Review: Tiggly Shapes – Educational Toys for Tablets

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As we all know, it’s difficult to find toys and apps that are educational for our kids. Tiggly has a line of educational toys and games for kids, and I recently took Tiggly Shapes for a spin with my two-year-old.

Tiggly-shapesTiggly Shapes, like all of the Tiggly line, includes several toys and a code to download a few free apps. Tiggly Shapes comes with four toys–a red square, yellow triangle, green circle, and blue star–and three apps–Tiggly Safari, Tiggly Draw, and Tiggly Stamp. Although each app can be purchased and played without the toys, a lot of the value in shape recognition, pattern matching, and motor control would be lost without the toys. Tiggly Shapes and the games are available for iPad, Kindle Fire HD, and Android Tablets.

Tiggly-unlockTo start using an app with the toys, you need to “unlock” it by verifying you have the toys handy. My son did the unlocking for me and was very pleased with himself when he easily got the shapes correct.

Tiggly-drawWe started out with Tiggly Draw. Of the three games, this one seemed the most basic. You can use the toys to draw shapes and then can add flair, like eyes, noses, and hats,  to your drawings. Many of the extra features you add to your drawing animate and make noises, which got plenty of giggles from my son.

Tiggly-stamp2We then moved on to Tiggly Stamp. This game has several themed screens, and, when a shape toy is placed, it transforms into an appropriately themed item–a triangle becomes an ornament for a tree in the winter-themed setting. Tiggly Stamp wasn’t a great fit for us. Playing with the shapes didn’t provide my son with enough challenge at his age (27 months) but he isn’t old enough yet to get the abilities to record and tell stories with the characters and items you create. We’ll have to come back to this one when he’s older.

We wrapped up with Tiggly Safari which, of course, happened to be his favorite. You pick a scene–farm, jungle, or ocean–and the game prompts you for different shapes that build a hidden animal. At the same time, the animal is making its signature noise (like an oink for the pig) so your child can guess what the animal will be before completing it. My son is an animal aficionado so he loved making all the animals and the animations and sounds they made. Each scene does get progressively more difficult, starting from basic shapes before progressing to different orientations of shapes (like a diamond made from the square) and trying to match a moving shape. My son successfully made it through the whole game on the first play-through.

My son would probably rate Tiggly Shapes with five stars. He woke up this morning and the first thing he said was, “I can play my shapes?” He even wanted to take one of the shapes with us when we went to run errands. (We don’t bring the iPad with us and let him use it alone in the car.)

I have mixed feelings about Tiggly Shapes, though. Although I think there is a lot of benefit to be had from learning the shapes, learning animals, developing hand-eye coordination, etc., I think my son is probably past learning much from the toys or game at this point. The age on the box is two to four years, but I feel like we would have gotten a lot more out of it about eight or twelve months ago. Obviously every child is different and learns different things at different rates, but I would suggest trying it out at maybe 18 months to see if your child is ready to start learning from it.

Some final notes: the games can be switched between eight different languages, so we may even give it another go in another language to see how that works out. Also, because the toys are just touch based, they require no batteries, Bluetooth, or Wi-fi connection. That’s a big plus for me!

On the bright side, we also got a copy of Tiggly Words, the latest from Tiggly. The box says four to eight, but I’m going to give it a try to see how my son does with it. I’ll be posting a review of Tiggly Words sometime later this week.

Note: I was given a review copy of Tiggly Shapes but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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