First, I want to kick off this post by saying that Osmo sponsored this post (and they gave me the code YTRAVEL20 for all of you to get 20% off all their products on PlayOsmo.com to brighten your summer even more – just FYI).
Summer is here, and the kids are stoked to be free from the textbooks. Parents, after the year (or more) of remote learning, I know you are too!
I’m sure you’re racing to the beach, the neighborhood pool, or to the river with tube floats in tow for outside connectedness and relaxing fun.
However, it won’t be long before the days get harder to fill, the kids start getting a little bored, you’ll need a break, and the concern will start setting in that they’ll forget everything they learned for the past year and won’t be ready to return to the classroom.
As a previous teacher, I know how wide that learning gap can grow over the summer. It’s a good idea that amongst the summer fun, you help your kids to stay connected to learning as well.
That doesn’t mean boring worksheets and rote learning. You can keep them in the closet. I’ve discovered the perfect hands-on learning tool that will make your kids think they are just having fun, rather than getting an education.
It’s the Osmo learning platform and we’re working in partnership with Osmo to test it and share it with you. I’m testing it not just as a mother who homeschools, but also as a previous elementary school teacher with 15 years’ experience so I have an insider knowledge on the value of educational tools and programs.
Savannah and I had a fun afternoon playing with the Osmo games. It’s the most I’ve seen her absorbed in this kind of activity and it has ignited a curiosity and passion in her for art, city explorations, and coding music (something I would never have the skills to teach her.)
Now let’s dive into what Osmo is, the different games you can experience, and why it’s so beneficial for your family.
What is Osmo?
Osmo is an educational learning platform that uses tangible pieces to create a unique, hands-on learning experience. It is designed to build confidence and enhance creativity.
This interactive tool works with an iPad and tangible materials to help children explore concepts and engage with learning in a meaningful way.
The learning platform has a range of Starter Kits designed for ages from 3 through to 10, and include the Genius Starter Kit, Little Genius Starter Kit, the Creative Starter Kit and the Coding Starter Kit.
Each kit has its own game function through the app, which the children follow while they complete tasks, build structures, draw, or even code to make music.
It can then transfer into their everyday world in ways such as backyard scavenger hunts to collect items for Monster, family dance parties to the music they make through Coding Jam, or even start planning a family vacation to Paris after spending time investigating the city through Detective Agency.
First impressions do count. The Osmo Learning Starter Kits had me at first arrival in their colorful and attractive packaging. The kits arrived with the required game pieces well organized in stackable containers that are easy to set up and pack away.
Any teacher will geek out at something so well presented like this that is easy to manage, and implement, AND potentially a great teaching tool.
Mostly, Savannah was excited and immediately started asking questions about coding. What was it? Why do you use it? And then her imaginings about how beneficial it would be to her as she loved games and design and then she could build her own thing.
So, without even opening the box, Osmo was already achieving the first important step for learning – activating interest and curiosity .
Now to move on to see if the experience of the product lived up to how well it was designed and packaged.
As a former educator, homeschool mother, and parent; I can confidently say Osmo has produced an engaging, interactive experience that helps children learn difficult concepts in a way that is fun.
I’m not the only teacher who thinks so, Osmo is used in over 50,000 schools worldwide!
Osmo is the perfect addition to your summer activities to help kids stay engaged with learning and also pursue new interests.
I have never seen an educational tool like it before. Savannah and I won’t forget recognizing its most uniquely cool function as we engaged in our first game: Tangrams.
“Oh, my goodness.” I screamed “It knows what you’re doing!! How does it do that?”
Savannah had just completed a tangram and the screen started celebrating her solving the puzzle by flashing the completed colored design.
This was a delightful Osmo discovery.
The Osmo uses the iPad camera to see what you’re doing and then reflects it back to you on the screen.
Aha! That’s why colors were flashing as she was building, giving her a hint of what tangram piece to use and then lighting it up when she got it right.
I was sold straight away on this educational tool.
Tangrams are not easy to do but are something kids love. Most of them find it challenging, and I’ve seen many students give up on tangrams over frustration at not being able to see how the pieces form the pictures.
The Osmo cleverly overcomes this challenge and empowers kids to see the bigger picture, think in a new way, and create.
This greater understanding will help them solve tangrams (and any kind of puzzle) with confidence in future activities outside of the Osmo.
Reasons Why Osmo Is Great For Your Family!
Your family will quickly fall in love with the Osmo and discover the many ways it can enhance your family’s fun and the kid’s education.
Here are a few of the reasons why I find the Osmo a valuable learning through play resource.
Learning while having fun
The best way to learn is as a side effect of fun. In fact, I’d say learning is something all humans really do love. We just don’t love to do it if it is meaningless or feels boring and rigid.
These were the kinds of learning tools as a teacher I would have lovingly embraced as they’d make my job so much easier.
Smiling children understanding difficult concepts without much help from me? Yes, please.
