Bottom Line: From new early-learning company Tiggly comes interactive shape recognition apps Tiggly Safari, Tiggly Draw, and Tiggly Stamp. They are all offered for use with Tiggly Shapes ($29.99) but they work fine without. These shapes are completely interactive and will delight the player time and time again. From simple one-shape recognition to more complex fine motor activities, the learning and fun gained from all three apps will not only teach shapes but inspire visual connections to a child's world.
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The apps can be used with or without the shapes. The shapes can be purchased from the Tiggly Website for $29.99. The shapes will allow the user to do more with each app.
These apps, and the Tiggly Shapes, align with everything I believe the iPad should be. The activities are interactive and allow for a multitude of extension activities. I was extremely impressed that I was able to engage all three of my children (ages 17 months to 8 years), with very little effort. They each excitedly picked up the shapes, which are soft and pleasing to touch, but sturdy enough that even my most active chewer couldn't destroy them. From a palmed grasp to a mature pincer — each child was able to maneuver these shapes easily.
The four handheld shapes from Tiggly retail for $29.99 and are available from the Tiggly website. (http://tiggly.com/#products).
We opened Tiggly Safari and excitedly began our adventure. The first level is a farm, where the player is asked to match the shape shown on the screen. Once the proper shape is placed on the iPad, confirmation is given by naming said shape and showing the word on the screen. Then the shape is creatively turned into a farm animal. My toddler giggled and worked hard to use the shapes I provided her with, and my four year old could not wait to see what the next animal would be, as she knows all of her shapes. Perhaps the most interesting connections I saw were with my eight year old, who is developmentally delayed and on the autism spectrum. It was like the light bulb went on as she realized that these basic shapes could help her draw just about anything she wanted. I realize that Tiggly is gearing this app and their products to the toddler and preschool set, but I can attest to the fact that the learning that took place in my house, for all three of my children, was nothing short of amazing.
Start your Tiggly Safari at the farm by making simple one-shape animals which then turn into more complex two-shaped animals. Each animal is labeled and makes the appropriate noises, which was a lot of fun for the kids. As the various levels are completed, kids are cheered on by encouraging clapping noises. This amused my toddler as we both clapped along with the "audience" and she was encouraged to keep going. Positive noises were made when the correct shape was placed down. Conversely, when the wrong shape was placed down, words of encouragement could be heard instead of large "X's" or demeaning language.
Once we completed the farm level, we moved to the jungle. More complex animals were created with two, three or four shapes. Instead of the entire shape being shown on the screen, a dotted outline appeared. The animals are absolutely adorable and the same learning takes place. In the final scene, the child travels under the sea, where he/she must now use fine motor skills to chase the shape around the screen. I was disappointed that the difficulty in skill requirements did not extend beyond this level.
If Tiggly Shapes provided the ability to track individual player's accomplishments or if it was able to personalize levels based on the individual's abilities and mastered skills - I would have surely given them five stars. However, each player must play through each level every time, which may eventually become slightly mundane.
In addition, I do think the $29.99 price point for the shapes is high, as it's a lot of money for four plastic shapes. However I must say, once I delved into the three free apps that come along with the shapes, I was totally satisfied! In addition to Tiggly Safari, children and adults will delight in the animated creativity of Tiggly Draw, and possibilities of Tiggly Stamp.
Tiggly Draw uses the shapes to create the bases for different characters. Then the artist may add eyes, mouth or mouths, nose or noses, headpieces and legs, fins or wings. Each part moves and provides endless enjoyment. Press the star to see your character come to life, or press the camera and save it for future adventures. This is a fun adventure, but I would have loved to have been able to hear labels for what I was adding or created more complex characters and add text to label them.
The final of the three apps, Tiggly Stamp is also a lot of fun. The child may choose from two different scenes: a springtime meadow or a snowy hill. Each stamp creates a different object or character and the little artist makes the scene look however he or she wants. In the app, I had trouble with the fact that I never knew what the stamp was going to make, but this didn't seem to bother the kids. They just dragged the items they didn't want to the trash. The player can record narration or songs along with the scene. I could see this as a perfect gateway for a creative writing activity and would love to see that as an added option. This app definitely provides the ability for extension activities, fore example: The adult could stamp four or five random pictures and then ask the child to tell a story that incorporates all while recording it. The possibilities are numerous.
Amanda has used the Tiggly Shapes with her own three kids, and is delighted by how well they work. It should also be noted that when the one-year old has Tiggly Shapes in her hands, she cannot continuously push the home screen!