Following Directions with Toca Life World

In case you don’t know: Toca Life World is a FREE app that many of the children I work with love. Here’s the link for the android version of Toca Life World and here’s the link for the iPad version. When I use it for following directions I give my in-person patients one of my iPads with Toca Life World on it and then tell them what to do (mostly in single-step, but with some 2-step directions, too). For the kids who are online I can show them what I’m doing in my game (or hide my screen to make the directions more challenging) and have them follow the steps on their own version of the game (on a phone or iPad). I have 6 main ways to follow directions in Toca Life World: designing a house/shop, creating a character, summoning crumpets, finding hidden crumpets, finding hidden gems, and recipes.

Designing a House/Shop

The FREE version of Toca Life World comes with a house you can customize. I use this activity very much like a barrier game – I tell the kids what I’m doing while they can’t see my screen and they try to follow my directions. At the end we show each other what our houses look like and see how similar they are. This can be simple single-step directions (“put cloud wallpaper on the walls”), directions with prepositions (“put a purple shelf above the TV”) or even quantitative directions (“put a plant in all the windows”). For more information on how to customize a house in Toca Life World see my tutorial for using Toca Life World for SLPs.

Toca Life World also recently came out with the Hello Kitty and Friends ($2.99) and Local Shop ($2.99) extensions, which add furniture for stores to the customizable houses. I’ve just started using these for following directions in the same way I’ve used the houses.

Creating a Character

The FREE version of Toca Life World also allows you to create a couple of customized characters. I also use this activity very much like a barrier game – I tell the kids what I’m doing while they can’t see my screen and they try to follow my directions. At the end we show each other what our people look like and see how similar they are. Often the kids like to “turn the tables” with these games and get a turn telling me what to do.

Summoning Crumpets

For many of the kids I work with “crumpets” are their favorite part of Toca Life World. These little creatures seem to be part tiny person and part animal. You can find them hidden all over the game and you can even summon some of them without needing to buy any of the expansions. That’s right: they’re FREE! Here’s a video that shows you how to summon some of the crumpets and here’s a list of “recipes” to summon each crumpet. These are mostly 2-step directions (“Put the French bread and magazine into Nari’s hands). To summon a crumpet follow these steps:

  1. Gather items (2nd and 3rd columns on the recipe list provided above).
  2. Go to the warehouse (the building with the black cat in a box on top).
  3. Select the right character (4th column on the recipe list).
  4. Pull the character into the warehouse.
  5. Put the 2 items in the character’s hands at the same time. You might need to switch hands or try a second time.
  6. Once you have all the crumpets with the asterisks (*) put these into the yellow dumpster and one more crumpet (and 2 crumpet homes) will appear.
  7. If you’d like to summon a crumpet again simply toss it into a garbage can.

Finding Hidden Crumpets

While you can summon all crumpets with the FREE version, many of the hidden crumpets are in the expansions that cost between $0.99 and $4.99. Here’s a list of the hidden crumpets with directions for finding them. These are mostly basic single-step directions (“look under the manhole cover” or “touch the leaves on the tree”), though for kids with good memory you can turn them into 2-step directions (“go to the warehouse, then look under the manhole cover”).

Finding Hidden Gems

A couple of my patients love finding the hidden gems in Toca Life World. Here’s a list of the gems with directions of where to find them. Again, these are mostly basic single-step directions (“look in the box under the mirror”), though for kids with good memory you can turn them into 2-step directions (“go to the theater, then look in the box under the mirror”). The main problem is that the loading time for each location makes these more difficult.

Recipes

One of my favorite parts of Toca Life World is the recipes – there are so many! I found this nifty list with many recipes that can be made with the FREE version. To make something you simply place one item on top of the other either on the floor or in a character’s hand. Here’s a modified version of the same list with the recipes unavailable in the free version left out:

Here are some more ideas for using Toca Life World in speech and language treatment.

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