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Tiggly Addventure app review

Tiggly Addventure (Tiggly, 2014; iOS and Android) is one of a series of educational apps which can be played alone or with the corresponding Tiggly-brand counting, letter, or shape toys. To begin, choose your goal: you’re either delivering an apple to a grandmotherly creature, or a wrapped gift to a monsterly peer. You play as a small, earnest green character (that’d be “Tiggly”) and either way, you’re on a mission: get the thing to its recipient.

That means navigating a world where numbers get you where you want to go.

Tap the correct number of times, and a block or blocks will fill the outlined square(s) ahead of you so you can advance across a bridge. At first, you’re just advancing one block at a time — seeing the numerals, hearing their names, and practicing the concept of tapping with one finger to make one thing appear. But then the Xs start appearing, and it gets more complicated.

Some blocks are labeled with an X instead of a number, and your goal is to skip to the next number by tapping with the correct number of fingers. For instance, if you are sitting on a 6 block, and the next block without an X is the 8 block, you need to tap with two fingers. (An incorrect tap plops you into the water below and sends you back to the beginning of the row to start again). I wasn’t sure immediately what I was supposed to do — the Xs threw me off a bit — but if you don’t figure it out quickly, a hand will appear on the screen holding up the right number of fingers. As you get more advanced, the numerals won’t appear until after you’ve tapped your way to the next block, so it’s up to you to figure out how many blocks will fill the space.

Once you reach the end of a number line (usually at 10), there are similar tasks to try. Climb a tower by tapping the screen a certain number of times, and you may just be lifted off the top of the tower by balloon, and get to do your next bit of counting or adding among the stars. And then end up in a rocket ship before coming back to earth and completing your delivery.

Tiggly Town is a pleasant place to spend time. It’s full of bright colors (including consistently color-coded numbers) and much of its inviting scenery looks like it’s stitched together from felt. There are some opportunities to interact with the environment, though nothing very complex — some elements will move if you tap them, and tapping the water will make fish jump out. The music and sound effects are cheerful, and you can play with or without sound; the only thing of substance you’ll miss if you do mute it is hearing the names of the numbers.

Tiggly Addventure is an entertaining way to start thinking about how addition works, and also gives some practice in coordination. (I don’t know about you, but tapping the right number of fingers at exactly the same time takes me some effort, and it certainly would have when I was preschool-aged. Perhaps that’s an argument for using the app in conjunction with the toys.) Bring on the addventures!

Available for iPad (requires iOS 8.0 or later) and Android devices (requires Android 2.3 and up); free. Recommended for preschool users.

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Shoshana Flax About Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College.

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