Little Miss C is rather a big fan of the CBeebies series Woolly and Tig. If you’ve not seen it this series features a three year old little girl Tig and her friendly toy spider Woolly. In each five minute episode Tig goes through a new experience with the support of her spider friend. When you’re three years old something new like a first day at nursery can be rather scary, but when faced with things like this Woolly suddenly comes to life in animated format and he’s there to help Tig through the situation.
I’m rather fond of the TV series myself as I think it’s really helpful to guide LMC through things that she might then have to experience in real life – in a very similar way that we find reading Topsy and Tim books also helps. When asked to review the Woolly and Tig app I was therefore intrigued to see how the programme would map over to an interactive experience.
My first comment has to be that the title is a bit false as Tig doesn’t actually feature in the app – much to LMC’s frustration. Instead it’s all centred around an animated version of Woolly.
The app has two main parts to it – a free play section and then a more structured activity section. In the free play section Woolly is on the screen asking you to do things to him – like hug him, make him roll over or stroke him whilst he goes to sleep. When we first turned the app on Woolly asked LMC to give him a cuddle. So she tried to do just that by hugging the iPad to her like she would a cuddly toy. It seems that this wasn’t quite what he wanted and instead she was supposed to use a pincer action with her fingers on the screen as if hugging him. It took us a while to figure out what he wanted and to be honest LMC’s first action was the most obvious thing to me too.
The structured section provides a list of activities to do with Woolly which includes getting him dressed, brushing his teeth and having fun in the snow. LMC loved these games and played them repeatedly once she’s understood what she was supposed to do in all of them. There was some confusion at the start of some activities as she just didn’t get what it was she was supposed to do and tried to drag socks onto Woolly’s feet when she actually was just supposed to tap them. Once she’d sussed it out it all became much easier for her and I could also see her manual dexterity improving – clearly showing some of the benefits of playing the game.
The app also has a parent scheduler in it so that you can set it to prompt your children to do things (like brushing their teeth) at specific times of day. I have to be honest to say that I didn’t use this much during the testing – mainly as we limit her screen time for didn’t need the prompts.
From a parent point of view it was nice to see LMC enjoying the app and she did seem to be learning how to do different things on the iPad thanks to it. I was left a bit disappointed at the quality of the app though. It retails for £2.99 and when comparing it to free apps that we’ve previously downloaded (the CBeebies app instantly springing to mind) I struggled to see what justified the cost. The app crashed on several occasions and also when we went into each of the activities there was a slight shudder and a brief moment when the screen showed an image of Woolly upside down before continuing. Whilst you might accept this in a free download – I’d be very disappointed if I’d paid for it and had this happen.
From LMC’s point of view – she loved the app and really enjoyed playing it. As the person who pays the iTunes bill I’m a bit disappointed at the cost for the quality that you get, but it was nice to see LMC enjoy it as much as she did and to see her skills on the iPAd improve the more she played it.
Disclaimer: I was refunded the cost of the app in exchange for this review. We were also sent a Woolly and Tig goody bag. All views are completely my own.