“One, two, three, four…five!” My 5-year old brother jumps for joy impressed with his counting skills. Tiggly has made a breakthrough by introducing fun toys to accompany learning with their fabulous apps such as Tiggly Chef and Cardtoons.
Before introducing the apps, I gave Kevin the opportunity to get familiar with the Tiggly counting toys. When I asked him what purpose they served, he seemed puzzled. “What can we use them for?” My brother’s obvious response was, “playing!” I continued: “What kind of game can we play with these?” Unsure what game, he begins to touch them and sticks his tiny fingers in each of the holes. Then he connects them and realizes that they’re magnetic. “Wow! Look at what I can do!” he’s enthusiastic. Finally, I introduced the Cardtoons app and gave a brief introduction to how he could “use the toys to play the game.”
Kevin listened to the narrator’s directions to begin: “place one of your counting toys on the screen;” but instead of doing so, he touches the screen with his pointer finger. I stare at him for a while and wait for him to make the connection: Look at the counting toys. Pick one up! I think to myself. After about 20 seconds, he decides to take the green counting toy (because it’s his favorite color) and the excitement begins.
I was completely impressed with what he did. Not only was he able to get the game going but he actually started using the counting toys! Watching him breeze through the game, I proceeded to introduce Tiggly Chef – a creative and simple addition app. During the gameplay, I could see him struggling to find out which toy would best match the 4 chocolate squares. He chose the green toy which would only represent 3 chocolate squares. “I need one more. How can I make this smaller?” To give him a little assistance I gave him the yellow and red toys. “Which one of these counting toys has one hole?” As he counted, I pondered over how reliant the game was on these toys – this wouldn’t be the first time I witnessed so much active participation. Each level grew increasingly difficult causing the player to count higher amounts, therefore, using the higher valued toys in conjunction with other toys to create a simple addition sentence (i.e. 5 + 2 = 7). Before I knew it, Kevin had been introduced to the concept of addition as well as new vocabulary words (the names of some vegetables). More importantly, he was thoroughly enjoying the game without realizing he was learning. After success with the first round, Kevin was rewarded with a tiny animation of his product. “It looks delicious no?” the Chef asks, to which my brother responds while pressing the record button “Yes Chef! It was yummy!”
While watching the silly animations, I could see Kevin grasping the green counting toy tightly but eager to try out another way to use it. Most games on the iPad and on tablets have you doing the same gesture over and over again whether it be “swiping left” or “tap the green icon,” to fulfill a goal. With the addition of toys and manipulatives, the brain is now tasked with applying critical thinking skills and even challenges the player to use those toys to achieve an objective.
Key: Active Participation
The toys serve as a means to a specific goal. Youngsters today, exposed to the iPad (practically since birth) are now more involved with screen time than ever before. Providing fun silicon manipulatives such as Tiggly counting toys adds a new element to the screen experience. Preschoolers get the benefit of improving their fine motor skills while fostering critical thinking as they devise ways to use them to play each Tiggly game. I have to agree with Forbes when they said that “[Tiggly] understand[s] the future of tablet learning more than most of the other educational developers out there.”
For a quick and detailed synopsis of the Tiggly math apps, check out this video:
For more information on Tiggly visit their website here
Written by Jess Morales