Tiggly, a company that makes a line of “iPad toys” that combine real-world objects with virtual play in mobile applications, has now rolled out its latest product: a new game and real-world toy combination it’s calling “Tiggly Words.” The idea is that young children can place the provided letters on the screen as part of gameplay in order to build words, unlock other game content, and advance the story.
Tiggly Words, which includes a set of five vowel toys, is designed to work with three Tiggly-branded mobile applications, Tiggly Submarine, Tiggly Tales, and Tiggly Doctor. Each introduce their own gaming environment, characters and puzzles, but all involve placing the letters on the screen to move forward. These apps are able to identify if the child has chosen the correct letter because the Tiggly Toys have silicone touch points on them which the tablet reacts to, as it would your fingerprints.
The company claims that the combination of physical toys with the Tiggly Words apps helps kids learn spatial reasoning and motor skills while also improving their language and creativity. They also found in their research that children who played with their other product, Tiggly Math, for two weeks, showed increases in early number skills in up to 71 percent of kids.
That being said, my own daughter hasn’t seemed to be as interested in playing with Tiggly’s toys versus the other traditional games and apps that fill her iPad, despite the novelty. I sense that’s not because she finds the interaction of toys and apps confusing, but rather because the gameplay itself is not as engaging as it should be. In Submarine, for example, she was initially stumped as to how to get part of the game to work. The app didn’t offer helpful hints or prompts when it was clear she was stuck, and she thought for a moment the game was broken before I stepped in. Plus, after proceeding, the payoff for placing the right letter on the screen didn’t seem to impress her.
Of course, your mileage may vary. (Besides, my daughter is five and knows her alphabet and many sight words, so it could be that she simply didn’t feel very challenged by Tiggly Words.)
Tiggly Words is targeted at children 4 through 8, and like other Tiggly products, is a $30.00 kit that includes the toys, carrying case and three apps.
In addition to being sold online, Tiggly is now also partnering with Target and Best Buy Canada to bring its products to bring its products to 1,585 retail stores, the company notes.