Alright, Osmo – you win. You win my vote for favorite tech toy, by a landslide. Here’s why:
In my opinion, it’s un-screen, screen time.
All of our kids love their screens right, but I find it difficult to effectively balance the amount of time they actually spend on our family device. And that Mom-Guilt creeps right in after a bit of time passes, like, am I turning their brains into mush? Are they turning into zombies? They’re turning into zombies for sure.
But then, there’s Osmo.
This clever tech toy actually involves much more than staring at and tapping a screen repeatedly. See, Osmo has this mirrored reflector that fits over the camera of the iPad and scans the area in front for all kinds of different interactive activities – drawing, logic, letters, numbers. Even better, you can have multiple ‘users’ so each child can play at their own level, in whichever game you’re playing!
When you order the Genius Kit, you get the Numbers, Words and Tangram tiles, along with the base and reflector.
This is just a new take on an old favorite that we know is good for kids’ brains. “Arrange tangible puzzle pieces into matching on-screen shapes. Play with a friend or challenge yourself to more advanced levels as your handy-work lights up with each victory.”
Tangram was an awesome brain game activity and I could pretty much hear the wheels turning in Alex’s head while she played. It took a few tries but with a little patience and perseverance she quickly got the hang of it and enjoyed the challenges.
Mimi, not so much. This one is ages 6-12, and I think that’s a pretty acurate user range – definitely not for 3-year-olds. HAHA.
FAVE POINTS: Fantastic for exercising Spatial and Critical thinking skills, awesome storyline & challenges.
SUGGESTIONS: The scanner isn’t always perfect, so be patient with it recognizing where you put the tiles.
I cannot stress enough how much I LOVE that this is screen time, that’s not really screen time. The Words game is pretty simple, and there are many apps that do something similar to what this does – but the fact that the user has to use her hands and her eyes to find the letters, off the screen, is a whole different ballgame.
In the words game, the user can go on an adventure to spell out words in different themed levels. Sometimes, you have to beat the clock in a face-to-face type challenge where you play against an Osmo character! This is cool because it makes you think fast, or you lose.
Check out this video below of how the Words came can be differentiated for each child’s skill level – and how much fun Milena has figuring out beginning sounds!
FAVE POINTS: Easy to Use, Words are Fun
SUGGESTIONS: Although the age range says 6-12, the lower levels can totally be used to reinforce letter sounds with younger kiddos – beginning sounds specifically.
I think this is my favorite part of the Genius Kit – the numbers game is STELLAR. I think my favorite part is that it quickly adapts to the child’s level & understanding. In it, users have to pop bubbles to free different sized fish into the water below!
The domino dotted tiles are PERFECT for Milena who is still working to understand number values and what a number really is. In this game, she has to place the number of dots in front of the iPad so the scanner can identify them. Here, she put two, one dot tiles and was excited to see her success on the screen!
Meanwhile, Alex is capable of working with the number tiles to add quickly!
I love how it also teaches number relationships, so Alex builds upon the previous value to get to the next number. For example in the image above, the bubble she popped before was 6, with 3+3 – but then she quickly added the 4 to get the 10. So instead of starting with a clear space, she’s constantly building or removing from whats in front of her. I really LOVE how this encourages the understanding of how numbers all work together, instead of just memorizing facts!
One level up is an activity called “Connect”. Here, the user is given bubbles and then a “connection” in green.
It was definitely a challenge for Alex to do these quickly. She gets lots of practice with these kinds of problems at iMacs, but she does them on a number line so she can easily refer back and go in order. Here, she’s gotta pick a bubble, make a quick judgment, and get her subtraction done quickly! I really love this and will absolutely be including Osmo in our Math time.
FAVE POINTS: Builds strong understanding of number relationships, encourages quick mental math, goes all the way up to multiplication!
SUGGESTIONS: Remember, the Scanner is not always 100% accurate, so it can take a little play time to get used to its range of vision. Also, for smaller Osmo Users, keep the number tiles out of view so that they don’t get confused and use the domino tiles to build their number sense.
I am thoroughly impressed with Osmo. The Genius Kit is FULL of interesting, engaging ways to keep little minds engaged, challenged and learning. I love that it will grow with the girls and that it’s ONE toy that serves a purpose for both of them.
Here’s some more on what Osmo can do:
Stay tuned because next week, we’re going to be trying out the Osmo Creative Kit – where our drawings will COME TO LIFE!