Kids need to be immersed and engaged in an activity to fully grasp the concepts. If they can play while they learn, they will be more likely to work through the challenging parts with curiosity rather than feeling the frustration of “just not getting it.”
There are no feelings of failure or insecurity with these games.
The games are so intuitive we could work out what to do without looking at the instructions.
Except for the coding game, where I was completely baffled, but Savannah picked up what to do within a couple of minutes and then taught me how it worked and what was happening.
Progresses with your child
There’s no pressure to move at a set pace, or tackle concepts above your level with the Osmo. The games are designed to increase in difficulty as your child is ready for it.
Let your child choose their level for each game based upon their feelings of confidence. I love how they can figure that out themselves.
Savannah started with the easy tangrams level as it was her first time doing them and she didn’t feel like she knew what she was doing. Once she got it, she confidently tapped the “hard” level and mastered it.
This is just another way Osmo empowers learners.
Healthy screen time
One of the concerns I hear most from parents (including myself) is the over-dependence our children have with technology.
It feels like nothing can be done without it and we feel the loss for our kids of never knowing a life without the intrusion of smart devices.
But technology is also awesome. We couldn’t be telling you about this cool tool now without it! And technology is a fantastic motivator when it comes to learning. Kids would much rather play a computer game than work through a text book.
If my kids are using technology to learn, then I call that healthy screen time.
Plus, the device comes with parental controls through a dedicated app. You can monitor a child’s progress, track the time played in each game, and view what skills they learned.
Hot Tip: Your kids will love playing the Osmo games and will want to go on it all the time. Use it as a reward. Once you have:
- finished your homework
- cleaned the dishes
- played outside for 30 minutes
We can power up the Osmo and have some fun!
Giving YOU a break
2020 taught us the tremendous burden and strain of teaching your kids from home – something I know well after 8 years of homeschooling.
I am disappointed I only discovered Osmo two weeks before our homeschooling finishes and they go to traditional school.
It could have made my job easier, helped them learn in a fun way, and given me a BREAK!!
Instead of turning on the TV or letting them watch who knows what on YouTube, I can sit down with my cuppa and relax on the porch knowing they’ll be engaged in healthy screen time.
Who am I kidding? You know I’ll be using that time to finally get the endless tasks done like work, laundry, and cake baking.
Once we had finished playing the Osmo learning platforms together, Savannah sat down as quiet as a mouse for the remainder of the afternoon playing with the Osmo.
This is NOT normal Savannah behavior.
She is usually high kicking and cartwheeling every 5 minutes. I can’t tell you how pleasant it was to have the silence of a child heavily engrossed in learning.
Finally, after some time of exclamations of “this is so cool. I love this” She said, “Okay I’m finished today, but I am going on this tomorrow” with a glare at me as if to say, “Don’t even think of trying to stop me.”
(Note: Except she didn’t even wait until tomorrow. She jumped on it again in the evening while we watched the movie Maze Runner with Kalyra.)
Caters to diverse interests with customizations
Have a scientific- minded child? One that loves art and design? What about those who dream of being a detective? Or loves to solve puzzles?
Osmo comes with a many different customizations for a wide range of academic subjects including:
- Coding (Coding Awbie, Coding Jam, Coding Duo)
- Math (Numbers, Pizza Co.)
- Drawing (Monster, Super Studio, Masterpiece)
- Spelling (Words)
- Fundamentals of Physics (Newton)
- Spatial relational skills (Tangram)
- World geography (Detective Agency)
The kits come with 3-5 games in it, and you can purchase additional games outside of the kits.
As there are a wide number of kits you can use with Osmo, it’s an educational tool that can grow with your child’s interests.
Savannah loved the Creative Starter Kit where she learned how to draw witches and princesses. She loved how the Osmo recorded her drawing the pictures, which she could play back after and see it come to life.
It inspired her to take out her sketchbook and do some drawings of her own.
We loved taking the music she created through the coding app to have a little dance party in the kitchen together. Our Instagram followers will know how dance parties in our kitchen were a 2020 thing for us!
And of course, we loved the Detective Agency game where we traveled the world visiting six famous cities, inspecting hundreds of clues with a magnifying glass, and learning about geography and cultures around the world!
We’re always looking for travel inspiration.
Savannah loves Osmo so much that she is asking if she can buy an iPad with her own savings just so she can use Osmo more. (We had to borrow one to trial the Osmo as we’re Android users.)
And she’s 9, so at the upper age limit of who Osmo is intended for. Imagine the joy a younger child would have with years of play on this?
My teacher’s perspective is this is a fantastic tool to help engage your child in the joy of learning. Through it they will discover new interests, pursue curiosities, and grow to become an independent, confident learner.
My hope is that the Osmo becomes available for Android tablets as well. They are a worthy educational tool for kids and families, that I’d love to see it open up to more.
Start Your Kids Fun Now!
Don’t forget our PROMO CODE is YTRAVEL20
● Go to PlayOsmo.com
● Get 20% off full priced items!
● Ends 7/31/21