The Numtums: SwipeTum

Released26th October 2012

Code - Richard Davey

Graphics - Plugin Media (Flash original)

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CBeebies is the brand under which the BBC release TV programmes aimed at children aged 6 and under, so from baby and toddlers to pre-school. Supporting the TV shows are a wide range of activities and games on the main web site. But like many organisations they identified the need to offer content to the increasing numbers of visitors hitting the site from mobile and tablet devices.

Working closely with the CBeebies team they selected three popular Flash games from the main site that we rebuilt in HTML5 for the mobile audience. The games included two titles based on The Numtums show: Poppedy Pop and SwipeTum, and one from the Andy’s Wild Adventures series called Run Sengi Run.

The Numtums – SwipeTum

The SwipeTum game uses the same counting mechanic found in the TV show. This time the child can swipe away the slime, glitter and sand to reveal a Numtum character below, who giggles madly as you swipe. Once fully clear they’ll jump and dance with joy, reinforcing the number and progressing to the next one.

Plugin Media built and designed the original Flash versions on which these variations are based. If you’ve a young child who hasn’t yet experienced the Numtums then I’d highly suggest you let them play the original versions too.

Children use touch devices naturally

We all learnt a lot about how children interact with mobile devices during the build and testing of these games. Identifying sensible placements for icons, distance from browser navigation bars and target sizes and speeds. We also learnt that most young children will swipe a character rather than just touch it – for example pushing the sengi to make it run, or pushing the balloon to launch it into the air. And if they do just touch it it’s often multiple times in rapid succession. These and more are all things you have to account for in your design. Each game was built with graphics in two sizes: 1024 x 672 “HD” for those browsing from tablets such as the iPad and 480 x 320 “SD” for mobiles. The games are also subtly different depending on the size, as the team observed children interacting differently based on the device they were using.

It’s great to see the games live and hopefully young children will enjoy them as much as mine did during development, although I now own protectors and drop-proof cases for all of my mobile devices! We look forward to working with the CBeebies team on the next round of games.

To play them point your mobile/tablet browser to (visits from a desktop redirect you to the non-mobile version).

How to play our HTML5 games

While all of our games work in both mobile and desktop browsers a lot of the sites they are embedded in are mobile only.

To get around this either make sure you play our game using a mobile web browser or install a User Agent spoofing extension. We recommend the User-Agent Switcher for Chrome.

If you run into problems playing one of our games please contact us, we'll be only too happy to help.

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