How I Use It
This is not so much a 'teaching' app as it is an 'imagination' app. Play Home Stores integrates seamlessly with the original 'Play Home' app, adding stores that the characters can 'shop' at. There is an ice cream store, a clothing store, a vegetable/fruit/juice bar and a grocery store. The characters (including the children) from the Play Home can shop at these stores. Try on clothes, make and drink juice, fill a cart with groceries and have some ice cream. Items purchased can be taken back to the home and put in the cupboards, fridge and closets. This app is best used as an 'imagination sparker'. PK-2 students can use this app to pretend play the shopping experience and tell stories about what the people are doing. It's frustrating in that when you close out the app, anything that you have purchased and put in the house is gone (but that also adds to the replay aspect). New is a day/night feature which allows you to switch between daytime and night-time shopping but doesn't seem to change any of the actual features of the game other than if they turn the lights on or off. There is also a mouse that will come out and eat any food that is left on the floor.
The replay ability of this app is much higher than you might initially expect as my daughter has had this app since it was released back in August and continues to play with it at least 3 or 4 times a week. Her iPad is full of apps and games and this is one that continues to be saved from erasing each time we do a purge.
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 each other about what the people in the app are doing. In low literacy students could write stories about what they are going to have the characters do, and then 'act' it out inside the app.
It would be a nice add on to allow children to take screenshots of what they are doing in the app that would be saved to the camera roll. Then they could put those images in sequential order, use them in other storytelling apps, etc. Also, they could add an ability for students to record their voices as they played with it or to record their play, making 'mini movies'. As it stands, this is a simple app that does encourage imagination and storytelling which can be an important aspect of growth for students at this age level.