True Life Stories: Peekaboo Barn

Night & Day Studios' Sara Berliner on Peekaboo Barn.

On a delayed flight I ran out of activities (stickers, wind-up toys, scribbling, face-making) for my then 14-month-old an hour before landing. She was cranky, hadn’t napped, and was losing patience with the beverage carts that impeded her aisle walking, itself a challenge as she was a couple weeks from ambling unassisted. 

You’d think as a maker of apps for children this would have been obvious, but suddenly I realized I had a bit of magic in my bag: Peekaboo Barn. Sure, from an early age my daughter had FaceTimed with her grandparents and figured out how to flip through photos as soon as she could grab my phone off a table. But I had never let her play with an app. If there was ever a time to deploy the “nuclear option”, it was now.

Dear reader: it was exactly as foretold. In an instant the recorded voice, the music, and the graphics captured her attention and she ceased crying. She instinctively touched the screen and the barn doors parted. She giggled and looked up at me, asking with her eyes if I also saw the silly doggy wagging its tail and barking. She played it through, sometimes in her excitement forgetting how to progress to the next screen, but always looking up to see if I was as astounded as she. Indeed I was.

Eventually she tired of it, but it had calmed her enough to fall asleep in my arms. And that’s the real magic.