Toca Band – experiment with making music in storytime

th-28An easy to learn and rhythmically engaging app that encourages experimentation with sounds and instruments to compose music.


Bibliographic Info:  Toca Band  Toca Boca (app updated in 2013)  Format: App, Music Video trailer  Interest Level: kids 5 and under  Genre: Music, Music Education  Themes:  Rhythm, Musical Instruments


7995840288_f307b4f4cc_zSummary:  This app lets children use different kinds of sounds and instruments to experiment with making music. The interface pictures a stage with eight circular performer platforms.  A colorful chorus line of bizarre musical personalities stands in front of the stage at the bottom of the screen.

Each one of these characters represents a sound or instrument that may be added to a composition.  Kids compose and edit music by using a finger to select characters, place them on the stage (to activate them), move them around the stage (to change their tempo) and remove them from the stage (to edit out their contribution to a composition).  By touching a character, children cause it to make its own unique sound (this also functions as an audition).  Any one of the characters may also be selected to perform a solo by dropping it on the starred circle at center stage.


StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1Toca Band was given StorytimeWOW’s Marquee Seal on April 10th, 2015.  This material meets the StorytimeWOW Standards and was selected for the AppWOW collection.


7995814970_7106fec1cd_zReview:  Toca Band is a very cool app for kids.  It also makes an entertaining musical group activity for libraries and classrooms.  With instruments, sounds and tempos, children learn how to create music.  The character animation is bizarre, humorous and fantastical.  As you add more characters, the music grows deeper and more layered.  Kids will enjoy making music with this awesome app during both one-on-one and group storytime.  Toca Band is a thrilling, engaging and pleasurable musical learning experience that gives children a foundational knowledge of music composition.


th-23 01-02-14Storytime:  In library and classroom storytimes, you can use Toca Band to create music together as a group (and everyone gets to watch).  Begin by playing the Toca Band music video trailer below on the big screen.  Rock out and have fun with this.

Next, invite your group to make music with the Toca Band.  Ask for “good volunteers” to help by adding music and sounds to the stage (good volunteers sit crisscross applesauce with bottoms on the ground, mouths closed and a single volunteer’s hand raised in the air).

Walk around with your iPad and have each volunteer select, drag and drop a musical personality to one of the performer platforms on stage.  When a personality is dropped on a platform, it automatically begins performing its own unique instrument.  Introduce the musician by name and have the kids echo it back (character names are listed below the video).  Allow groups to observe and listen to each added character.  Ask children to describe the sounds they are hearing.

Once all the platforms are rocking out, say bye-bye to characters one by one until your song concludes.  Have fun and encourage lots of participation and movement throughout the activity.

The Toca Band

  1. Balooney7995828968_c29a9ee37c_z-1
  2. Stick Figga
  3. Kalinka
  4. Lil’ Riff
  5. Dolores
  6. Mr. Whizzle Wiz
  7. Woo Mioo
  8. ?
  9. Shoo String Charlie
  10. Dancy Nancy
  11. Tic Toc
  12. Shaky McBones
  13. Zuzz
  14. Figara
  15. Frig ‘n Frog
  16. Bang Bang Chef

1. Toca Band provides parents with opportunities to use the following Early Literacy-Building Parent Practices (see full list of parent practices here):

  • Playing is a primary way in which children learn language (and this book is very playful).
  • Singing together is a fun bonding experience with your child.  Musical experiences cultivate brain development and teach children concepts such as steady beat, rhythm and tempo.

2. Toca Band supports the following Common Core Guidelines (see full list here):

  • Add information-focused content and materials that broaden knowledge of the real world.
  • Focus on cultivating children’s core knowledge of numbers.
  • Integrate new media materials and technology in classroom settings. Cultivate media literacy behaviors through modeling.
  • Create a more participatory culture in group programs and classroom settings.  Use materials that invite participation and keep learners engaged.

3. Toca Band supports many “emerging mental abilities” in children by providing teachers and educators with a useful musical development tool.  By using this tool, educators may create opportunities for children to have “key experiences” that strengthen and broaden the following abilities (see the full list here):

  • Active Learningth-24
    1. Exploring actively with the senses.
    2. Discovering relations through direct experience.
    3. Manipulating, transforming, and combining materials.
    4. Choosing materials, activities, purposes.
    5. Acquiring skill with tools and equipment.