Using My PlayHome app for early language activities


playhomeI love this app. Since discovering it a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been trying to find different ways to fit it into my sessions at a preschool. It has a range of different scenes, each with moveable characters and objects and decent sound effects e.g. in the kitchen scene you can open cupboards, turn taps on and off and put pizza in the oven. And it works on a wider range of vocabulary than I can ever quite achieve by getting a box of small world toys together. This app could be used as a tool in targeting a range of expressive and receptive language skills.

The free version of the app (My PlayHome Lite) has two scenes which give you plenty to work with. You can, however, upgrade it for £2.49 to upload lots more scenes and there’s also a shops version for £1.49 which I haven’t tried.

I used the app in a small nursery group session and told the children that we were going to tell a story.

  • First, I showed them the kitchen scene and we agreed on names for the characters (Mummy, Daddy etc. worked better for the language level of the group I was with).
  • I demonstrated a sequence of actions one at a time and asked different children to describe each one e.g. “The Mummy opened the fridge”. “She poured a glass of juice”. “She drank the juice”. You can make the actions as complex or simple as you like depending on the language level you are working at.
  • I asked each child to direct me on what happened next. This can work well for children at a very early language level who might give a one or two word instruction such as “TV on” as it is very easy to model an expanded phrase e.g. ” turn on the TV”. It helps to demonstrate a few of the fun actions first so they know what to request.

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