Review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2012
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My PlayHome

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Create a family and let imagination rule the house

Common Sense says
Teachers say (2 Reviews)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
Pre-K-2 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Highly interactive, open-ended dollhouse lets kids create custom families.

Cons: Non-standard families can be created, but not saved.

Bottom Line: Engaging, interactive free play sets the bar for the genre.

This is a perfect quiet time activity for indoor recess. It can also be used to facilitate storytelling exercises and to help kids understand and communicate about regular household routines (taking a bath, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, and more). 

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My PlayHome is an open-ended virtual dollhouse with plenty for kids to explore. They start by creating a virtual family. Virtual dolls come in three generic skin tones/ethnicities - Caucasian, Asian, and African American. Kids can mix and match adult men and women, girls, boys, and babies to create any type of family (two moms, three girls, no kids, and so on). Each character (age/gender/skin tone combination) can only be used once, so no identical twins. The app will only save a standard family combination of man, woman, girl, boy, and baby, however. 

Kids can explore a house full of interactive spots and fun things to play with. The house includes a living room, kitchen, bathroom, kids' bedroom, parents' bedroom, dressing room, and garden/swingset. Those who have downloaded My PlayHome Store can access that from inside this app as well. Items in the house are interactive - characters can drink, eat (a carrot will show bite marks and eventually disappear), turn on the radio, bounce a ball, brush their teeth, and dig up items in the garden. Players who visit My PlayHome Store can actually "purchase" (no real money is exchanged) groceries, clothes, and ice cream and bring them back into this app.

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My PlayHome isn't a traditional learning app with math, reading, or science activities. But it's a great tool for helping kids tell stories, express themselves, use their imaginations, and explore.  If you value a dress-up area, dollhouse, or similar items in your classroom, this will meet a similar need with easier clean up. (A "Tidy House" button reverts items to their original state.)

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
5

Kids love a dollhouse, especially when family members (virtually) run water in the tub and fry eggs on the stove. Highly interactive with plenty of replay value as kids discover new things to do and objects with which to interact.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Kids are empowered to explore and might learn to tell stories by making up situations. Diversity in ethnicity and types of families is evident. With adult help, kids can learn home-related vocabulary.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
1

When kids are done playing, they can reset items in the home so it's ready for the next session. 


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Jennifer A. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Montclaire Elementary School
Los Altos, CA
4
Virtual Dollhouse is Great for Academic Purposes

The app is very flexible and can be used for a variety of academic purposes. The free version works fine for the way we use it. The paid version offers additional options such as more rooms and more racially diverse family members. The store version is also a hit with students.

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