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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).
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.
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.)