Kids Corner Review: Peek-a-boo Barn
I haven't done a Kids Corner Review in a while, so here we go.
Peek-a-boo Barn is a game designed to let kids use deductive reasoning to guess an animal that is hiding in the barn. The child who is playing hears an animal sound, and guesses the animal. They tap on the barn to open the door, and see if they are correct (with the name presented and a voice telling you want the animal is). Once you go through the ten animals (duck, cat, cow, pig, etc) you are then presented with a quick animation of the sun going down and all the animals going to sleep.
There are a few different settings that you can adjust. You can use either the Spanish word or the English word for the animal. You can also choose to turn off the animal sounds and/or the human voice. I am not sure why you would turn off the animal sounds, since then you are just randomly guessing what animal might appear (although that might be a little fun game). I did notice that when turning off the animal sounds, the animal still opens its mouth to make a sounds - a little glitch but probably not something a child would notice.
The graphics are nice, the animals are simple yet still easily recognizable. The animations are short and sweet - they don't distract from the program itself which is important. The animation at the end is nice, although I am not sure what purpose it really serves. It would be sort of cool to see all the animals say "Hooray" or something when you finish going through the list of animals.
This program is aimed at two to four year olds, but there are some ways to adapt the program for older kids. You can have them try to spell the animal name, or have them learn the Spanish word for the animal. While some of the animals (cat, dog, pig) are very good for early spellers, others animals (horse, goat) may be a little complicated to learn spelling. It would be nice to have more than ten animals, but it is probably hard to come up with more than ten farm animals. Perhaps a "Peek-a-boo Zoo" is in the works?
There are some features I would love to see added to this program. The ability to type in a name, or to have the animal word appear first (so the child has to read it) would be really cool. In addition, some sort of quiz or guessing game where the child has to choose the correct animal for the word (or the correct word for the animal) would be really cool. But that may go beyond the scope of this goals of this program.
Lastly, a minor complaint. The voice when using the English word is a "fun child's voice". But if you switch to Spanish, it sounds like some teacher who is reciting a Spanish word. The lack of a "fun child's voice" in Spanish takes a little bit away from the program. In the interest of full disclosure, I received a promo-code for this app to review it.
Pros: Nice graphics, easy to learn, fun interaction with your child
Cons: Limited options for older kids, additional features would enhance learning potential
All in all, this is a fun little program for young kids, and one that might be enjoyable for kids who are between 4 and 6 (tweaking the "game play" for older kids). The program appears very professional, and is well designed. Some additional features would really enhance the application, but they may be beyond the scope of the program since it has a low starting price of $1.99. There is a free version, so if you think it is something you (or your child) might be interested in, check it out. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.