We wish you a Merry Techmas!
We know that schools are teaching coding, robotics and all sorts of other awesome things these days that I’m very jealous that we never had when I was a student. This isn’t restricted to school aged kids either, in fact the new OSMO Little Genius Starter Kit is targeted at ages 3 to 5 and transforms your tablet into an early learning tool.
Tablets can be a tricky thing when parenting, especially when setting rules around how often your kids can use it. At least with a tool like this you are joining education with fun in a way that will improve your child’s pre-reading, storytelling and fine motor skill development.
The reason this is so much better than letting your kid go nuts on “Candy Crush” is that it is real life learning and what you do in the real world triggers what happens on the iPad, so you won’t be raising digital zombies, it’s fully interactive with hands on learning.
It’s made in partnership with Marbotic who are a leader in creating playful experiences in early learning. They’ve previously partnered with big names in children’s educational entertainment like Sesame Street and I gotta say, if it’s good enough for Elmo it’s good enough for me.
In the starter kit box you’ll find The Osmo Base for iPad, plus downloads for the 4 game apps you’ll be using. There are a massive 38 of the silicone sticks and rings that are used in the games and 19 costume packs. 1 Silicone mat to protect your table and the items you’ll be using and this might be the most well thought out part of the package, stackable storage container to keep it all in. How’s that for thinking, usually you’ll buy something like this and you’d be rushing to the freezer to finish that tub of ice cream so you could use it for storage. Not here, this is great for your brain and your waistline. You don’t see that in the ads.
As far as the set up goes, I’d say they’ve made it so easy your child can do it but let’s face the truth here, they’ve actually made it so easy that us parents can do it. I find that is a very important part of any technical toy these days if the mums and dads look at it and say “too hard” there’s a good chance the kids won’t be getting it. I can honestly say it’s super easy to set up and they step you through every part of the process.
The OSMO camera device fits over the top of your iPad or tablet placed where your camera is. How it works is that it scans the table below your upright device so what you change in that area adapts to the screen and plays out live.
The games that you play help you learn in different ways,
In ABCs you build letters with the sticks and rings that are provided. What you create is shown on the screen with a word that starts with that letter and the “Mo the Monster” interacts with it. This is great fun for the “pre-readers” in the house to practice with over 300 words. It’s all about letter recognition, expanding young vocabulary and learning phonics.
Costume Party allows the child to interact with style and clothing. There’s a character on the screen and you add the clothing to the table where you can also choose to paint it different colours on screen. The more fun the outfit the more fun you’ll have interacting with the character. Dare I say it, this game reminds me of a “Barbie” game we had on the Commodore 64 computer, where you would pick the outfit for different occasions, I may have played that game more times than I’d be happy to admit,
Squiggle Magic is probably the most impressive for me, you use the sticks and rings to create anything you want and then the system makes it come alive. This is amazing technology that is for those kids who may not be drawing yet, it helps them use creativity and teaches about emotions. For example at some stage you might be asked to create a face that looks “happy”.
Stories, this is more mixing and matching costumes but the idea here is to find solutions to the many obstacles that pop up through multiple adventures. It’s like a “choose your own adventure” story full of junior targeted problem solving using super advanced technology.
Make sure you look at the box to see if the Osmo you are purchasing is for ipad or the Amazon tablet. The box I have has “iPad required to play” on the bottom left hand side panel under the list of what’s in the box.
There are around 12 games for the Osmo so take a look through the other apps you can download and packs available that include well known brands like Hot Wheels, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney Princesses, The Incredibles and a new Frozen II add on that is going to sell out this christmas with the popularity of the new movie.
I think OSMO are onto a good thing here, not only are parents conscious of how often kids are on devices these days they want their kids to be doing something worthwhile when they are on it. This ticks all the boxes of being educational and fun and it’s got the backing of people much more qualified than me. Educators in schools across the United States have already adopted Osmo into the classroom and there’s starting to be a big pickup for Australian Schools now as well.
Osmo New Base for iPad
Sturdier design and usable in landscape mode
iPad 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Generation
iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2–5
iPad Air, iPad Air 2-3
9.7-inch, 10.5-inch iPad Pr
Osmo Base for Amazon Fire Tablets
7th Generation Fire 7
7th Generation Fire HD 8
7th Generation Fire HD 10
8th Generation Fire HD 8
9th Generation Fire 7
9th Generation Fire HD 10