What is it
Osmo is an educational gaming system that works with your iPad and three game apps to transform the physical space in front of the iPad into a digital game board. Players can use physical objects to interact with the games. Recommended for ages six and older, the games help increase problem solving, creative thinking, visual, spatial, and abstract thinking skills. The one Osmo product comes with 3 games:
- Tangram – a game based on an ancient puzzle. The player has physical geometric pieces of different colours, and uses these to re-create the puzzle on the screen. As they match the outline, the screen will highlight the correctly placed pieces.
- Newton – the aim of the game is to guide balls that fall from the top of the screen to target areas on-screen. You can do this by drawing lines, scribbles, and doodles on a piece of paper in front of the iPad, or by placing physical objects anywhere in the physical play area.
- Words – a word game played in pairs in which the children guess the hidden word (related to the image shown on screen) by placing real-life letter tiles in front on the iPad – the app will detect how many letters were correct. Children can take it in turns or play ‘fast and furious’ to see who can get the most correct letters and complete the word fastest.
The Osmo product itself comprises a base to stand your iPad in and what they refer to as the Reflector which slots over the iPads front facing camera. The area in front of the tablet is the playing field – real-world items in this area are seen by the iPad. Compatible with iPad 2 and up.
What our team of testers said
"You have to match the shapes. It really makes you think" - Girl aged 11 (Tangram)
"Oh you have to guess the words" - Girl aged 9 (Words)
"I am going to make a funnel and they will just go into the target, watch!" - Boy aged 11 (Newton)
- Tangram: encourages a range of cognitive skills
- Newton: encourages hand eye coordination, logic thinking and experimentation
- Words: encourages spelling, word recognition and vocabulary building
What our experts think
Osmo is a simply fabulous example of educational technology toy that is genuinely fun, has real developmental benefits and makes best use of both the technology and physical toys. So novel and so fun we absolutely love it!
Each of the 3 games has different and real developmental benefits. We’ve detailed these individually in 3 separate app review posts (see links from ‘what is it’ above). In summary:
Tangram: adds something valuable to the classic game without taking away the physical 3D skill required – tips and tracking success on screen really helped to encourage the children and we watched them improve as they played.
Newton: we particularly loved watching children learn to play Newton and discover the various ways they could achieve the goal. Fabulous development of logical thinking skills and inspiring them to think outside the box.
Words: was such a great social educational game. The children mostly played this as a 2 player game competitively and got really enthusiastic. It was great to see them thinking strategically about how to lay out their tiles so they could easily and quickly find the letter they wanted.
We were delighted to see the apps were easy to download and the iPad fitted well into the base (although we had to remove its case) and provided good support.
All in all we really can’t recommend this product highly enough!
It would be even better if...
Probably the hardest step of all was getting the 3 game pieces out of the tight box! Providing a way to easily slide them out without having to tip upside-down and shake would be brilliant.
- RRP: £69.95
- Brands: Osmo, Play Osmo
- No batteries required
- Interact with an app
- Toy Types: Electronic & app toys
Puzzles & games
- Types of skills developed: Categorisation & comparison
Colour, shape and pattern recognition
Fine motor skills
Logic, strategy & problem solving
Memory, concentration & attention
Physical & motor skills
Pincer grip and writing
Speech, language and communication skills
Teamwork, turn taking & sharing