As more and more parents must raise children in an ever-increasing digital world, we often forget that kids learn best by doing. It is easy to sit them in front of an iPad and let YouTube do the babysitting, but sadly this often results in indolent children and later work-shy adults. The team behind Osmo, want parents to embrace a new norm with their series of hands-on learning games in which players use objects in the real world to interact with the digital world.
Osmo’s learning games are created with child development researchers and are designed to promote embodied learning through physical-digital interactions. They offer a series of engaging and fun activities for all ages that address key learning areas such as math, fundamental physics, spatial relationships, world geography and more. The philosophy behind this type of learning is quite brilliant, they want your child to foster social-emotional skills like problem-solving, creativity and perseverance; all the ingredients needed to live in our changing socio-economic world.
Their kits are comprised of a simple base to sit your tablet in and the Osmo Reflector which attaches over the top of the front facing camera. It works by essentially bouncing the image of the player’s game piece arrangement or drawing directly into the device camera, the Osmo app then processes the image and either recreates it on screen or translates its effect onto the story in the digital world.
We were fortunate enough to try their Genius Starter Kit, which is designed for ages 6-10+ and is designed with fun & learning in mind. The kit was comprised of 5 different educational games including – a freestyle Math game called Numbers; A Word game where children must fill in the missing letters; our favorite Tangram, where puzzle pieces and shapes are used to build different things; Newton, a creative engineering game and lastly Masterpiece, a super creative drawing game. All the pieces of these games are inside the box, they are arranged in the physical world and come to life on the iPad’s screen, it is really quite the site to see.
After playing the different games with my 7-year-old, it became even more apparent how effective toys are as a teaching tool. My son was literally glued to the screen of his iPad and followed the instructions to the letter and had an immensely enjoyable learning experience. After each round, I could see with my very own eyes him developing problem solving skills, creativity and even boosting his confidence when it came to self-perceived challenges.
Our favorite feature though must be the ability to track game progress, using child game profiles, on the parent app. This allows you to monitor the development of your little ones’ individual learning skills overtime. Reassuringly, Osmo’s learning games are also used in over 30,000 classrooms worldwide and this is a testament to the quality of this learning tool. The question you need to ask yourself is – at just $99, can you really put a price on your child’s future?