Family Tested Review: The Osmo Genius Kit Gaming System for iPad

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This Family Tested product is an award-winning game system and educational toy called Osmo.

Created by young parents, it will change the way your child interacts with the iPad by opening it up to hands-on play. The Osmo Genius Kit Gaming System for iPad comes with five games: Tangram, Words and Numbers use physical objects that come with the set, whereas Words and Masterpiece only require use of the Osmo reflector and base. Each game can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App store.

MSRP: $129.99 (Includes base with mirror, stand for your iPad and physical sets for Tangram, Words and Numbers)
AGE RECOMMENDATION: 6 years +
RETAIL AVAILABILITY: Best Buy Canada, Amazon.ca Indigo

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FAMILY TESTED REVIEW #1:
Shoshana, Roberto, Gabriela (6) and Jordyn (3).

I had never heard of Osmo before being provided with this fantastic opportunity, but I can tell you that I will be recommending it to anyone and everyone that has kids that can’t get enough of their iPads.

I had told my daughters a bit about Osmo before we got it and when it finally arrived, I couldn’t get it open fast enough.  It is very well packaged and easy enough to figure out how to assemble/set up.  It does take some time to set up, but that’s to be expected because the iPad needs to be configured for the system and the various games need to be downloaded first before playing.  However, the setup is straightforward and once you set it up it’s fun for everyone, even my 3-year old daughter enjoys it.

My 6-year old was having so much fun that she wanted to skip dinner to keep playing.  I assured her that she could eat and Osmo wouldn’t be going anywhere.  Like I said before, Osmo is a great tool for anyone with kids that love their iPads.  Up to this point, my kids have been mainly using the iPad to play various applications or to watch videos, but Osmo makes their iPad much more interactive and entertaining.  The activities are endless and that makes for happy kids and one happy mother.

— Shoshana and Roberto are a married couple with two daughters. Gabriela is 6 and Jordyn is 3. Gabriela is very creative and loves to draw, build and create different things.  Jordyn is very active and loves to do puzzles and play games with numbers and shapes.

 

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FAMILY TESTED REVIEW #2:
Danielle, Dean, Malcolm (9), Kaitlin (7) and Evan (6).

We were eating breakfast on a Saturday morning when there was a knock at the door: our Osmo had finally arrived! Cereal bowls were pushed out of the way and toast crumbs swept off the table as my children grabbed the Ipad and we prepared to set it up.

First off, I loved the packaging. Having individual boxes that all attach together with magnets is such a smart idea. It’s an easy way to keep all those little pieces together (this is a constant struggle for all toys and games in our house). The set up was straight forward and I created profiles for all three children and both adults in our house. The kids got a kick out of the emoticons and liked choosing the ones they would use to represent themselves. After that, they were more than ready to get going!

I figured that I or my partner would have to go through the different apps on the Osmo and then teach our kids about them. Things didn’t work out that way. Kaitlin, 7 years old, jumped in on the Tangram app as soon as I showed her the icon and quickly figured out how to maneuver her way through the different activities. We learned that having lots of space on the table was important while also making sure that the camera was placed correctly. Those tangrams needed to be put just so, but Kaitlin persevered and was excited as she moved through the levels. Malcolm, 9 years old, and Evan, 6 years old, tried the Tangram app first as well. I loved watching the wheels turn in their heads as they worked on problem solving and spatial skills when trying to find the answer. They were great at encouraging each other and occasionally had to be told to keep their hands to themselves as they tried to solve the puzzle for someone else. The adults did finally get to take their turn and eventually learned how terrible we both were when it came to Newton (an app our children fondly call “Marble Run”) in comparison to the kids.

Before being approached via email to do a review, I had only seen the Osmo at the school where I teach. My colleague across the hall was using it as part of his after school program. Kids there seemed to enjoy using the Tangrams app and comparing their progress. I am excited to take this club over for him next year as I will now have more of an idea how to use the programs and try to challenge the 10 & 11 year students that were using it.

