About two years ago a company called Tiggly launched what they described as the very first interactive tablet learning toy for pre-schoolers. It wasn’t a smooth road to launch – their Kickstarter campaign in the Autumn of 2012 had failed to make its target. But they didn’t let that little setback stop them, and successfully managed to take Tiggly Shapes into production and onto the shelves of the Apple Store.
That failed Kickstarter campaign is one I will always remember, because it was the first project I ever backed on that platform. I was excited to see someone blending a physical toy with an iPad app, and I was convinced it had huge potential. I was very disappointed when the Kickstarter failed, but I kept in touch with the Tiggly team, and was delighted to see the idea make it to release after all. They sent me a set of their Tiggly Shapes to review, and you can listen to what I thought of them in my audio blog about the product here.
In the two years that have passed since launch, Tiggly has gone from strength to strength. About a year ago their second product, Tiggly Math, was launched, and earlier this year the third addition to the family, Tiggly Words, hit the shelves. Tiggly now have a trio of products which support the early learning journey through numeracy and literacy, and are suitable for two to eight year olds.
Each Tiggly box comes with 5 (4 in the case of Shapes) beautifully made, rubberised play pieces. These are amazingly tactile, and I’m sure would stand up to even the roughest of pre-schoolers. Then you get access to 3 different apps in the relevant App Store specially designed to work with that particular set’s play pieces. So that’s 9 apps in all across the three sets. Just as a word of caution here – these learning systems basically encourage your child to bash plastic objects onto the screen of your tablet. Whilst they are extremely carefully designed to be non-damaging, I still prefer to be able to keep an eye on my kids when they’re playing with them, just to make sure they don’t get too rough!
When I started this post I was intending for it to be a review of both Tiggly Math and Tiggly Words, but as I’ve been writing it, it’s become clear that I have far more to say about these learning systems than I could possibly cover in a single blog post. So I’m leaving this post as a general introduction to the products, and I’ll be writing more detailed reviews of each system in the near future. For now I just wanted to let you know that, although they’ve been available in Apple Stores in the UK since launch, the Tiggly learning systems are becoming more widely available. They can now be ordered through both Amazon and QVC. I’m really pleased to see these excellent products becoming easier to get hold of, as I think they work really well at making learning fun. The physical toys make it easier for younger kids to interact with the screen, and at the same time they’re gaining a real educational benefit.
You can order Tiggly Shapes (affiliate link), Tiggly Math (affiliate link) and Tiggly Words (affiliate link) from Amazon for £24.99 each, and Shapes and Math are also available from QVC at a retail price of £22.50. If you’re quick those they are part of the QVC “Christmas in July” promotion, and you can currently grab them for just £19.98 each, which is an excellent price. Tiggly Shapes and Tiggly Math are compatible with all generations of iPad with the exception of the original iPad, and also what Tiggly call “leading Android devices” – Samsung, Kindle and Kurio. Tiggly Words is currently only available on iPad, and again that’s all generations apart from the original iPad. Watch out for my reviews of Tiggly Math and Tiggly Words coming in the next couple of weeks.
Disclosure: I was sent Tiggly Math and Tiggly Words for review purposes. All words and opinions are my own. The Amazon product links in this post contain my affiliate details – if you make a purchase after clicking I will receive a small commission payment at no additional cost to you.