Last year Tiggly Shapes introduced young iPad users to different shapes with its interactive tactile toys and accompanying apps. Now the firm behind it is hoping to teach three to six-year-olds basic math skills in the same way. Tiggly Counts combines a set of Cuisenaire rod-inspired math toys, with apps which respond when the toys are placed on the screen.

The physical aspect of Tiggly Counts is a set of five brightly-colored tactile toys which were inspired by the iconic Cuisenaire rods used in Montessori classrooms. Each represents a number from one to five, and they connect magnetically with one another. The toys have a similar chunky soft plastic design to the geometric shapes from Tiggly Shapes, and feature silicon touch points to be recognized by the iPad.

Makers say merging hands-on physical play with the iPad touchscreen enhances the digital learning experience, and helps bring mathematical ideas to life, while also improving spatial awareness and motor-skills. Big holes in the toys make them easy for small hands to pick up, and allow users to see what's happening on screen in the apps, which develop counting skills, along with addition and subtraction.

Three educator-approved companion iPad apps will initially be available for users of Tiggly Counts to download for free, with more set to follow. In the Tiggly Chef app, young users are required to help prepare silly recipes by adding the right number of ingredients. Tiggly Adventure asks users to build bridges and ladders with the right number of units. Meanwhile, Tiggly Cardtoons users solve basic math puzzles in a cardboard-styled environment.

The physical Tiggly Counts sets are available now for US$30. The apps, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, are compatible with most generations of iPad running iOS 5 or higher, excluding the iPad 1. Android versions are also said to be in the works, and should be released later this year.

You can see Tiggly Counts in action, in the video below.

Product Page: Tiggly Counts

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