updated 1/8/2013 9:52:15 AM ET 2013-01-08T14:52:15

What mother hasn't handed over her phone to her baby as a distraction during a car ride or at a restaurant? Now that distraction can be educational, as Fisher-Price has devised a sturdy carrying case that safely turns an iPhone into an engaging book for baby.

The company this week debuted its new The Laugh & Learn Apptivity Storybook Reader at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The reader offers an opportunity to put an old iPhone to good use. By downloading one of three free story apps onto an iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S, and then slipping the phone into a protective case, your old phone becomes an interactive storybook. In essence, it's baby's first e-reader.

Each time your child opens the case, the device reveals a new page, along with read-along audio and prompts. For instance, a page might include a request to "touch the puppy." With a poke, the puppy begins to bark. For early readers, the words are highlighted as the story is read. Users can also activate page turns by swiping the screen.

Fisher-Price offers three free apps for the reader. Each one is a collection of favorite nursery rhymes, such as "Hickory Dickory Dock" and "Pat-a-Cake," and will soon be available in the App Store. The $20 Storybook Reader is recommended for ages six months and up.

The company also had on hand several new playsets that make use of an iPad or iPad Mini, such as a Little People Farm and a medieval fortress. But even without a device inside, the playsets still entertain as little ones run their farm or defend their fortress with the included, sturdy play figures. Apptivity Barnyard and Fortress will be available later this spring.

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