Tinybop’s newest app in the Explorer’s Library Series, Homes is incredible over the top experiential app where kids explore the lifestyles and environs of kids from around the world by being guests in their homes. There is no narrator or instructor. It is wonderfully silent and the sounds you do hear are from the home itself. All learning is through direct interaction with objects from the houses. Find out how kids from 4 different geographical regions eat, play, sleep, what they wear and how they manage and use energy. I have to applaud Tinybop’s choices of homes with showing kids different locales than what they are used to seeing as being a representation of the world at large, and it really brings to light the ways that we are all the same and yet different too. The Landscape, architecture, organization of objects, utilities, and even animals are included, as well as something to play with in each setting. Within the app is a stellar handbook in the parental/educator dashboard that promotes talking points and gives more background information about each dwelling from the outside-in. I would highly recommend reading the handbook and getting to know the app before playing it with a child. As much as I’d like to think that I am intuitive when it comes to playing with apps, I have found I am really not – and a three-year-old can usually show me more of the features in an app than I can find alone. The handbook is really a curriculum of social environments in itself and may inspire you to explore off screen activities as well. Tinybop’s website: http://tinybop.com has additional information, supports, and an outstanding blog to get the most from their apps and they also recommend quality apps from other developers – WOW!
Hey, let’s travel through time and space and visit the locales so we can get a closer look. First up from Guatemala, is the adobe home. The little wind-up key on the left helps you select settings within a home. Choose from over 50 different languages under the preferences on the dashboard. Once there, add the labels icon to learn what things are called. This is where the ability to shift languages is so great. A book suddenly becomes a Libro, and how cool is that when trying to break through the rigidity of one’s thought and experience? This kind of presentation breaks down barriers of the reference point of you as a center of all things and brings the human experience to a much broader point of view. After exploring the outside environment, use the slider to expose a closer look to the inside of the house. The navigation key will transport you from room to room. My wish would be to be able to tidy things up a bit…as a mother, I would prefer clothes not be on the floor like it is in reality. I would love every dish in the sink and every piece of clothing on a hook or hanger after cleaning. Below is a book on counting in Spanish.
Whoo Hoo…”Start spreading the news”, in NYC next! A lavish brownstone displays the American experience with an abundance of space and privacy. Tap on the plus button to get a closer look at what is available to explore in each room. A circle will identify something for which you can extend the play, i.e. cooking or other household tasks. Each home also has the experience of toileting. Kids love this area and want to see and hear what is going down. It comes with realistic sounds and layouts for that particular region and shows how resources are recycled in some locales. I love that all pictures on the wall can be modified with pictures from your camera roll. What fun!Yemen, a country that I do not know enough about is next, and I am so grateful to Tinybop for its inclusion. The Tower House shows the inner workings of the hearth and home. The clothing brings an insight into the culture, and the soccer ball makes it all connected to an everyday experience for kids everywhere. I love how Tinybop has displayed an iPad here on the coffee table. You can also play the radio or the TV’s to see some extra action.
The last home to visit is the ger or yurt, a tent-like structure of the Mongolian nomads. They are one room tents that have collapsible portable wooden frames that allow for quick travel. Inside, finding the mirror is fun, and allows kids to capture their part of the journey in Mongolia. It is so cool to find out the Mongolians use solar energy to generate electrical use as well as both motorcycles and horses to travel. Did you know they use satellite dishes for TV?
The preparation of foods is displayed, and it would be a fun hands on experience to research and replicate meals from a region. The games and activities would also be grand to play. I would highly recommend this app, as Tinybop has shown us; there IS no place like Homes.
About the Author
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.