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Apps for Children: Toca Pet Doctor

Young children will learn empathy for animals and practice fine motor skills with this sweet app from Toca Boca. Toca Pet Doctor opens on a waiting room full of sick or injured animals, ranging from a worm who has tied himself in knots to a bird with a broken wing to a guinea pig with food stuck in her teeth. Children tap on one of the cute critters to begin caring for it and are guided by visual cues to help make it better. Once the provided treatment has been completed, food for the now-healed creature appears and players feed the animal until it falls into a contented sleep. Then it's back to the waiting room to choose another adorable animal to help.

Toca Pet Doctor empowers children to care for animals and may help with their own doctor visit-related anxieties. Interpreting the visual cues lets them practice deciphering context clues, and maneuvering items on the screen offers an opportunity to work on fine motor skills. This app also provides a great opportunity to talk about feelings as players watch the creatures' faces morph from distressed to happy and relaxed when they receive care and food.

Toca Pet Doctor is recommended for ages 3 and up and is available from the iTunes App Store for $0.99.

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