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Tiggly Math Review: Interactive Numeracy and Problem Solving

Tiggly Math is a fun tool for teaching children early numeracy through mathematical problem solving. Today I’m sharing my review of this “smart” learning tool for kids that I was sent as a member of the 2016 Timberdoodle Blog Team (details at the end of this post).

Preschool and early grade school learning with Tiggly math

What is Tiggly, Anyway?

Tiggly sets come with BPA free, dishwasher safe educational manipulatives that are designed to be paired with an app. Most of the apps are available for both iPad and Android devices (including Kindle Fire tablets). I have noticed that the newest apps tend to come out on iPad first, so you have to wait a while to get them on Android. The ranges of apps that pair with these manipulatives help the toy to grow with your child.

Learning About Numbers with Tiggly Math

Tiggly Math is part of the Timberdoodle PreK curriculum, and it definitely engaged my preK four-year-old!

Tiggly Math review

There are three apps that you can download for free if you buy the Tiggly Math set:’

Cardtoons

This cute animated app uses storytelling to help kids understand numbers and counting. The length (number of units) of the Tiggly learning manipulative that is placed on the screen determines which number is used in the storytelling. Once the number is on the screen, animations show that many objects interacting with the virtual world in several different ways. This reminds me of how, back when I taught high school and Spanish and French, I would use a new word in several different contexts to cement it in my students’ minds. Numbers are their own language, so it makes sense to introduce them to young children this way.

Chef

This cooking-themed app helps kids work on their addition skills. Anna isn’t quite up to that level of mathematical thinking yet, so we haven’t played with it much. I do think she will enjoy it once she starts to really develop this skill.

Addventure

This number line and problem solving themed app is another one that Anna will grow into. I love that this is a toy that can keep her engaged for quite a while!

Tiggly in Action

I took a quick video so that you can see both Tiggly Words (review of that product coming next week) and Tiggly Math in action.

As you can tell, My third grader and second grader  also find this interactive app pretty engaging. At 7 and 8 years old, they are at the upper end of the age limits for this product. Since academic subjects (particularly math) come easily to both of them, I don’t feel like there is much that the apps for this product can teach them. Still, it says a lot about the apps that the production value is high enough to keep them engaged even when they already know the content that is being taught.

Pros of Tiggly Math

  • Highly engaging. I love the way storytelling is used across the apps for this product.
  • High quality math manipulatives. The pieces for this set are well made. We can use them as math learning manipulatives for off-screen learning as well as paired with our iPad. They work especially well for one-to-one correspondence activities.
  • Thoughtfully designed apps. It is clear that the creators of this product and the accompanying apps were thinking about how children learn math when they created this product. Mathematical concepts are taught in a fun and developmentally appropriate way.
  • The range of apps help this product grow with your child. I see Anna working her way through the apps for this product for at least two years; possibly longer.

Cons of Tiggly Math

  • I don’t know if we got a fiddly set, but you have to place the pieces quite firmly on the screen in order for the iPad to register them. That is the reason you see Lily placing pieces on the screen instead of Anna in the video. Anna did eventually figure out that she needed to be less gentle, but it took a while. I wish the pieces would register when placed gently on the screen. You can use the app without the manipulatives, so if your child finds the pieces frustrating it is easy to go without them.
  • Your child will likely outgrow this app by the end of second grade.

More Math Themed Fun for Preschoolers

Are you looking for more math activities for your preschool aged children? Try these:

Have your children played with Tiggly Math? How did they like it, and what did you think? What are your favorite ways to help your children develop their math skills? Leave a comment below, or drop a note on my Facebook page!

I received Tiggly Math as a member of the 2016 Timberdoodle Blog Team. I was given no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

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