A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that My PlayHome is a highly interactive, dollhouse-style app for kids. Kids can choose from five "types" of family members in generic white, Asian, and African-American skin tones; the characters include moms, dads, boys, girls, and babies. Kids can add all 15 characters (each has a different outfit, hairstyle, etc.) to their homes, allowing for flexibility in creating a variety of family types. They can create a mixed-race family, one with two (or three) moms, or one with only sons. Family members can hang out in the living room listening to music (choose your favorite CD), watching TV, or annoying the fish. The virtual kids might jump on the bed, blow bubbles, or build with blocks in their bedroom. They can even play on the swing in the backyard or work on a garden. The dolls can hold things like a toothbrush or an apple. The house stays in the same state when (real) kids exit, or kids can reset it to its original state. My PlayHome interacts with the My PlayHome Stores app; kids can exit the house and visit the stores in a seamless transition. When they return to the house, their characters will retain all the items (purchases) in their hands, so kids can add groceries and clothing.
What's it about?
MY PLAYHOME gives kids a flexible doll family of up to 15 people (mother, father, boy, girl, and baby in various skin tones), as well as a home and a backyard. There's a living room, kitchen, kids' bedroom, parents' bedroom, bathroom, dressing room (or walk-in closet), and backyard. Kids can explore, play, and share stories. There's no built-in story, but kids can feed their doll family or have the doll children bounce on the bed, give them baths, and let them play in the backyard. When they're done playing, kids can reset the items in the home so it's ready for the next session.
Is it any good?
My PlayHome is an open-ended app kids can explore just like a real dollhouse. Unlike in a real dollhouse, however, these dolls eat food, run water in the tub, and fry eggs on the stove. There are no rules or limited "hot spots" to touch. Kids simply follow their imaginations and tell their own stories as they play. There's plenty of replay value as they discover new things to do and objects with which to interact.
Much like in a real dollhouse, the characters' features can't be customized, but there are interchangeable clothes, jewelry, and hats for them to wear. The ability to create custom families also allows kids to tell their own stories. The app will only save a five-person standard family (mom, dad, son, daughter, baby), but kids can go wild during play sessions. This one should be a staple in any preschool-age iPad user's library; it will hold appeal for older kids, too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Sit with your child as he or she plays with the app. Ask open-ended questions about the characters' actions.
Help your child compare and contrast what's happening in the app with how things work in your home.
Talk to your child as you do things the characters do to expose your child to more vocabulary words used in context.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Apps for Windows
- Subjects: Arts: acting
Language & Reading: storytelling
- Skills: Creativity: imagination
- Price: $3.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: November 22, 2013
- Category: Entertainment
- Size: 94.60 MB
- Publisher: Shimon Young
- Version: 2.1.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later, Android
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