My Playhome is a creative and nicely crafted digital dollhouse for iPad that my son really enjoys. Four rooms are included - a family room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom as well as mom, dad, brother, sister and baby characters. A version for iPhone, Pocket Playhome is also available.
Each room includes objects that the characters can interact with. I like that in the family room, one can switch between cds that play music used throughout this app as background music and one can also turn on the TV to watch a few seconds of muted home video of a family unwrapping gifts - a nice touch. It is also fun that shades can be drawn over the windows to darken the room, and that an aquarium is also included.
The kitchen is my son’s favorite room, as it is well stocked with doors to open and food to find in order to feed the family. I like that in the app, one can feed the characters food or drink as well as watch and listen to these things being held and ingested by family members. Recently, my son found the garbage under the sink and delighted in throwing away apple cores and Popsicle sticks. Other highlights include a stove top that is functional as well as a sink with running water. My boy spends a great deal of time here opening and closing pantry and fridge doors, pouring cereal into bowls, juice or milk into cups and taking care of this family.
The bedroom includes a pair of bunk beds and a crib for the baby. Simple toys are included as well, such as blocks, a car, basketball and hoop, as well as some silly hats for these family members to wear, and I appreciate how these toys respond to play correctly in terms of their reaction to physics and gravity.
The bathroom is pretty typical of what one would seen in a real home, with running water in the sink and shower, as well as a toilet that flushes with a tap of a finger. Here, family members can shower and brush their teeth. A rubber ducky is included, as well as shampoo that lathers for nice effect.
I have seen a few apps like this, but My Playhouse includes the most objects one can truly interact with including doors to open and investigate. It does have some limitations, though, as my son discovered. He was able to lay the boy and girl down in their beds but was unable to pull covers over them, much to his disappointment. My boy really wanted to lay the baby down in the crib as well, but one can only play with the baby seated inside - a detail that upset my son as he really wanted the baby to lay down and sleep after he turned off the light in the room. I also wish that one could place a character seated on the toilet. It is strange to me that, in fact, there are few places to sit these characters and one cannot sit these guys in the one chair available in the family room either. My son does think it odd that these family members are standing around while eating at the table in the kitchen but was not overly fazed by this detail.
I would love to see more rooms and details added over time in updates. I am happy with the navigating from room to room done so with the tap of a finger, and it is helpful that the members of this family are found in the top right corner, always available to enter into a room when the player chooses, and it is also possible to drag these characters from room to room if one chooses. The look of this app is bright, colorful and fun, a very enjoyable activity for kids to spend time with.
It would also be good to have different races and ethnicities available to choose from as well and if included, it would be especially thoughtful to be able to choose these differences independently for each character, giving children a chance to create multi-ethnic or multi-racial families. I would also love to take this family outside to a backyard. This would allow for many more interactions, such as growing food in a garden and lots of outdoor activities for the children. A master bedroom for the parents would also be interesting, possibly even a closet of clothing that one could interact with. Finally, I wish the cat found in the family room was able to move room to room and interact with the family as well, as well as other possible pet choices.
All-in-all, a well-conceived digital playhouse that kids will really enjoy playing with. I hope to see more updates over time as this app could get better and better with more details included, although still a lot of fun just the way it is.