I love love love working on preschool language and the app that I find myself continually coming back to time and time again with my students no matter their interests is called “My PlayHome.” It is perfect for speech therapy and developing language skills. Discover why I love it and how I use it!
This app is essentially a digital version of a dollhouse! It is 100% worth the $3.99 price. If I were to spend money on only one app for the preschool population, this would be it! There are also STORE, SCHOOL, HOSPITAL versions, which are just as functional! There is a free “lite” version of the house to try out.
WATCH A VIDEO OF THE MY PLAYHOME APP HERE!
These apps are incredibly interactive – everything does something!
Touch the oven door and it opens, hold the bubbles up to a person’s mouth and they will blow them, put someone on the trampoline and they will jump, or water the garden and watch carrots grow. It’s engaging and motivating! There are countless things to explore and do, allowing for fantastic language opportunities.
I love using dollhouses in therapy because of how functional and versatile they are – you can easily target many goals in a fun way! This app is an excellent solution if you don’t have a dollhouse, are a traveling therapist, or are trying to pare down your materials closet.
Read a breakdown of how I use the “My PlayHome” app in speech therapy for language development:
Practice the social skill of taking turns. Since this is an app, I like to set the boundaries and expectations from the beginning that we are taking turns playing with the app. This ensures that the child doesn’t take the device and ignore you while playing. Not only does this allow for working on taking turns, requesting turns, working on “my” and “your” pronouns, but gives you opportunities to have control to ask questions and work on the specific goals you have planned.
This is a very enticing app – kids can’t wait to touch everything and discover what will happen. Use this to your advantage to have the child make requests via non-verbal communication (signs, pointing) or verbal communication (single word, complete sentence) depending on their ability.
Work on functional vocabulary, for example, food, rooms of the house, household items, etc.
Target identifying nouns, pronouns, verbs, prepositions, descriptors and so much more! “Where is the dog?” “Who is eating?” “Where is the small bed?”
Work on “who” “what” “when” “where” “why” and “how” questions.
Work on boy/girl, he/she/they, his/hers/theirs with the people. The app includes various children, parents, and grandparents. You can work on this expressively, “Whose chair is it?” or receptively, “Give her the chair.” I typically introduce these concepts with real people or real pictures, but this is a fun way to generalize and begin using nouns and pronouns in sentences and in conversation.
Work on spatial concepts such as, in/out, on/off, inside/outside, on/under, etc. Again, I like to introduce these concepts with tangible items, but the app is a great way to generalize and test knowledge of concepts.
Have the child identify the category or list items in a category. Example categories: family members, rooms of the house, utensils, furniture, food items, clothing, pets.
Work on which things go together! You can present the child with 2 or 3 items from the app and have them tell you why they go together or select the 2 that go together. You can also provide them with an object and have them tell you something that goes with it.
“What is a ___ for?” Talk about household items and their uses.
VERBS & VERB TENSES
Playhouses are great for action words. Have the dolls “walk”, “knock”, or “wake up”. Then work on present progressive verbs (walking) and past tense verbs (walked).
MEAN LENGTH UTTERANCES
Incorporate expanding language while playing by modeling an additional 1-2 words based on what the child says. For example, if the child says “ball”, you can model “red ball” or “2 balls” or “kick ball” or “I see the ball.”
There are multiple aspects of sequencing you can target. You can have the child following directions with sequencing terms (first/next/last). You can sequence home routines (how to brush teeth). And you can even work on higher-level sequencing by telling a story or demonstrating actions with the people and having the child retell or tell what happened in the correct order.
Provide directions for your students to follow. These can be basic 1-step directions “give the baby a bath” or more complex directions “put the boy on the bed and then close the door”. Incorporate descriptors, pronouns, prepositions, and temporal concepts (“Before you put the dad in the car, put the baby in the car.”)
Negation can be a tricky concept to teach and learn! Examples of negatives include: no, not, never, none, no one, nothing, don’t, can’t, won’t. “Which girl is not sleeping?”
Do you use the “My PlayHome” app with your students? How else do you use it?