This week T and I have been testing out a new toy/app combo called Tiggly, which launches on QVC on 24th July at 9am. It cleverly uses chunky, brightly coloured objects that are recognised by your tablet (iPad, Kindle or Android tablet) to bring a set of educational apps to life and enhance the learning experience for children aged roughly 2-8. They are recommended by Fundamentally Children (see their views here) which is always a good sign. There are three sets, Tiggly Math, Shapes and Words, and each set interacts with 3 downloadable apps.
I was intrigued to see how T (now aged 4) would get on with the games as he does tend to prefer physical games to computer games (unlike his screen addicted older brother!) and it seemed like this type of approach might bridge the gap.
Tiggly Math – Ages 3-7
Tiggly Math combines basic maths skills with creative problem solving. It comes with 5 pieces laid out as rows of hollow blocks from 1-5. T immediately grabbed them, turning them over and round, arranging them in order and noting that they stuck together (‘look mum, I’ve made seven’) and couldn’t wait to get started. The three apps were:
- Tiggly Chef – as a chef you get to put together recipes using different numbers of ingredients. The problems get more complex through the game with addition up to 20.
- Tiggly Cardtoons – The most basic of the three, this app focuses on counting to five in the context of silly stories.
- Tiggly Addventure – A more complex app using the concepts of number lines and ‘skip counting’. T found this one much more challenging and needed a bit of help to figure out how it worked
T enjoyed all the games but was most comfortable with the ‘mid-level’ chef app which I guess demonstrates that the stated age range is about right and he has room to develop.
Tiggly Shapes (Ages 2-5)
Tiggly Shapes comes with four shapes, circle, triangle, star and square. They are bigger and easier to manipulate than the number blocks, perfect for preschoolers. Again there are three apps:
- Tiggly Stamp – Shapes become your own creations and take part in stories.
- Tiggly Safari – Similarly here, the shapes become familiar animals and objects.
- Tiggly Draw – T’s favourite of the shape set, with this app you use the shapes to make creatures by adding features.
T enjoyed these apps too but they are obviously a bit less of a challenge than the maths games so again I’d say the age range stated is about right and I’ll look forward to using these more with V when she’s a bit older.
Tiggly Words (Ages 4-8)
Tiggly Words comes with a set of colourful vowels so I was interested to see whether the apps would be able to challenge E (who at 7 is a pretty strong speller) as well as providing something appropriate for T (who is still at the stage of learning phonic sounds and starting to read CVC words). The three apps were:
- Tiggly Tales – Perfect for T, this app focuses of short vowel sounds in recognisable CVC words and makes little stories by changing the vowel sound.
- Tiggly Submarine – Still focusing on vowel sounds but a step up in complexity this app introduces more games and encouraged T to sound out words.
- Tiggly Doctor – This app uses verbs to ‘cure’ your patients and was a bit too much of a stretch for T at the moment but E was happy to take over and practice some really quite complicated spellings.
I think Tiggly words is probably the set with the greatest breadth of level and T will definitely be able to keep using it and getting more out of it over time.
Enjoyment – Both the boys were really taken with the novelty of using physical toys with the iPad. Tiggly Math was probably the most ‘fun’ for both of them.
Education – At 7 E is really at the upper age limit for the toys so while that didn’t stop him enjoying them there wasn’t much educational value left in them for him with the exception of Tiggly Doctor. T however got lots out of both Tiggly Math and Words and I can see there is further for him to go with them. Tiggly Shapes would be perfect for children still getting comfortable with talking about shapes but was a bit basic for my two.
Longevity – The pieces are very well made and because they are also relatively simple the should last well. I think as long as you’ve bought the sets at the right age you should get at least a couple of years play out of them and then be able to pass them on to younger siblings.
Age – I think the stated ages are about right but you obviously want to buy at the earlier age to get the most out of the sets so I’d suggest starting at 2-3 for shapes, 4-6 for words and 3-5 for math.
Cost – The sets retail at £25 on Amazon and you then download the apps for free. Not a cheap toy obviously so I’d suggest starting with one set to see if your child engages with this type of learning. If they do I think there is plenty of breadth in the games to justify the cost.
The novelty factor of using a physical toy with a tablet hooked the boys in and then the charming graphics and fun games held their attention. Tiggly Words and Math particularly will be used here for a long time. A good investment by for kids at the right age.
You can also see how some fellow bloggers found Tiggly:
[Note: I was sent the Tiggly toys for the purpose of this review. This post contains affiliate links]