photo: Toca Boca

If you’ve ever had to take your child to the ER or spent any time in the hospital, you’ll know how scary it can be for both kids and parents. Luckily there’s now an app to help with that.

The newly released Toca Life: Hospital app is the latest in a series of open-ended play games developed by Toca Boca. This Swedish game developer specializes in apps that are not only fun and easy to approach, but also offer kids a chance to engage in pretend play, something rare among app games. Toca Life: Hospital is no exception, giving kids characters and tools they can manipulate in a life-like hospital setting.

photo: Toca Boca

Research has shown that pretend play can help kids learn how to deal with unfamiliar social situations. Toca Boca play designer Petter Karlsson told the Huffington Post, “Toca Life: Hospital gives kids unlimited space to discover the happenings of a busy medical center at their own pace, helping to increase their comfort level around hospitals.”

The game developers visited real hospitals and got feedback from medical professionals and kids while creating the app. Karlsson explained that, “the app is like a ‘virtual dollhouse’ with characters and equipment based on real-life hospitals. The activities put kids in control of the experience and help them develop positive associations with hospitals.” Pretty amazing for a simple kid’s app.

Have you checked out Toca Life: Hospital yet? Share your thoughts in the comments.