Raising a child in the iPad, YouTube, streaming generation is tricky. We try to follow the guidelines on screen time as advised by our pediatrician, but let’s be honest — children are learning differently now than they ever have before. My son can tell me our solar system’s plants in order from closest to furthest from the sun thanks to a YouTube video (hugs to you, Pluto – you are missed!). At least part of his curriculum at preschool is taught using an interactive touchscreen at the front of the classroom. Seriously, HE’S BARELY FOUR and he can navigate technology better than I can! Enter, Osmo.
Let me start off by saying that this is not a paid endorsement, and Osmo has never reached out to me about writing a review. This is entirely of my own doing because I believe in the product. My introduction to Osmo was unconventional — my son watched a YouTube channel called Ryan ToysReview, which featured Osmo’s Hot Wheels MindRacers game. It looked like fun, and we already had an iPad, so I looked into it for Christmas. Once I realized all of the amazing other educational games you can play on the platform, I knew it was a sure winner. It did not disappoint.
Hot Wheels MindRacers :: Since it’s the reason I researched the product in the first place, I’ll start here. This game allows to you to virtually play with your cars, racing against another user. But it’s more than just racing — it’s strategy. You’re encouraged to wait for those “super” times to boost or attack, then spin in order to counterattack. It’s more difficult than it seems at first for your wee one, but when they FINALLY catch on to the strategy component — the cause and effect — the game is more entertaining for them. If you have an iPad and a kid that loves cars, it’s a no-brainer.
Tangram :: My son LOOOOOVES puzzles. Like “doing puzzles for three year olds with ease at age one” loves puzzles. This software encourages you to take the shapes you already understand and manipulate them into various pictures. The pictures get more sophisticated as you progress, but there is always a helpful hand to assist if the program recognizes a hesitancy. It’s the perfect next step in his pursuit of all things puzzles.
Numbers :: My son is engrossed in basic arithmetic at preschool, so this was extremely helpful in reinforcing what he was learning throughout the day. He’s also a terribly sensitive little boy, especially as it pertains to animals and their well-being, so he is ecstatic when all the fish are safe in their healthy home!
Words :: Little man is also just about done with his phonics curriculum in preschool, so this was also terrifically helpful in reinforcing what he had already learned. I’m pushing this program the hardest, as I’m eager for him to begin reading in earnest over the next few months. With the Summer ahead, and my data account connected to my iPad, you can be sure I’ll be bringing this to any vacation destinations.
THINGS TO NOTE :: You will need an iPad or iPhone to use this system, and you will need to purchase a base/reflector in order to use any of the software. I purchased the Genius Kit, which comes with the base/reflector, Tangram, Numbers and Words, then I separately purchased Hot Wheels MindRacers.
FINAL THOUGHTS :: Seriously, I love this for my son. I can’t believe what a difference it has made, and the confidence it has given him in his studies. We were playing Numbers just prior to his arithmetic lessons in school, and his teacher remarked as to how quickly he caught on. While I may be a lot of things, a teacher I am not. Osmo has really helped me do better for him at home in that regard. I can’t wait until he is a little older so I can order him one of the coding games, but am thinking of getting him the Creative Set in the meantime.
If you’re debating as to whether to purchase an Osmo set or game for your child, DO IT! It’s amazing. Just like workbooks and pencils, technology can be used as an effective tool in education thanks to companies like Osmo.