App: My PlayHome
Developer: Shimon Young
Platform: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android
Languages: English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
*FREE Lite Version Also Available: My PlayHome Lite
My PlayHome – The Ultimate Doll House for the iGeneration
My PlayHome is an innovative and exciting way to help kids with autism engage in pretend play. My five-year-old daughter on the spectrum loves this application; it holds her attention for hours. The graphics, the detail, and the design of the playhouse are simply amazing. The developer covered all the basics in this four-room house that even includes a functional and scenic backyard. The characters in the PlayHome include a family of five: dad, mom, son, daughter, and baby.
The interface is so easy to use that it requires little to no assistance or supervision from an adult even for younger children. With the touch of a button the child can enter the play home’s living room where they begin their play session. Once in the house, all of the components in the home can be engaged by grabbing or touching an object.
My PlayHome – Living Room
The living area of the home includes an arm chair, lamp, fish tank, stereo, television, and even a ticking clock. The family members can bounce up and down on the chair or pet the family cat that actually purrs. The fish tank is filled with bubbling water and moving fish that swim in the bowl.
The stereo can be turned on or off by a simple touch. The music selection can be changed by grabbing a CD from the entertainment stand and holding it in front of the disc insert for about five seconds. The volume is controlled using the iPad’s volume buttons. The television is also operated by lightly touching the screen or the DVD player. The TV even displays a real video; however, there is no sound.
The living area can even be dimmed by sliding the curtains together. The area can again be lighted by touching the lamp or light switch.
My PlayHome – Bedroom
To enter the bedroom the child can press the up arrow from the living room. This room serves as both a sleep and play area. The children can be put in the twin beds or the crib. Once in the bed, they are changed to a sleeping position (shoes off, lying down, eyes closed). The armoire full of hats and tiaras can be opened or closed and objects can be taken out or put in.
Movable toys including building blocks, a bear, and a toy truck are straddled throughout the room. There is even a bouncing basketball with a wall mounted hoop. This room can also be dimmed or lighted by touching the light switch, overhead light, or window.
My PlayHome – Bathroom
The bathroom has a fully functional shower and sink that has flowing water and sound. The shower curtain also closes allowing for privacy and a towel is available for drying off. When lightly touched, the toilet makes a realistic flushing sound.
Another highlight of this room is the toothbrushes. Toothpaste can be applied to the brushes and the brushes can be swiveled against one of the character’s mouths. Realistic brushing sounds are then heard as the toothpaste disappears from the brush.
My PlayHome – Kitchen
The kitchen is located below the bathroom and next to the living room. This is the ultimate room when it comes to functionality. Food can be cooked on a stovetop, microwave or in an oven that all make realistic sounds. The entire family can eat and drink from a fully stocked refrigerator and pantry. They make crunching and chewing noises when they are fed.
There are empty bowls and cups that can be filled with pourable cereal, juice, tea, milk, or cola. Empty plates can even be loaded with sandwiches, pizza, cupcakes, watermelon or other goodies.
My PlayHome – Backyard
The final area of the home is the backyard, which includes a tire swing, trampoline, tree house, flower bed, vegetable garden, and an apple tree. Kids can place the family members in the swing and give it a swirl around the tree. They can bounce the children or parents on the trampoline or place them in the tree house that includes a rotating wheel and horn.
The family can pick and eat carrots from the vegetable garden or apples from the apple tree. They can also water the flowers and garden with an available watering can. Natural bird chirping sounds are also heard whenever the family is outside.
As you see, this app is quite comprehensive with all the bells and whistles. However, there are some areas for improvement. For instance, it would be great if the family could be placed in other positions besides lying down. They should be able to sit in the chair or on the toilet or even turn around so that they can face the TV, sink, stove and other devices. Also, more rooms or even other areas in the community such as a store or post office would add variety to the PlayHome. But, overall, it’s a great app that kids will love!
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This awesome review was written by Teri T., an Autism Plugged In guest author, homeschool mom of two kids on the spectrum, and daily iPad user. Thanks, Teri!