Tiggly Shapes are a learning toy and suite of iPad apps that bridges the real and virtual worlds for toddlers
Tiggly lives on after Kickstarter:
"Wow. This is sure to be at the forefront of the next generation of educational apps." - Babyology
"In my experience, kids are using iPhones and iPads younger and younger. Our eight month old stares intently at pictures of baby faces on the iPhone and my son and daughter knew how to slide to unlock before they could crawl. Tiggly Shapes gives them something fun to do on the iPad and, using capacitive touch points, allows them to put shapes on the screen in order to win games and interact with characters." - JOHN BIGGS TECHCRUNCH.COM
With my two year old son Kirkland in mind, I have set out to make the iPad more engaging, fun, educational and age-appropriate for toddlers.
Together with Phyl, my Harvard classmate, (and helped by several other great friends), we’ve dreamed up Tiggly—real toys and iPad apps that work with these toys.
Our first toy, Tiggly Shapes is a set of shapes for toddlers (target age: 18 months to 3 years) that can be uniquely identified by an iPad. We plan to get Tiggly Shapes into the hands of the toddlers in your life this winter!
Tiggly Shapes includes...
Safety info: Needless to say, as a father with kids that will use this toy, we're taking every precaution. The shapes will have NO hard corners, small parts, electronics, or batteries. They will be made of a soft, flexible and non-hazardous plastic. You can feel at ease if your child is chewing or throwing these shapes! Finally, before we ship, we’ll pay for the best toy testing we can find to ensure we meet all industry safety standards. See our FAQ for more safety details.
Your iPad will also be safe. Tiggly's soft outer cover and silicone touch points won't scratch or harm your iPad.
My two-year old son, Kirkland, has always been interested in my iPad since we got one last year. In fact, he’s really good at using it. Looking back on it, however, my wife and I probably let Kirkland spend too much time using the iPad. How can you strike a happy medium between real play and the digital world?
Earlier this year, the answer to our question hit me: why couldn’t we take something that is age appropriate and that Kirkland does use very well—traditional toys—and add technology so that these toys could be used on an iPad? Imagine the possibilities if we could take one of Kirkland’s favorite toys, a wooden shape puzzle, and make it more interactive and engaging by using an iPad! We could keep the best of the digital world and blend it with the physical world.
Okay, so how does the technology work?
Without getting too nerdy, we’ve created shapes with special sensors that replicate human touch. Each shape has a unique set of touch points that allows our customized iPad games to tell which shape it is. We’ve been able to create these touch points without using any batteries or electric currents so it’s totally safe for your child and you won’t have another toy that needs recharging every week.
More about our 3 apps
We have 3 apps under development that encourage both creative and critical thinking and are specially designed for our shapes and for toddlers!
Tiggly Safari is a fun, immersive app where toddlers are guided to place shapes on the screen to form animals that come to life Target age: 2 to 3 years
Tiggly Draw allows toddlers to use the Tiggly Shapes as stamps and as paint brushes. Target age: 18 months and up
Tiggly Match is a game that teaches kids how to identify shapes. Target age: 18 months to 2 years
You can learn more about each of these apps in the FAQ section.
In developing these apps, you can rest assured that we are consulting with creative and educational advisors with decades of experience working with toddlers to build the best possible apps. Additionally, we're testing our beta apps weekly to ensure that we're creating quality learning and fun. In the coming months we hope to release even more great educational apps that work with Tiggly Shapes.
How did we get here?
In April we built a rough prototype that we tested with dozens of kids. With even a basic app, kids were still very engaged—and parent feedback was incredibly positive. Phyl and I also spoke with over 50 folks in the toy, retail, app, and early child education industries.
Over the summer, we worked with an industrial design firm to create and test a variety of design concepts with toddlers and parents. We went through 6 different iterations including mock-ups and 3D prints. Our final design met all our key criteria: safe for the toddler, safe for the screen, inviting to play with and easy to hold and use.
We wanted to start with a simple product for the youngest iPad users, hence Tiggly Shapes! However, we really believe adding a physical element to the iPad can enrich learning in so many different ways and have a long list of additional toy ideas for kids of all ages.
***A special thanks to our design advisor, Will Gridley***
***We can't forget our fellow classmates who were instrumental to developing the concept and launching our first phase: Jill Dorans, Gopesh Mittal, Mike Tomkins, Janee Wilson-Key***
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
While we are confident that we've minimized risk by enlisting incredible industrial design and manufacturing partners, there is always a chance that we could run into some manufacturing / shipping delays. In addition, we have very high standards for our apps, and while we will definitely strive to have all 3 completed when Tiggly Shapes are shipped, some may be released shortly after delivery.
By introducing high quality physical toys to the digital platform, Tiggly Shapes deepen and expand the iPad learning experience. Tiggly Shapes allow young children to expand virtual play with real world objects, which exponentially increases both play and learning possibilities.
When children are exploring, matching, and playing with shapes and colors: they are assigning names and qualities to objects and relationships such as color, shape, size, sequence, and patterning.
When children are grasping the physical toys, following directions, and manipulating the toys on the screen: they are developing fine motor development, learning to follow visual and verbal cues, cultivating visual discrimination and developing hand-eye coordination.
When children are making mistakes and getting it right: they are experimenting with trail and error and cause and effect problem solving, developing persistence and resilience, and efficacy in problem solving.
We have designed the product to exceed current safety standards. There are no small parts and the materials used are safe for contact with children. Our experienced Industrial Design team has prepared a comprehensive list of tests that the toy will pass before we ship the product.
No paint is used in the production of the shapes, but the safety tests will confirm there are no traces of lead paint.
We have not compromised on the quality of any of our materials. We have selected a high quality plastic to ensure the toy is safe for children, durable and has a high quality aesthetic. The white core of the shape is made from ABS plastic. The soft shell is made from TPE (it feels like silicone). These are higher grade materials than your typical cheap plastic toy and are BPA free!