My Town is a popular series mainly in part due to it’s open ended play. When there are no set game rules, children are able to use each object found in each game as they would like to. There are no specific problems to solve and no pressure to “win.” With no high scores to reach there is no competition, which opens up infinite story-telling possibilities.
Everyone that had a dollhouse growing up can remember the excitement of sitting down in front of it and creating full lives for each character inside of it. My Town is now a digital dollhouse, where your characters can move around to many more rooms in a wide variety of apps the company offers.
By testing out each object found in each room of any of the My Town games, your child is able to release their imagination and creativity, while at the same working on life skills like patience, trial and error and learning to trust themselves and their decisions. Because the games offer a different experience for everyone that plays them, it is up to them to create meaning for each person, item and situation they encounter. Teaching children early on in life to make choices supports their independence as they grow older.
Each game allows children to play with real life scenarios at their own pace, and they are able to make up their own stories about each experiences. Role playing is a big part of open ended play, and gives children ways to explore their feelings and even prepare them for situations they might not feel ready for. Apps such as My Town allows them to tailor their stories to their own experiences. Perhaps some situations were stressful or frustrating to your child, and they were unable to find the ways and means to express their feelings. A good example of this is My Town : Hospital. Were your children readily accepting of bringing a new baby into the house? They can explore that concept in this game and work out their feelings surrounding finding out about the baby while it’s still in their mother’s stomach, and it will offer meaningful learning experiences to explore with them.
As adults, we take for granted that we experience the world on our own terms. But children are often much more limited and live by a set of rules imposed by parents, teachers, other friends…open ended digital play gives them the chance to experience life on their terms.