Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tiggly...Take 2

Several months ago, I blogged about Tiggly Shapes and the associated apps.  I am happy to say that even after months of use, I am still as happy with them as can be.  More importantly, the kids who I work with are still happy and motivated by them.  For those of you unfamiliar with Tiggly Shapes, it is an interactive iPad app that allows you to use actual geometric shapes to enhance shape recognition and creativity.  For many of my kids, it has been a motivating to work on visual motor and visual perceptual skills.  I have been able to use the Tiggly apps in conjunction with other therapeutic activities to make sure that they are generalizing the concepts of shapes .

Just a couple of days ago, I was invited to test out Tiggly's newest product.  I was excited for many reasons but mostly because I have been searching for good early math apps to begin working on this with  my daughter.  Quinn is most definitely my hardest client and gives me more trouble than anyone else when I want to work on anything to get her prepared for school.  So when I told her about Tiggly Counts, I was thrilled to see how excited she was to learn about math.

Both of us were very excited when the box arrived on Saturday and wanted to get started immediately.  In short, Tiggly Counts is a iPad math toy created for children 3 and older that will begin teaching children about counting, number sense and math skills.  Using 5 counting rods (inspired by the cuisenaire rods typically used in Montessori schools), a child is able to interact with 3 different math apps and learn early math skills like counting and addition.   It can be adapted to work for a child's skill level.

Below you will find a description of each of each of the apps and what they will teach your child:

Tiggly Adventure:  cute little Tiggly is on an adventure to deliver apples to his grandmother.  You will need to use your counting toys to build bridges, ladders and much more in order to help him get to her.  Tiggly Addventure introduces children to number-line concepts while improving their number sense and counting skills.

Tiggly Cardtoons:  I love this app and have used it with some of my younger and more involved children.  It's simple yet totally interactive and easy to use so even those younger/more involved children can use it independently.  You place any one of the 5 counting rods on the iPad screen and the same number of dots will show up.  After you touch each dot, they start to move around and you have to catch them and place them in circles.  Once all of them are in place, two pieces of cardboard turn into a variety of things.  A juggling owl, a hungry shark or a truck filled with snakes are just a few of the fun things your child can create.
*great for working on visual motor, visual perceptual and visual tracking skills
*encourage a child to use their pointer finger when playing with the dots.  For those who need to work on grasping skills, you can use a stylus with this game.
*for early learners, a fun way to work on counting skills like one to one matching

Tiggly Chef: this has definitely been the favorite in my house and with the few kids I have tried it with.  Using the counting toys, you help the chef create some of the most fabulous and silly dishes!   Your job is to add the exact number of the ingredients the chef asks for.  You can use the exact counting rod (this is what I have been doing with my daughter) or you can use several counting blocks to add up to the correct number.  There are different levels and with each one comes different challenges.  This helps keep it fresh and exciting for older children.

In addition to all of the skills mentioned above, Tiggly Counts can work on improving focus and attentional skills and improving frustration tolerance.  When working with older children, you can focus on improving executive functioning skills such as organizational skills.  For my speech therapist colleagues, there are tons of opportunities to work on language skills when using all of the apps.

As I am getting to know the new apps, I have only used Tiggly Counts 1:1 with the kids but look forward to trying this with a small group of kids to work on social skills at the same time.  I think that all of the apps lend themselves to working as a team or in a small group.  For example, each child can take a turn putting ingredients in while playing Tiggly Chef.  Math can be a frustrating thing for many kids and watching and working with their peers is almost always more beneficial than it being led by a grownup.

Tiggly Counts is available for pre-order until October 21st.  If you order before then, there is a 25% discount and free shipping.  For any of my therapist/educator colleagues who use the iPad with kids, this is a great addition (no pun intended) to your bag of tricks.  I have already tested it out with some of my kids and it's been a huge success.  I have even gotten my kids to lie in the net swing while playing with it so we have been able to work on building upper body strength at the same time.  For educators and parents, this is a highly motivating system to work on math skills.  If you have a hard time getting your kids to sit down and do work with you, I guarantee this is something your children will not only enjoy but will ask to play!

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