STEM Skills targeted: Spatial skills, problem solving, math, science
Recommended Age: 6+
I remember coming across OSMO a year or so ago mentioned by some homeschooling bloggers and I was absolutely blown away. The educational products that are being developed for kids these days are nothing short of amazing.
Technology has made playtime look very different for kids these days than it did a generation ago. You still see children playing with blocks and dolls but they’re just as likely to be playing a game on an iPad – even the youngest children know how to operate and play basic devices these days.
While there has been some concern over the amount of screen time that young children are getting, it’s difficult not to see the appeal of educational apps. I was pretty shocked at how much my kids had picked up just from playing on their ipad – everything from stories to learning new letters and words, counting and countless other skills. It’s like having a fun teacher in the house that lets me have 5 minutes peace!
If you like the educational aspect of apps but you still feel a little guilty about sitting your kids in front of a screen, OSMO is the perfect solution. OSMO is an app that goes beyond the screen, requiring interaction with real objects, using the iPad to enhance your child’s play, rather than replacing it.
The Osmo system consists of a base and a reflector. The reflector enables the iPad to view the table surface in front of it so that the game takes place using your hands and objects, in the real world, rather than by tapping and swiping images on a screen.
Osmo can be used with 5 games, which are all free to download from the iTunes app store: Words, Numbers Masterpiece, Tangram and Newton. Tangram, Numbers and Words require physical pieces, while the other 2 games just need a normal pen and piece of paper.
Masterpiece – select any image from your gallery or from the web and Osmo will transform it into easy-to-draw lines for you to trace. You can even record your drawing in progress and play it back as a high-speed video.
Tangram – uses a set of real tangram pieces that must be positioned to match the image on the screen. There are over 500 puzzles to play and completing each one unlocks new challenges.
Words – a fun spelling game for older kids. Be the first to throw down letters to spell out the word of the picture on the screen.
Newton – draw objects on a piece of paper, or use physical objects in order to guide animated balls on the screen into the right place. This is a really addictive game that even adults love! It also develops problem solving skills and introduces principles of physics.
Numbers – uses physical number tiles to answer simple math problems. There is no one right way to answer a question which helps build confidence and creativity in solving problems.
I was so excited when I first heard about Osmo and the glowing reviews prove that this is actually a well-executed product, not just a nice idea. Kids also love it, it builds so many skills, encourage creativity and you don’t have to feel guilty about how much your kids are using their iPad anymore.
This is definitely number one on my Xmas gift list this year, how about you?