App review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2013
My PlayHome Stores
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My PlayHome Stores

Free-play virtual shopping experience is full of surprises

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 1 review
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
Pre-K–2
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Social Studies, Creativity, Communication & Collaboration

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Pros: Highly interactive app stimulates creative play, integrates seamlessly with the original.

Cons: No way to take pictures or save/record experiences.

Bottom Line: Available shops are fun to explore, but more would offer a richer experience.

The app provides an engaging way to get kids talking about their feelings, their families, their communities, and their lives, and can be used to inspire them to create oral or picture stories about their experiences as well. Kids will also enjoy this during indoor recess or as a station choice. 

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My PlayHome Storesthe sequel to My PlayHome, is a virtual shopping plaza. Characters can visit a clothing store, ice cream shop, produce market, and grocery store. Each shop has lots to do from trying on clothes, to making fruit smoothies, to scanning groceries. Kids will recognize the activities from their experiences as errand tag-alongs. At launch, there are four shops to explore, as well as an ATM that dispenses virtual cash. Keen-eyed kids will also find a mischievous mouse scurrying about. Kids can navigate between the two apps by heading out into the street toward the house/shops. Items purchased in the shops are transported with the characters back to the house. 

This app isn't designed to teach kids to read or do math. Instead, it's a role-playing tool kids can use to explore lfe skills and community workers, practice storytelling, and communicate about their daily lives. The open-ended nature is compelling for kids, and they can easily tie the activities to their own life experiences. Characters show ethnic diversity (three skin tones) and some age diversity (baby, child, adult). My PlayHome Stores isn't goal-oriented, so there are no objectives, rewards, or tracking mechanisms. 

Overall Rating

Engagement

With so many opportunities to do grown-up things (scoop ice cream, weigh veggies, scan groceries, use an ATM), kids are bound to have fun. The app still needs a few more shops and experiences, but it's a good start.

Pedagogy

Although these aren't formal learning games, kids will relate to the activities and connect them to their daily lives as they select from a range of shops and characters and follow their interests.

Support

No data is produced or collected, nor is data collection necessary. It would be a plus, however, if there was an in-game way to save scenes or take pictures.


Common Sense reviewer
Christy Matte Educator

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Featured review by
Donald P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Great app for creative play and imaginative storytelling.
My daughter has CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech) and as such we look for apps that encourage her to tell stories orally as she plays. This app has that and my daughter loves to play with it. She is constantly talking to her iPad as she plays, telling stories to herself, to her cats, to us, which is a huge win for this app. This app would be a great resource in an ELL classroom where students could practice words in English / native languages and practice their language skills telling stories to eac ...
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