OSMO: Interactive App based game fun for the entire family.

One of the hot trends in toys this year has been the integrated App based toy.  There are a variety of robots/toys that utilize tablets to enhance the function of the toy.  As a father of three children, seven and five-year-old boys and a twenty-month-old girl, my wife and I have struggled with the dreaded Screen time.  This is not just a personal struggle, but one that is debated even in the medical community.  I am a full-time Family Medicine Physician and have historically instructed no more than two hours of screen time per day, from all sources and that children under the age of two should have no screen time at all.  This recommendation has held for the past 8-9 years and has now been lifted.  Actually, my twenty-month-old daughter knows how to turn on/off the iPad and can swipe, tap and interact with FaceTime videos.  If I am out of town, she realizes it is me and she can communicate.  I am pleased to announce that the guidelines have been reduced and now the recommendations are for parents to monitor the media content and to make sure that screen time does not interfere with exercise, good night sleep or other healthy habits.  Essentially the guideline is, like with most things, use in moderation and for adults to lead by example (I regularly fail in this last step).

Children Christmas Ideas Part 2: Osmo REVIEW

It is safe to say that there are better uses of screen time than simply vegetating in front of a television or watching YouTube videos.  We have found a variety of applications and sites that serve to enhance education while allowing for play.  Whether you are using ABCmouse.com, BrainPop, Khan Academy, Scratch or a variety of other sites, our children and technology are intimately connected.  Last year we purchased an Oslo for our children to play with.  Little did we know that this would become somewhat of a phenomenon.  It does not matter if you homeschool or if your children are in public/private schools, OSMO will be an asset to your grade school children.  Although suited mostly for children 5-12, this device/app is fun for the entire family, adults too.

Children Christmas Ideas Part 2: Osmo REVIEW

The product can be obtained through their own site at playosmo.com or you can buy this from numerous vendors to include Walmart, Toys-R-US and online at Amazon.  Osmo has come a long way over the past year, offering new upgrades to an already amazing model.  I purchased this directly from the company, last Christmas.  At that time, they were running a promotion that allowed a teacher of your choosing to get Tangram/Words/Newton for free if you purchased a set.  For $99 your child’s teacher (homeschooled or schooled) got a device also.  Thet was too good of a deal to pass up and my wife and I bought the full kit at the time, which included Numbers, Words, Tangrams, Newton and Masterpiece Draw.  This kit is now known as the Genius Kit and is still available at the $99 level.  Although it seems like a hefty price, there is so much content included for that $99 that it almost feels like they undercharge.  Included with the genius kit is a base that will fit an iPad 2 or newer (not iPad Pro 12.9″) and a mirror tool that will fit over your forward-facing camera.  It is important to note that there is no android app support and Osmo does not work with iPads in cases, which is being addressed in 2017.  This has limited our use of the Osmo, as my children are aware that the iPad remains in its case unless I take it out.

Children Christmas Ideas Part 2: Osmo REVIEW

Over the past year, there have been enhancements to the applications and new games have been introduced. The initial genius kit teaches children spelling and critical thinking skills with words, spatial relationships with tangrams, creative problem solving with Newton (OUR FAVORITE GAME), addition/subtraction/multiplication with Numbers, drawing and creative confidence in Masterpiece.  These are not simply lessons, rather through play, the children learn their skills.  Each game is a unique gem that serves to make this kit a truly exceptional toy to have at home.  Osmo has introduced coding skills with the Coding game.  This game serves to teach logic and problem-solving skills.  Pizza Co, another game, teaches math, money, fractions and nonverbal communication.  Learn to draw, learn to interact and learn to think creatively with this system.  You can buy the pieces individually or you can buy them as kits.  The Genius Kit is available for $99, the Wonder Kit $145 (Genius + Monster), and the Explorer Kit for $189 (Genius, monster, coding).  Shipping is free to the USA from their website, which is an added bonus.  If you have already purchased the Genius kit, you can buy the Pizza Co kit, Monster, and Coding separately from their website or any number of box retailers.

Children Christmas Ideas Part 2: Osmo REVIEW

The tech that makes up the Osmo is fantastic and simply works will with the IOS and Apple ecosystem.  The price, as noted above, may seem steep, but you will not likely find a better educational option for your school aged child.  In addition to the merits of the application and the device, the company itself has been incredibly generous.  The Buy One, Give one program provided over 5000 devices to schools throughout the USA.  I hope that they choose to bring this system back or even a BOGO 50% sale would be appreciated.  I am certain that many people would buy the device. If buying from their site directly, there are referral rewards that can lower the sticker price.

For more information, visit playosmo.com.
Find Osmo on Facebook and Twitter.


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