We have come across the most remarkable educational tool called Osmo. It’s essentially an app for iPad and iPad minis (it also works on Fire tablets) but its point of difference is that the screen game is paired with a hands-on, tangible component. It’s a lot more fun than doing drills with a tutor and offers a range of levels and subject areas. It’s so intuitive and easy to set up and use.
At first, it feels like it’s working by magic, but after checking out the FAQ’s on the Osmo website, I realised it uses a reflector to bounce an image of the player’s game piece arrangement or drawing into the device’s camera. The Osmo app then processes the image and translates its effect into the digital world. Reassuringly, the reflector only captures images within a confined area, to protect your child’s privacy.
How does it work?
We loved the fact that getting started was quick and easy. The process can be distilled into the following three steps.
- Put your device in an Osmo Base (included with starter kit) and place the red reflector over the device’s camera.
- Download the Osmo World App and follow the prompts. Once the games are installed, use the physical game pieces in conjunction with the digital prompts to draw, code, spell and more.
- Osmo scans the table so that your child’s creations come alive on the screen. This is the truly special part!
We road-tested the genius starter kit, which comes with alphabet tiles, number tiles and tangram pieces. It’s old school meets new world in a way that’s engaging and fun – my kids were elbowing each other out of the way to have a go!
What’s so good about it?
Osmo has been named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions, is a Parents’ Choice award winner, a winner of the prestigious Oppenheim award, and a 2016 finalist for Toy of The Year. It’s sold in over 42 countries, including many retailers in Australia.
A big plus for us was that it gives kids a screen time option that is purposeful and educational, and not just an endless rabbit hole of slime videos on YouTube!
Another upside is that you don’t need to be connected to the internet to play most of the time. The only time you need an internet connection is when you’re initially setting up your myOsmo account or downloading/updating apps. This makes it a great option for travelling ot any time you need to keep boredom at bay.
Once you’re set up, you can continue to build on the set with new games and corresponding game pieces.
The only downside we could see was that the narration is entirely in an American accent. Hopefully they update this in the future for Australian users.
Below is a video which shows what you get in a pack and how easy it is set up and start learning.
Who is it for?
This would make a thoughtful gift for any child between the ages of 5 and 12. You can use the Osmo games to support a child with learning difficulties, or as an extension activity for kids that are whizzing through their school work.
How do I buy Osmo products?
In Australia they’re available at:
- Big W
- Kid Stuff
- Harvey Norman
Now is a great time to buy and put away for Christmas, as there is currently a 30% discount across the entire Osmo range this July Toy Sale! (Sale ends 14 July 2021)
Find out more at www.playosmo.com