Toca Kitchen 2 App Review

What is Toca Kitchen 2? Toca Kitchen 2 is a smartphone application which allows children to become the head chef of their very own crazy restaurant.

They get to prepare and serve ridiculous culinary creations to a cast of quirky characters, and then enjoy watching the extreme reactions as the characters eat whatever is put in front of them!

The app has been developed by the Toca Boca team and succeeds the unbelievably popular original Toca Kitchen. 

While the principle of the first version remains, as do many of the stylistic qualities, the developers have made some important changes in this newest version, making Toca Kitchen 2 a great download whether you have the original or not.

The app is aimed at children between the ages of 6 and 8 years old, although it is surprising how many adults secretly love to play it too! It is supported by Android and IOS and is available in the apple store and google play store.

How do you play Toca Kitchen 2?

The developers describe Toca Kitchen 2 as a toy, not a game. This is a really important distinction because it means there are no points to be scored or levels to be completed.

Instead, this app encourages children to engage in open-ended, free-flowing play, with no other motivation than to enjoy themselves. 

The setting is a colorful kitchen/diner, where the player has no visible form or avatar. The only characters are the hilarious cast of diners who come to eat at the restaurant.

The kitchen area itself is full of all sorts of food, from meat and fish to octopus legs and pineapple, and is also equipped with all the usual apparatus you would expect in a kitchen. There is a fridge, oven and hob, as well as knives, chopping boards, pots, pans and blenders. 

The idea is to mix and match whatever crazy combinations of foods you like, and prepare those foods in any way you like too. You can fry carrots, boil a watermelon or chop up rice!

The rules are there are no rules! Then you serve up whatever monstrous culinary surprise you have created to the unlucky diner sitting at the counter. 

If there is any aim at all, it is only to elicit the most ridiculous and extreme reactions you possibly can from the characters. And once they have burped, yelped, laughed or yummed satisfactorily, you can start all over again with a new dish.

So what is the point exactly?

The point of this app is that games don’t need to be competitive or goal driven to be fun. So much of what we teach our kids these days is target based.

The sports in the playground, the marks in the classroom, and even the games on their screens are all angled towards scoring points, gaining rewards and progressing forward at all times.

However, this kind of thinking can be stressful and put pressure on young minds, which is why Toca Kitchen 2 is so cool. This toy encourages creativity and spontaneity without focusing on success or achievement.

This means that kids cannot compare scores and feel that they are doing better or worse than their friends, they can only chat and laugh about whatever meal they are preparing at that very moment.

 The simplicity of the app is its beauty, because it does not try to be anything more than what it is - a lovely, funny way to switch off your worries for a while and get messy.

Messiness is in fact one of the highlights of the toy, because kids can get food everywhere - on the floor, the walls, even the ceiling, and there are no negative consequences. They don’t get told off or have points deducted - it is fine, it is fun, it is freeing!

The same can be said about the disgusting food combinations that they can create. The app does not dock points for pairing foods that don’t compliment each other, and no one gets poisoned! Instead, the silly dishes are encouraged, and will often evoke the biggest and best responses from the characters when eaten.

Does Toca Kitchen 2 Have Any Educational Value?

Sure it is silly and funny, but the secondary learning and development that this app encourages should not be dismissed. It can be a great introduction to the kitchen environment for young children.

The huge range of food, from many different food groups, are a great talking point for kids, and they are sure to learn the names of some things that they have never tried before. Kids also get to use the kitchen apparatus itself, which is something they would not be able to do in real life.

Luckily the virtual knives will never cut them, and the virtual hob isn’t really boiling hot, so Toca Kitchen 2 is a safe way for kids to become familiar with these everyday appliances.

A great tip is to let your child play whilst you are really cooking. This way they will begin to associate the virtual with the real, and it will spark plenty of healthy curiosity and discussion. 

What About Social and Behavioral Value?

The social and behavioral benefits of the app are arguably the most evident. This is a great app if your child is a particularly fussy eater because it demonstrates how you should give any food a try before complaining.

The characters all eat everything that is put in front of them and, sure, they might not like it, but they give it a try. The app is a great way to approach that idea with kids who perhaps never touch their veg, or won’t eat fruit.

It is fun to let them feed their Toca Kitchen characters some of the items they dislike and then give the real thing a go for themselves.

The app also promotes diversity of race, gender and even species! The animated characters are a brilliantly diverse bunch and the food is also very varied. Although it is subtle, the positive messaging within the app is important and will make a difference to young minds.

Of course, the app does not necessarily hit the mark when it comes to promoting good table manners!

The characters belch, burp, shlurp and chomp in a way that you would certainly not want your child to mimic. However, the laughter that this rudeness evokes is so wonderful that you will forgive the bad manners.

Kids really do get a kick out of watching the characters behave badly, and the app just would not have the same appeal if the characters all sat quietly and dabbed crumbs away from their mouths with napkins!

How Are the Design, Layout and Features of the App?

The app is wonderfully simple, and it has a clear, easy-to-use interface that even youngsters are able to navigate. This means that you won’t constantly have to supervise your child, and won’t be constantly called over to help them understand how to work it.

The simplicity of the layout extends to the graphics, which are incredibly basic but have bags of charm. Toca Kitchen 2 uses more realistic representations of food than the original app, and this is great for giving the design more texture and a greater element of realism.

However, the setting and characters remain beautifully cartoon-like, and give the app a kind of retro aesthetic. The app doesn’t have any annoying music, which is a big bonus because so many similar apps do!

And it doesn’t take up much space on a mobile phone or tablet, so you won’t find yourself having to delete loads of other apps to make room for it. 

Is Toca Kitchen 2 Safe for Kids?

Most importantly, this app is incredibly safe for children to use. It has a brilliant parent zone that allows you to control the settings and even limit the types of food that appear in your child’s restaurant.

This is a popular feature among vegetarians who are able to change the settings to ensure that their child’s Toca Kitchen is a meat free environment.

The parent zone also allows you to restrict the ads and pop-ups within the app, so your child will not be exposed to annoying, third-party advertisements as they play. And best of all, there are no in-app purchases or hidden costs once you download.

These in-app purchases can be hugely frustrating as they show children cool rewards but don’t allow them to access them without a credit card. It can feel really unfair, and can result in parents coughing up just to avoid unnecessary upset, so it really is great that there are no in-app purchases in Toca Kitchen 2.

Highlights:

  • Great diverse range of characters who will eat anything!
  • Loads of fun foods to mix and match and mash together!
  • New kitchen appliances which teach kids the fundamentals of food prep
  • Promotes creativity, spontaneity, silliness and fun
  • Teaches fussy eaters to try food before complaining
  • No rules or levels or points to score
  • No ads and no in-app purchases