You may have noticed two children (yes, my two, with me) playing an app together on the iPad in the banner picture for my blog. An even more eagle-eyed developer spotted that it was their app – My PlayHome. This is an excellent open-ended app which allows children to play with a virtual dolls house using a family of five characters. You can explore a kitchen, living room, bathroom and kids’ bedroom. Following a free update, there is now a garden too.
The app is very easy to use from the word go, and from a very young age. Little Miss Chatterbox began using it before she was two. But there is plenty to keep older kids interested too. The graphics are bright and engaging, and there are so many objects to interact with that it will keep children occupied for a very long time.
There are some lovely humorous touches. Mr Tall enjoys making the Mum and Dad bounce up and down on the sofa for example and listening to the “boing, boing!” noise it makes. Little Miss Chatterbox likes making flies appear from the flower box in the kitchen and then splatting them.
It is very easy to act out scenes such as making and eating lunch, or putting the children to bed, which encourages children to make up their own stories. It is also, unlike some apps, fairly easy for two children to use at once, or for a parent to use with a child, so that they can make up these stories together.
There are several different music tracks which can be selected using the CD player in the living room – or you can turn them off completely.
One of the nicest touches is that the occasional updates (new rooms, new items and activities, better graphics) are free.
And once your children have played for a while, there is a great option to “Tidy the House” which instantly resets everything to the initial start position. If only tidying the house was that easy in real life…
My PlayHome, developed by Shimon Young, compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.