Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Review - Tiggly smart learning toys - Tiggly Math and Tiggly Words

Tiggly is a set of physical smart toys that interact with a series of learning apps. The system combines physical and digital play, and will be launched in the UK on QVC on July 24th, 2015.

Ahead of the UK launch we were sent two Tiggly products to try out - Tiggly Words and Tiggly Math. There is also a third Tiggly set available which is aimed at slightly younger children - Tiggly Shapes.

Tiggly Words and Tiggly Math review

Each set comes with five plastic smart shapes which are used to interact with the apps. Tiggly Words comes with a set of five vowels, and Tiggly Math comes with five number rods. The shapes are sturdy plastic, and the app was very responsive to them. You then just need to download the apps to your tablet, and it's a very simple process.

Tiggly learning system smart pieces

Tiggly Math


Mia and I started playing together with Tiggly Math. There are three apps available - Tiggly Addventure, Tiggly Chef and Tiggly Cardtoons and the set is aimed at children aged 3-7 years. We first spent a couple of minutes looking at the number rods and counting the holes, then we started with the games.

Tiggly Chef - Tiggly Chef was the first game that we tried and her favourite. You need to make meals by collecting a certain number of ingredients as they appear on the screen. Different combinations of numbers and ingredient appear in turn, and when you find spot the ingredients that you need, for example three tomatoes, you touch the appropriate number rod against the screen to add it to the saucepan. In this case you would use the number three rod, or you could also use the number two and then the number one rod in turn. The game starts off very simply with only up to five ingredients at a time, then as you progress through the rounds you need to use more than one number rod and add them together, to collect, for example, seven mushrooms. By the third round children are adding numbers up to twenty, and you can use any combination of the rods to make the total.

I've not done a lot of maths with Mia, and so she needed help, particularly when it came to understanding how to add the rods together to make the larger numbers. What surprised me though was how quickly she picked up what she needed to do. We'd only been playing it for a short while and she was already getting pretty confident at learning how the smaller numbers added up. I can see that once she's been playing it for a bit longer it's really going to get her going with some basic maths skills. Each meal is completed quickly, and she loved seeing the finished product once all her ingredients had been added, it was a perfect game for her short attention span.

Child using the Tiggly app


Tiggly Cardtoons - Then we moved on to Tiggly Cardtoons. You touch one of the number rods on the screen and the same number of coins will appear. You can count them and move them around, then the corresponding number of pieces of cardboard will arrange themselves into a little animated scene which Mia loved watching. This app was a little too simple for Mia as it is aimed more at younger children, but it would be perfect for children that are just getting started with learning to count.  

Tiggly Adventure - Finally we tried out Tiggly Adventure. In this game you need to help the Tiggly character on an adventure by building bridges and ladders to help him negotiate his way around obstacles. This game teaches the concepts of horizontal and vertical number lines, and also introduces skip counting. Again Mia did need help at the beginning, but she picked up the skills very quickly which I was impressed with, particularly the skip counting which is another concept that she's not had any introduction to. 

Tiggly Words


Next it was time to try out the second product - Tiggly Words. Tiggly Words is aimed at children aged 4-8 years old, so having just turned four Mia is very much at the beginning stage. Although she can recognise a few letters, she hasn't yet learned about putting them together to make words. Harry on the other hand is a confident reader. Again, there are three apps available - Tiggly Submarine, Tiggly Doctor and Tiggly Tales.

Child using Tiggly Words

Tiggly Tales - This was a very good basic game to start with. On the screen you have two consonants, and you can use your vowel shape to make CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. Of course not every combination makes a word, and in that case your 'word' will ping away, but every time a real word is made a picture will appear on screen and these elements will then interact with each other. You can touch the top of the screen to easily change your consonants and then experiment with the different vowels. It's a lot of fun even if they don't really understand yet what they are doing, and it's a great introduction to the sounds that different letters make.

Tiggly Doctor - Both children very much enjoyed playing Tiggly Doctor. You need to treat different patients by carrying out various procedures which are spelled out on screen, for example 'check' and 'cut', with the child needing to select a matching vowel to complete the word. Mia wasn't able to read the words, but she could easily find the matching letter and over time she'll understand more about what she's doing. It was lovely watching her play the game with Harry because he was reading the words out to her and they were learning together.

Tiggly Submarine - The final game, Tiggly Submarine, was a little more complex to get started with and I needed to help show both children what to do. You pilot a submarine around the ocean and use your letters to carry out different tasks, for example rescuing trapped animals and learning about sea animal sounds. They still need to have a good go at this game, but it looks like a lot of fun.

Children playing with Tiggly

I was really impressed with the Tiggly learning games, both by how long they held their attention, and by how quickly Mia in particular was picking up new concepts. Harry was quite happy to play these games by himself but Mia still needed a lot of help and to be honest that is how I'd prefer her to play these games, because then I can talk it all through with her while she is still learning. I really like that there is a range of apps for each set of shapes, and they are so different that they are suited to the interests of different children and their stages of development.

You can see a great unboxing video along with a chance to see the games in action over at Emma & 3 and Being Mrs C has taken a detailed look at all three Tiggly products.

Child cuddling Tiggly plush

We received Tiggly Words, Tiggly Math and a Tiggly plush toy in exchange for this review and the giveaway. Amazon links are affiliate. Each product contains the learning shapes along with the instructions to download the apps, and they retail for £24.99 each.

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