Tiggly Shapes Gives Kids a New Way to Play on the iPad

*This review was written in partnership with Team Mom. Opinions are my own.

My son loves playing with my iPad2.  Even though he's just turned 4, he is always trying to play games that the big boys download on it, and he gets frustrated when the games are too complicated to win.  We recently tried Tiggly's new set of shapes that interact with the iPad through their own free apps, and my son was pretty happy with his game-play experience. (Note: This product is compatible with all generations of the iPad and iPad mini.)  

The shapes are sturdy, with rounded edges and rubber "feet" (little pads) that come in contact with the iPad screen.  When the game prompts the player to use a shape, the child can pick the correct shape and place it gently on the screen.  Feedback is immediate, making it fun for kids to play.
Each set of Tiggly Shapes also comes with a felt carrying pouch for storage. It is recommended for kids ages 18 months - 4 years, but my already 4-year-old son loved it and would probably like it past age 5.

There were a few pointers with using the shapes that I wish I had discovered earlier. First, you will want to make sure that both the screen and the shapes are clean and free from debris.  My son dropped one of the shapes on the floor, and a few little crumbs stuck to the rubber "feet".  These tiny crumbs kept the shape from maintaining contact with the screen, so the shape wouldn't register when my son placed it.  He then got frustrated and began slamming the shape against the screen.  (Not good.)  Be sure the shapes are clean before using.

Also, if you have a screen protector, the shapes might not be as responsive. If you find that they aren't "registering" with the app, you may need to remove the screen protector first.

The apps that you use the shapes with are free in the iTunes store.  Each one has a different theme, but my son loves the Safari one the best.  Game play includes "building" animals with layers of shapes and "chasing" shapes across the screen to catch them.  While there isn't more than 30 minutes to an hour of unique play with each app, it is never done in the exact same order, so kids can play over and over again. If your child likes reading the same book again and again or doing the same puzzle, this will be a rewarding experience for them.

(There are two other apps that come with the product: Tiggly Stamp, which lets kids create stories with record-able videos to explore the seasons and Tiggly Draw which is like a painting app using the shapes.)

The shapes sell for $29.99, but the apps are free.  This makes for an affordable way to reinforce spatial and early math skills for preschoolers, with an app environment that is safe and fun!  You can learn more about Tiggly at their Facebook and Twitter accounts.