It’s a cliche that the best things are often the simplest things, but even cliche is sometimes truth. iPhone apps are a good example — many of the best apps are simple tools or games that do one, maybe two things very well. Night & Day Studios’ Peekaboo Barn is a perfect example, a children’s game that offers simple, well-crafted entertainment for toddlers without a lot of flash, dash or fluff.
To an older gamer, the concept might be startlingly plain: see the barn, listen to the sound, tap on the door to open the barn, and see the animal. Toddlers learn sounds by hearing the animal’s call before the barn opens, cause and effect by tapping the barn door to open it, and they learn to recognize animals and name them.
My daughter, who’s really too old for Peekaboo Barn at four, still enjoyed using Night & Day’s suggestions for older kids. She practiced listening for the sounds, then after the barn door opened, we worked on spelling each animal’s name as it appeared. When that got old, we switched to Spanish, and started learning each animal’s name en español.
The game’s interface is well thought out, requiring no more than one or two taps to activate. The sounds are professional quality, and the artwork — by New Yorker regular Divya Srinivasan – is clean, simple and appealing. The Spanish option is nice, though I confess it left me wishing for additional language options. French and Mandarin come immediately to mind.
Is it for you? Good question. If your child is as old as three, definitely. A bright four can still make use of it to keep him/herself occupied for a while. Over five, I’d say probably not, unless you particularly want a Spanish-language practice tool. But for four and under, it’s a safe bet they’ll get $1.99 worth of entertainment — and you’ll get $1.99 worth of peace and quiet — out of Peekaboo Barn.
Wired: Clean, fun interface. Professional-quality sounds and artwork. Multiple ways to play to keep your child interested.
Tired: Spanish is the only foreign-language option.