Homes by Tinybop is the 3rd app from the developer’s Explore’s Library series. Like their first two apps Human Body and Plants, it is open-ended exploratory app. There is no verbal or written instructions, no set goals. Kids come in the app explore homes from around the world. Through exploring the homes, kids will learn and discover world culture and life.
Before kids start using the app, I highly recommend setting up a profile for each child. You can do it by tapping on the Dashboard icon at the left lower corner of the home screen. With a profile, you will have access to each child’s activities within the app, you will also access to handbooks for all three Tinybop’s apps. I found the handbooks are extremely helpful in learning what is in the app. For example, for this app Homes, you will find brief introduction of each home in the app, plus more details on landscape, architecture, space organization inside the home. It also includes many surrounding information, such as the animals you can see on the scene. Also in the handbook are explanations on some unique features of each home, like the adobe house in Guatemala, people use stove to burn firewood for cooking.
Once you have the profile set up, your child is ready to play around the app. As I mentioned earlier, all activities are exploratory. There is no instruction in the app. Kids choose a home on the map to visit. Currently there are 4 homes: a brownstone in Brooklyn, a ger in Mongolia, an adobe home in Guatemala, and a tower house in Yemen.
When kids arrive at the chosen home, they can move around the surrounding, or enter a room. They can use the slider to see the cross section of the building, that shows how electronics are connected, and how the water pipes connect. They can interact with the items at the home. They can even do some activities, such as playing the toys, washing the dishes, feeding the goats.
If kids tap on the note button on the left side tool panel, they can see all the labels showing the structures and important items in the home. If they run out of places to explore, tapping on the plus sign at the top right corner can reveal all the spots that have interactive features.
There is so much kids can learn from this app. I like that kids are learning at their own pace, by exploration and observation. Yet, it is not totally out of guidance. Part of reason I like the handbook is it provides background information and gives ideas for discussions. Some suggested questions: how is my home similar to and different from these homes? How are these homes different from each other? How might people in these homes play, relax, socialize, decorate, cook, clean, sleep, and stay warm or cool?
A wonderful app of great quality, Homes by Tinybop is available on iPhone, iPod and iPad. It is $3.99.
If you would like to check it out or purchase it, please use the App Store link provided below. The cost is the same to you, but iGameMom gets a small percentage. Thanks for your support! Note: The link works for all countries.