Like most kids, my preschooler likes action. Especially when it comes to apps. Surprisingly, she now counts a mellow octopus among her favorite digital friends, and goes back to his animated storybook time and time again.

Less a narrative and more an interactive collection of learning activities for the preschool set, Timmy Tickle is all about happiness. He starts out looking glum, but as kids are prompted to help him do all kinds of things like count balloons, play the xylophone, wash dishes, play dress up, play a guessing game, and stay upright on roller skate, he cheers up more and more.

Tickle him and the giggling and suction-cupped wiggling gets infectious…as does the “raspberry” sound used when your child chooses the wrong answer. We’ve had some interesting sound effects around the dinner table because of it.

The xylophone activity is the best because it actually teaches kids how to play a few songs–“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Three Blind Mice” among them–using subtle orb effects to show them where to tap. Kids can also create their own music by tapping the bars in any order they like.

Preschool counting | Timmy Tickle iPad app

When kids finish up the narrative side, they can head to the paint side where eight different scenes are just waiting to be filled in. A “magic paint” option chooses the perfect color combinations for you, which might be a good option for younger users who don’t have the patience to switch colors on their own. Finished artwork can be saved to your photo roll and shared via Facebook and email.

Not having “page turns” is a plus, considering my kids don’t always realize that some lag time can come with transitions. Kids missing parts of the narrative is definitely a minus, since interacting with Timmy prematurely without waiting for the narrator to kick in makes the voiceover stop automatically. –Pilar

Download Timmy Tickle for iPad on iTunes for $1.99.