Young children love playing with shapes, whether using them to complete a puzzle, building with them, or spotting them in the real world. But, while previous generations made do with wooden shapes and puzzles, toddlers nowadays have an iPad alternative. Tiggly Shapes is a set of four shape toys which interact with the iPad screen through a series of custom apps.

While by no means the first time we've seen physical toys meet the iPad – there's been the Fisher Price Barnyard Farm, AppToyz and Hot Wheels Apptivity to name but a few – Tiggly Shapes offers a nice take on combining the tactile experience of real toys with the iPad screen in a seamless way, and was created by father Steve Miller for his children.

Aimed at 18-month to three-year-olds, the four Tiggly Shapes (square, triangle, circle and star) feature a soft plastic cover and silicon touch points to make them safe for your precious little one … whether that's your child or iPad. When placed on the iPad screen the apps recognize these touch points and the corresponding shape appears on screen. Because the shapes feature a hollow middle, children can see what's going on.

Three free iPad apps will initially be available for use with the shapes. Tiggly Match gets children to put the right shape on the screen and rewards them with sounds and animations, while Tiggly Draw sees users stamp and paint with the shapes to create drawings which can be saved. Tiggly Safari is a set of puzzles with kids building 16 animals with the physical shapes (such as the star for the lions mane and a circle for its face) and then interacting with their creations.

Tiggly Shapes will be available online for US$30 (which includes the four physical shapes and free download of the apps), and is expected to start shipping in May.

Here's a quick video showing off Tiggly Shapes.

Source: Tiggly