Review: OSMO Play

Where it all started

Where it all started

Not sure how it all started, but I got to know about the Osmo when they were crowdfunding back in 2014. Oliver was 2.5 yo and we were weaning him off the iPad. I had been reading up about restricting screen time and how it is detrimental to a toddler’s development..(poor brain activity, oh the horrors!). Obviously being a first time mom (Quentin doesn’t count cos he’s not even a year old!), I was getting on the bandwagon on what is ‘right‘ for the kids.

But hey, the Osmo Play is a different. It still uses the iPad, but not by just swiping. It is more than just swiping. It is uses the iPad to get the child to interact and think out of the box. Now THAT, I can accept. I noticed that not a lot of people in Singapore know about the Osmo, so here’s my review on it!

November 2014

November 2014

The Osmo Starter Kit arrived in our home. It came with the base, colourful tangram pieces for the Tangram app and 2 sets of alphabets for the Word app. 2 months shy of turning 3 years, I wondered how Oliver would do with it. I mean, it is meant for 6 – 12 year-olds.

Osmo Starter Kit

Osmo Starter Kit

The iPad sits on the base, with a clip-on mirror attached to the front-facing camera to reflect the image of what is arranged on the surface in front of the iPad. The image is then fed into the camera for the app to process the information.

Tangrams

It didn’t take Oliver long to understand and figure Tangrams out. What I love about it is that there are a few levels of difficulty and that’s where the colours come in. I reckon 3 year olds could give it a shot if they love puzzles. See how the shapes come up in the various colours to guide the child to use those pieces. I would sit next to Oliver to help shift the pieces within the area of detection by the mirror. Once he completed a puzzle, he could choose to move on to another puzzle, or alternatively, if he choose to repeat the puzzle, it would have moved on to the next level of difficulty, where there would no longer be colours, but grayscale pieces displayed on the screen. It would eventually get to the point where the puzzle would be in black, with no outlines and the child would have to figure out how to replicate the exact same puzzle.

November 2015

November 2015 – 1 year on and still loving it! Shapes are now grayscaled.

Words

It was a little trickier with Words as the child would have to know how to spell in order to play with it. It was sorta like an iPad version of the game, Hangman. An image would be projected in the background. The child would need to firstly identify the word based on the image, and based on the number of letters required for the word. They will be able to collect ‘coins’ to use for hints. For starters, there would already be some clues in the word (letters provided). Subsequently, fewer letters would be provided, eventually to the point where no letters are provided.

Two sets of alphabets are provided for Words, which meant that Oliver could play with a friend and compete! That takes sharing the iPad to another level, and making learning even more fun!

On one hand, I liked that Oliver would be able to learn how to spell and I could guide him to learn how to spell phonetically. On the other hand, because Osmo is based in the USA, it is hard to guess the word based on the image which could give a different meaning to what we would guess it to be. Even I had difficulty figuring out what the word was. However, these images are rare and few. Most of them are pretty standard.

Was the Osmo a good buy? For the price that I was paying then (USD$89, I think), I honestly felt it was and still think it is a great buy. It helps that I am interested in it, and it makes me sit next to him to guide him, rather than him just watching videos on the iPad! I felt that it really stimulated him to think a lot. And it really helps that he enjoys the challenges of the tangram puzzles.

Fast forward to 2015, Osmo came up with Newton, Masterpiece, & Numbers. If you already bought the Starter Kit, you only need to download the apps for Newton & Masterpiece. I personally felt that Newton & Masterpiece were suitable for older kids.

Newton

Newton

Newton required a lot more logical thinking and finer motor skills for writing/drawing in order to fully be able to be engaged. I totally suck at it, cos I failed my Physics hahaha. Daddy Ting would probably fair better at it than me.

Trying to make the balls roll on the lines

Trying to make the balls roll on the lines to hit the target

Masterpiece required a lot of finer eye-hand coordination and finer motor skills for writing/drawing as it involves tracing on paper by looking at the image on the iPad. The tracing (hand movement) is mirrored on the iPad as well. This would be good to develop eye-hand coordination. No demo of this one..cos we haven’t ventured on it yet.

Using Numbers to fill up a tank

Using Numbers to fill up a tank

We love Numbers tho! I love that the pieces comes in both numerals and dots like that of the dice, so that the child can understand value via numerals or quantity. It comes in a game where by the child is required to burst water bubbles to fill a fish tank. And in order to burst these water bubbles, they would have to select tiles that would add up to the value stated on the water bubbles (addition only). Sometimes there would already be a ’tile’ that indicates ‘-n’ on the screen so the child would have to factor that in when selecting the tiles (addition & subtraction). The reward? Sometimes the fish tank is filled with a special fish or food for the fish! Oliver gets really excited when there is special food for the fish haha.

Using numbers to add and subtract

Using numbers to add and subtract

This year, Osmo released Coding, Monster Pizza Co. 

Again, I felt that Coding was for older kids so I didn’t get that, and also I felt that I didn’t see much educational value in it? I don’t know much about Coding, and based on the video, it was more of pressing buttons to ‘create’ a computer game. I could be wrong! There could be more than meets the eye haha just that this momma doesn’t know how to appreciate it. =P

Now Monster, I could appreciate! Both Oliver and Quentin loved it! Mo, the monster, interacts with the kids by asking them to help him out by drawing.

Monster Creative Set

Monster Creative Set

The boys would giggle and laugh when Mo would use what Oliver drew on the creative board which came with this set. And yes, it is a board designed to fit snugly against the Osmo base. The Creative set also came with markers, and a pencil case which doubled up as a cloth to wipe the marks off the board, so you don’t have to worry about bringing wipes along to wipe the board!

Ollie drawing what Mo had asked of him to draw

Ollie drawing what Mo had asked of him to draw

Mo and the wand I drew for him.

Mo and the wand I drew for him.

Pizza Co. is Osmo’s latest offering. I..was tempted to buy this only cos I am been a huge fan of Osmo and we are still enjoying what Osmo has to offer. I am hesitant only because we already have what they are offering, or rather, it is a game that can be easily replicated by us, in various methods (using Lego to teach fractions, teaching the value of money in real life scenarios, to name a few). Having said that, it does look fun tho! (If you are the type to play Diner Dash on your phone, come on, Pizza Co would be that for the kids! =P )

Pizza Co Game

Pizza Co Game

If you are planning to get the Osmo, get them via Amazon because it is eligible for free shipping to Singapore (min purchase of USD$125). Prices are the same in USD for both Amazon & the Osmo website, however you would have to pay for shipping on the Osmo website if you spend less than SGD$220 (I think about USD$150?).

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