Headstart for Life

Fun Educational App to facilitate Language Development

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Beyond Therapy – HeadStart for Life’s blog! We hope that our blog posts have been informative in helping you understand your child’s development. In our blog, we also try to share fun ideas to help you facilitate your child’s development. Have you tried out any of the activities?

In one of our earlier blog posts, I shared about one of my favourite educational app that can be used to help children with speech difficulties. In this blog post, we will continue to explore another educational app which can be used to help children practice their language skills!

Do remember that technology should never completely replace human interaction and actual toys as a medium to develop speech, language, communication or play skills. However, we can use technology on some occasions, especially if using a tablet is a motivating activity for your child. Do sit with your child and engage in the activity together, so that communication is still kept between you and your child. In other words, use the tablet as a medium to practice language skills and have some fun together!

My PlayHome: Play Home Doll House (by Shimon Young: Play Home Software)

Screenshot from My PlayHome

About the app:

My PlayHome is a virtual doll house which allows you to navigate between different rooms such as the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. A family of virtual characters can be moved around for various activities such as sitting on the sofa or jumping on the trampoline. Several items within the house can also be manipulated. For example, you can pour juice into a cup, switch on the TV or draw the curtains.

The app is available in both the Apple store and Google Play store.

Screenshot from My PlayHome

Screenshot from My PlayHome

How to use the app:

The beauty of My PlayHome is that it is very open-ended. There are so many language targets that can be incorporated while ‘playing’ with this virtual doll house! Here are some possibilities to consider!

  1. Vocabulary
    • Teach your child the vocabulary for items, people, and rooms of a house
    • In addition to nouns, you can teach several action words too!
  2. Prepositions
    • Ask your child to take an item and place it at a specified location
    • E.g. ‘put the apple on the table’, ‘put the teddy bear in the cupboard’
  3. Opposites
    • Take the opportunity to teach some opposites
    • Some terms that you can introduce include ‘open’ and ‘close’, ‘bright’ and ‘dark’ (you can draw the curtains and the room becomes dark), ‘on’ and ‘off’ (several electrical appliances can be switched on and off), ‘asleep’ and ‘awake’
  4. Grammar and sentence structure
    • As different characters are moved around the house, describe/let your child describe what is happening. The targets depend on what you are trying to teach.
    • E.g. If your child needs to work on using present progressive -ing in verbs, guide your child in adding the -ing to action words while describing (‘The girl is eating‘, ‘The baby is sleeping‘, ‘The daddy is brushing his teeth’)
  5. Following multi-step directions
    • Let your child practice listening to instructions that involve several steps before carrying out the instructions
    • E.g. ‘boil some water and pour it in the cup’, ‘feed the fish, then sit on the sofa’
  6. Giving instructions
    • Children enjoy having a turn at being the ‘teacher’ and usually do not know that it’s meant for them to practice their expressive language too!
    • You can take turns being the ‘teacher’ for most targets
    • E.g. After your child is able to identify what you have named, let him/her have a go at naming some things for you to identify! (‘Daddy, find the cat’, ‘Mummy, find the kitchen’)
  7. Answering ‘wh’ questions
    • While playing, ask ‘wh’ questions for your child to answer
    • Start with simpler ‘wh’ questions (who, what, where) before moving on to other types of ‘wh’ questions (when, why, how)
    • E.g. ‘Who is drinking juice?’, ‘Where are the boy’s pyjamas?’, ‘What is the mummy eating?’
  8. Asking ‘wh’ questions
    • Questions can be based on what the characters are doing (similar to what was described in ‘answering ‘wh’ questions’)
    • You can also describe an imaginary scenario for your child to formulate appropriate questions
    • E.g. ‘The boy’s truck is missing. What can he ask his mother?’, ‘Mummy, where is my truck?’
  9. Sequencing
    • Do a series of actions, then ask your child to recall what happened
    • Words such as ‘first’, ‘then/next’, ‘last/finally’ can be introduced
    • The sequences can be based on daily routines if that is something you are trying to teach your child
    • E.g. ‘What did the boy do after waking up?’, ‘First, he brushed his teeth. Then, he took a shower. Finally, he ate breakfast.’

Remember, don’t work on all these in the same setting! Your child may feel overwhelmed and find the activity to be stressful instead. Happy children are good learners! Also, check if the targets that you are introducing are appropriate for your child’s age as well.

Screenshot from My PlayHome

Screenshot from My PlayHome

What I love about this app:

  • Numerous language targets that can be incorporated in 1 app
  • Can suit children over a wide age range (bonus if you have children of different ages!)
  • Relatively cheap
  • Several versions are available, including My PlayHome School, My PlayHome stores, and My PlayHome Hospital. Have fun exploring these other apps as well!
Screenshot from My PlayHome

Screenshot from My PlayHome


Hope this post gave you some ideas to try out with your child! If you are using any other educational apps to work on your child’s language skills, do share them by leaving a comment below!

P.S. This is not a paid advertisement. I am sharing this as it is one of my favourite apps!

"All the information on this site is for educational purposes only and does not replace the assessment and intervention of a registered speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist or any other medical or education professional."

About Jia Yue

Jia Yue has a keen interest in working with children with special needs, particularly autism spectrum disorders, whose difficulties may include the areas of speech, language, and social skills. She has been working with children with special needs for the past few years and loves to browse through toy stores for new therapy ideas in her free time.

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