Timmy Tickle, the character in an app from the new developer Nimblebean, is a delightful orange octopus who draws readers in by inviting them to join him in a series of games. The story is very simply written in rhyming couplets and it supports young children through game-based learning.
Timmy likes to roller skate, which is tricky when you have eight legs. He needs help moving around the screen and even then, he falls over regularly. The next scene finds him washing up: be very careful not to break any plates whilst spin drying them on the end of one of his legs! Count to 8 using the coloured balloons tied to his legs; as you touch each balloon in the correct sequence, it will float. Get the sequence wrong and Timmy will blow a raspberry.
Play 4 different nursery rhymes (arrows move ahead of the tune to show which notes of his xylophone to tap). Matching skills are developed as Timmy morphs both his shape and colour into different fruits. Reinforce these skills when Timmy plays dress up, matching him with one of the framed pictures. End the story when play is over by turning out the lights so that Timmy can go to sleep.
There are 2 story options – Read to Me and Read to Myself. There are also 8 detailed pictures to paint and a facility to save finished paintings. Navigation is clear and simple for very young children to use and a drop down menu allows for easy selection of a favourite game. A particular strength is the location of forward and back page turns in the top corners of each page to avoid accidental turns when swiping during play.
Although very simple, this is a delightful, funny app. The key to its success is not just the engaging little octopus, but also the fact that he invites the reader to help with tasks and games. His successes and failures become those of the mini-gamer, too. It will provide plenty of independent play for toddlers and young children, no doubt with much laughter.
Age range: 2 – 5
Educational value: rhythm and rhyme; co-ordination; counting; sequencing numbers; playing simple melodies; shape and colour matching
Fun rating: 4/5
Educational rating: 3/5