.

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  31. My littles ones would love to try Toca games.

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  32. He loves building towers with blocks or completing puzzles. He's a huge fan of minecraft as well :)

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  33. My son loves building castles and buildings. He also builds cookware and pretends to cook and bake with his creations :)

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  34. No kids, but my friends daughter (who is like my own almost. :) looves to build castles. :)

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  35. My kids always loved to build "tall, tall towers." Now that they are older they enjoy building with legos. They will make different characters and even Christmas ornaments.

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  36. My kids would love this! I have a 7 yr old with autism, a 4 yr old and a baby. My 7 yr old and 4 yr old would both loove this!! Things like Toca are so helpful for all kids but kids with autism it can do wonders for their brain stimulation!

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  37. My son likes to build everything! It tends to be houses he loves to make things from movies like hogwarts castle from harry potter

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  38. My kids love to build different types of buildings, tractors, and trucks! They love Toca Boca apps.

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  39. This is fabulous! We don't have this but it'd be perfect for our upcoming travel. I'm certain my daughter would love to build shops and castles!

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  40. I'm totally with you girl, we also allow our son 30 minutes a day of educational screen time. We love Toca games, Aiden will love trying the new Toca Blocks!

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  41. I'm with you, we allow our son 30 minutes a day of education screen time too. We love Toca games, we'll be excited to try out the new Toca Blocks!

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  42. Would love to try this with my daughter!

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  43. He loves to build towers since he is only 23 months Kelley Larsen Kelley0385@yahoo dot com

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  44. My 4 year old would love this! He loves to build houses and cities.

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  45. My son loves to build jails to put his little figurines in.

    Kristin Goodson
    marleykristin@hotmail.com

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  46. love to build "castles and towers" with my girl :)

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  47. Log cabins and tractor barns all day every day here!

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  48. He likes to build spaceships and trucks.

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  49. She loves to build castles for princesses and high towers.

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  50. My kids love the Toca Boca apps and they love to use blocks to build houses and castles for their little figures. 😊

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  51. I love your thoughts on technology. I'm with you, it's about what the parent thinks is best for their child, can be different in all families. I think for me kind of growing up in the middle of all the BOOM of technology just exploding has really made me think about how I am going to do that when I have a family. For me, I wasn't big on the new gadgets. I didn't get my first cell phone until I was 19 years old, by choice. I still don't have an I-Pod because I dread spending so much money on one item so I make tons of mix cds and still listen to my portable cd player(yeah seriously. it takes 4 batteries and is falling apart but whats a girl gon do!). I don't have an I-Pad because I am a girl who prefers to read books in actual print version. I think I will allow it in my house, as it is EVERYWHERE, but there will be rules and certain ages that things will be allowed. And I also want my kids to know about "old" technology. Real phones that are not just cell phones, ones where people really had real conversations with each other instead of just through a text message. Typewriters and VHS players, we still have those in my house. I want my kids to know all the cool stuff that our amazing new technology came from so they can appreciate it and also cause I am still all about my classic VHS tapes. Maybe I'm bizarre. Probably haha. And who knows, I may never have a family.

    Anyway sorry for rambling my thoughts! Just catching up on blogs today & so all my thoughts were just bursting to get out. have a great day!

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