Hello Baby! Baby Touch: Peekaboo app

Editor Nicola talks us through the new Ladybird Baby Touch: Peekaboo App.

Many of you will be familiar with our gorgeous, award-winning Baby Touch books that have been captivating little Ladybirds since 2005. As the editor on the series, Baby Touch books and I go BT_Books back a long way. If you need to know in which book to find a smiley flower, or where to find the cat with the softest tummy, I’m your girl.

Something I didn’t know, however, was how to go about turning a successful baby series into an interactive app for the iPad and iPhone. Baby Touch is all about the multi-sensory experience of touching different textures. So how could we successfully translate this experience to a flat screen?

One of the best things about the digital publishing revolution at Ladybird is the opportunity for editors and designers who look after a particular series to also take on the development of the apps. It’s a steep learning curve, but a fun one. So, armed with some large bits of paper to scribble on (because some things never change) we came up with a storyboard and script. All that was left was for our amazing digital development team to work their magic and bring it to life.

The result is Ladybird Baby Touch: Peekaboo. It works as a simple, interactive game of peekaboo in four themed sequences, in which a touch of the screen reveals the hiding characters each time.

This simple functionality is great for babies of six months and older, who can focus and concentrate on moving objects, and reach for things they see. Babies learn by active touch, and by touching the screen (or being directed with their hand in an adult’s) they experience something interesting each time that rewards this interaction – seeing the picture change, or hearing an animal or vehicle noise.

As in the books, the bright contrasting colours and patterns help to stimulate developing eyesight, while the animations are just the right pace to capture and hold a baby’s attention.
There’s also the choice of a friendly voiceover that reads along with the on-screen text. For older babies this helps to develop first language skills as they start to link the spoken words to the pictures they see.

And for parents who’d perhaps like a few minutes’ peace, you can also choose to run the four sequences as one longer movie without pauses.

We’ve had a few baby testers on board and the app has been going down brilliantly with them. Here are some pictures of baby Noah who is totally absorbed and clearly enjoying trying out Baby Touch: Peekaboo on the iPad. You can see how intuitively even the youngest children use this technology.

Baby watching

Baby action shot

Baby with mum

And back in the office, even my esteemed colleagues are hooked: they hum along to the music, frantically tap the screen to see the starburst pattern you get each time it’s touched, wave merrily to the onscreen babies and wriggle with delight every time the penguin dives off the iceberg.

If their reactions are anything to go by, I think it’s turned out rather nicely. I hope your little ones agree!

Visit iTunes to download the app for your iPhone or iPad or iPod Touch

Read Ladybird tips on reading with your baby


Read on to WIN one of five  Baby Touch: Peekabook apps.

Would you like to try out the app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch? Just leave your name and the age of your baby as a comment to this post and we'll pop your details  into our prize draw bag. If your name is picked out, we will email you a gift code to enable you to download the app.  Good luck.

Leave your comment by midnight Sunday 16th January 2011. Winners will be selected on Monday 17th January 2011 and notified by Tuesday 18th January 2011.

26 thoughts on “Hello Baby! Baby Touch: Peekaboo app

  1. Emma, London says:

    Any plans to develop for Android? Aren’t Ladybird interested in all parents rather than the upper-middle who can afford Apple products?

  2. Emily M says:

    My daughter loves her baby touch books and I think she would love interacting with this app! She is always trying to get her hands on the ipad and the ipod touch (basically anything her Daddy doesn’t want her to touch!!) so she would love this. She is 14 months (going on 14 years!)

  3. Vanessa says:

    As a primary school literacy coordinator and now mother to 4 month old baby girl, I am intrigued so woul love to try a copy of the app for my iPhone.

  4. Thank you for all your comments. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the app.
    With regards developing for Android phones, we would love to roll out our apps onto other platforms and will let you know as soon as there are any updates on this.

  5. Nina Monk says:

    My 15 month old loves this series of books. He was first given one at around 5-6 months and all these months later he still gets great enjoyment from them. Would love to try an app – would be a handy distraction when out and about!

  6. When I saw this in the iTunes store, I was excited. My son was only 13 wks old at the time, but it took just a few days before he learned that touching the iPad screen would make the sheep bounce, the trains run, the helicopter fly off screen. He’s now 4 months old and we do one of the 4 “stories” each morning. The stories are just the right
    length, the images & animations simple enough. His favorite is the farm, followed by the vehicles. Under the sea is so-so; jungle barely interests him. This, too, might change as he grows with the app. Well worth every penny, this. I do hope they make more.

  7. wow another great application on ipod touch. I wonder if my baby girl would find it interesting. Can i ask where can i get that application? because im interested to try it for my baby girl. Thanks in advance

  8. Unfortunately, my 2 daughters are too old for this 😦
    But, my neice who I look after 2 days a week is going to love it 🙂
    What an ingenious idea – I’m off to iTunes now to check it out and can’t wait to see what she thinks of it tomorrow!

  9. Saj Choudhary says:

    Hi Nicola,
    A bit of a techie question here:
    What programme have you used to develop the peekaboo apps?
    (question from a Dad, who’s 11 months old daughter loves the peekaboo apps – and Dad is a bit of a tech geek, hence the question)

  10. Dear Saj
    We’ve asked the programmer on the Ladybird Digital team to answer this one. See below. Hope this is of interest.
    The Babytouch apps use an XML based animation engine that we custom wrote for this project.
    The XML parser and animation engine is written in objective-c within Xcode (The Apple Software Development Kit). This handles displaying thing to
    screen, playing audio and reacting to touch events.
    The XML script for the animation controls what moves where and when, this was all written long hand (the hard way!) There are products coming online
    (Edge, Hype) that aid construction of this type of animation, but they weren’t available when developing this so we used photoshop, excel and a lot
    of patience.
    Here’s a sample of the xml. This would make the image move on screen from the left over one second, whilst playing the audio file.
    Each of the apps consist of around a thousand similar entries.

  11. Saj Choudhary says:

    Thanks for your reply.
    Much appreciated.
    I’m very new to the techy side of the iPhones, which is why I was curious.
    All the best 🙂

  12. Zoe Kenyon says:

    Hi there – I hope you still check these messages?! I’m editing a new magazine for families (www.tribemag.co.uk for now but will also be available in magazine format from the summer). I’d like to include a page of the best apps for children every month and saw the Baby Touch: Peekaboo app at the weekend (a friend’s baby was playing with it). It’s great – I’m just gutted it wasn’t around when my children were babies! My question was, if I want to include it in our editorial, how do I go about getting an image of it from you? Ideally we’d have the app image and possibly a screenshot too?
    Thanks for your help

  13. I think she would love interacting with this app! She is always trying to get her hands on the ipad and the ipod touch (basically anything her Daddy doesn’t want her to touch!!) so she would love this. She is 14 months (going on 14 years!)

  14. ! She is always trying to get her hands on the ipad and the ipod touch (basically anything her Daddy doesn’t want her to touch!!) so she would love this. She is 14 months (going on 14 years!) e urdu point

  15. Since technology is rapidly developing its base in the hearts of the individuals now its the turn of it to impress the baby child too. The Peekaboo app is now the gift for the child. The launched app has very beneficial points and games through which the baby can understand and feel the movement of the features installed in it. Babies will simply love it for their attraction and visuals part too.

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