One evening after looking on Facebook D came running upstairs to tell me about a learning app a friend was using for his children.
Just when you thought you knew all about the ways to use tech to keep your children entertained, you find something that blows everything else out of the water.
Osmo is not only fun but also educational enough to count as learning. This has been a godsend as we try and continue Lucas’ education through home schooling.
Osmo is an innovative device that turns your tablet (iPad or Amazon Fire tablet) into a hands-on, interactive experience. To get started all you need is a base and a red Osmo reflector that is positioned over your tablet’s camera, reflecting the space in front of it. If you download the Osmo Games app from your app store you can not only link it to the parent app on your phone, so you can keep an eye on what your child has been doing, you can then see all the different games available, as well as which (if any) game pieces are needed.
Setting up Osmo was really easy. Search for the Osmo Games app, download it and follow the on-screen instructions. It’s user friendly with on-screen prompts. You also get the opportunity to scan a QR code from the parent app once you’ve downloaded that to your phone. Once you’ve downloaded the apps to match the game pieces you’ve got, it’s just a case of deciding which one to do first. The instructions are all clear and concise, often given by a cute fluffy monster Mo verbally, so that it doesn’t matter if your child cannot yet read.
Little Genius Starter Kit
This kit is aimed at children aged 3-5 and has two boxes of game pieces and a silicone play mat, this will allow you to play four different games:
- ABC’s – use silicone shapes to form letters, including 300 words.
- Squiggle Magic – using the shapes to create and watch them move right on the screen. Lucas is so impressed when his own creations get pulled up from his mat on the table into his iPad!
- Costume Party – using the outfit pieces to make costumes and then change the colours on screen
- Stories – using the outfit pieces to create characters in an interactive story. Give them roller skates, and they skate on screen!
Genius Starter Kit
This kit has three boxes of hands-on game pieces, letters (upper and lower case), numbers and a set of multicoloured shapes. Among the games you can play are:
- Words – play alone or against family members, matching what you see on screen and trying to spell it. This has been great to get Lucas to practice some of the basic letters which he seems to have forgotten since leaving English nursery last year and starting a French school. I’m keen to make sure he knows letters and reading in English too so this is great for us to continue practicing.
- Tangram – with different difficulty levels this is a game of challenge and problem solving. Lucas really enjoys this, he loves a puzzle and working out how to solve it. Having the different levels is fab as he can challenge himself further when he thinks he is ready and if he can’t manage it, he can independently switch to an easier level again.
- Numbers – save the fish by adding, subtracting and multiplying. I attempted teaching Lucas some maths and it hasn’t gone well at all. This game however, is really helping him. On screen, he is told what he needs to make a number up to and using his pieces, he can add and take away, the camera can detect what he has on his mat and adds them to the screen, telling Lucas when it’s correct. As it’s done I’m the form of a game, Lucas is learning whilst having fun rather than math becoming a chore.
- Masterpiece – learn to draw from the library of images, or take a photo and learn to draw that (using your own paper and pens, nothing else needed!). We love this, we have taken photos of various toys and then the screen has allowed us to copy it and draw ourselves using the camera mirroring.
- Newton – Osmo sees and interacts with anything you draw or put in front of it! You can use an Osmo whiteboard and pens for this, or pens and paper!
Osmo Parent App
All images that are created in the Osmo apps are easy to find in the Osmo parent app, which is lovely as you can see drawings after they’ve been rubbed out if you were using the whiteboard. More importantly, though you can see your child’s progress on each of the apps, and stats are broken down into creativity, spelling, math, problem-solving etc. and by day, week and month etc.
There are lots more kits available, from creative art kits to Hot Wheels Mindracers, which Lucas is very keen to try out as he’s a Hot Wheel’s fan. Also, in the range are three coding apps, which will give children a fun way to start understanding coding in an interactive and hands-on way. We also received Osmo’s Super Studio Incredibles 2 and Mickey Mouse and Friends Studio Kit.
Mickey Mouse and Friends Studio Kit
This set comes with a sketch pad, sweeper for erasing and sketch pen. The pad is partially filled and when placed under the camera reflector, the app talks the child through what they need to draw and where in the book. Once they have drawn on the page, their drawings are magically lifted into the app and presented as an interactive cartoon! On Mickeys story you go through with all his friends from a big birthday party, the day in the park, and a beach day! The app tells you when to erase your drawings, ensuring the pad remains clean for being used over and over again.
Incredibles 2 super studio kit
Like the Mickey Mouse kit, this set comes with a sketch pad, pen and sweeper. Following the app instructions, the child helps save the day with their favourite hero family. Join Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack as they create their own villain-busting, world-saving show!
Lucas loved these and were a nice break from school learning.
Osmo is one of the most creative ‘toys’ I’ve come across, and it’s no wonder that Osmo is used in over 30,000 classrooms in over 42 countries the world over – how amazing is it that kids at school and at home can have so much fun learning & playing? I strongly recommend this to help your child’s development and for them to have fun.