With Osmo, the games happen outside the iPad screen

September 9, 2015

What if I told you that there is an iPad app where kids interact with physical objects instead of the screen. It’s exactly what the makers of Osmo did. Their educational game set bridges between the physical and the digital world. By doing so, Osmo pleases kids, educators and parents.

Once you downloaded the apps, you simply insert your iPad on the stand and place the red reflective mirror over the iPad camera to be ready to play. This is when the magic of Osmo is revealed. Kids use real objects instead of the iPad screen to draw, write words or solve puzzles. They draw with any pen and paper. They play Tangram by positioning actual pieces with their hands to reproduce the shape displayed on the screen. They write words with cardboard letters. For me, it’s a must-have play set if you own an iPad.

We bought it because my four-year-old son likes to draw and play with building blocks. He only plays Masterpiece and Tangram for now. The two other game apps, Newton and Words, are made for school-aged kids. Masterpiece allows him to draw more complicated things and scenes by drawing over the outlines. He learns while having fun.

The time-lapsed videos that you can keep and share is useful. To give you an example of what it looks like, I’m sharing a video of a drawing he did last week. As you can see, it captures everything that my son did to make his creation.

You’re not restricted to the drawings included in the game. Kids can turn any photo into a drawing outline. The next video depicts the creative possibilities with a nice surprise at the end for grandma.

From what I experienced, Osmo develops creativity, fine motor skills, problem solving and spatial skills in a fun way. The games keep the kid’s attention. They are many levels and many ways to play each game. Kids can move to more advanced levels or challenge a friend. For these reasons, there are no doubts in my mind that my son will play with Osmo for a long time.

Inside the box are the red reflective mirror that goes over the iPad camera, the stylish iPad stand, 2 alphabet letter tile sets, 7 wood tangram shapes, and instructions for downloading 3 free apps in the App Store. You can buy it for $79.99 USD / $99.95 CAD on Osmo, at an Apple store, on Amazon (USA) or Amazon (Canada).

We need more games and apps where the iPad is an accessory, a guide, a support to the game instead of being where the actions are taken place. I hope this will give ideas to other makers and developers to explore what else is possible.

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