I think that everything that the children do on the Ipad, they view as a form of entertainment. Some of the activities are more passive, while Osmo seems to require children to be more active learners. The Tangrams and Newton apps seem to be the ones that went over best in our home. Though they enjoyed the Words and Numbers, they didn’t seem to lend themselves to a great amount of creativity. Kaitlin is a beginning reader and enjoyed using Words. My partner was happy to watch her achieve success and progress through the levels. Drawing seemed to be the program they would be least likely to use. All three of them became easily frustrated with the pictures they produced, though Evan and Malcolm did enjoy watching the play back of their hand movements.

As a teacher I like to see children figure out ways to solve problems without my intervention. I want them to be able to talk about the process and how they would do things differently or more efficiently the next time. Osmo definitely lends itself to this and I am looking forward to continuing to use this as a learning tool in my home. I would highly recommend this to other families. The only problem is, sharing the Ipad with the rest of the family!

— Danielle is a teacher and her partner Dean is a millwright. Their blended family includes three kids: Malcolm, aged 9, is lover of all things related to Lego and Robin; Kaitlin, aged 7, loves Shopkins, Batgirl and Hello Kitty; and Evan, aged 6, loves Teen Titans Go! and playing Hippy Bros.
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FAMILY TESTED REVIEW #3:
Carmen, Ray, David (9) and Ian (7).

I recently saw an ad circulating on Facebook for Osmo. It looks so great that I “saved” it to research later as well as sharing it with my friends. It looked so cool!

My kids were so excited to open the package. Unfortunately it arrived on a very busy day and we had to go out soon after. They didn’t want to leave once we started playing! Luckily we had less scheduled for the next day and we had a blast checking out all of the games.

The games were very easy to figure out. We are still working out some of the added features such as making custom word games on the ‘words’ app (which is a feature I absolutely love!), but the system as a whole is very user friendly.

My kids really love it. The fact that the games are creative and educational is great. We normally restrict the amount of time they spend on “screens” but the fact that they are learning and having fun led me to relax the rules a bit.  They often asked to play Osmo rather than one of the other games on the iPad. I’m not sure that my kids necessarily think of the iPad in terms of education versus entertainment.  They are entertained by Osmo without thinking of it in educational terms. Which is something I like. I like that they are learning without even realizing it.

My kids love the Tangram app as they love puzzles, as well as the Numbers game. I like playing Words. I love that the difficulty level is easily adjustable to accommodate different ages or abilities.

Osmo has been fun for more than my kids. I’ve shown it to my friends and family and the adults may have even used it more than the kids.  My mum and I ended up playing the versus mode on ‘words’ and had a blast competing against each other. My friends played the ‘numbers’ app for more than 30 minutes while visiting. Their son loved it too when he finally got a chance to play.  Some of the kids that have visited have asked to play as soon as they came over. It was a hit with everyone we showed it to.

Once again, thank you for this opportunity. We loved it!

— Carmen’s family is a busy family of four living in Kelowna BC. When not working, Golf fanatic dad Ray helps take care of two very active boys—David who is 9 and Ian who is 7—while mum Carmen wishes she could have some quiet time for reading and sleeping.

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FAMILY TESTED REVIEW #4:
Jenelle and partner with three kids (aged 9, 6 and 11 months).

Our family was so excited to be chosen to review the new Osmo Genius Kit. I had seen Osmo featured in an online ad prior to receiving the box, so I had a vague notion of what Osmo was. Our children (a boy who is 6 and a girl who is 9) had never heard of Osmo. They were thrilled to open the package and see all the smaller boxes containing the different games and immediately started debating which one they would try first.  As parents, we appreciated how the boxes are magnetized and stick together so that the Osmo kit can store away neatly on our office shelf. The setup was very quick and easy to do. It only took 10 minutes or so to download the apps and set up the Osmo base and reflector and then our son was quickly able to start playing the tangram game. Overall we were very impressed with the graphics, sound effects and intuitive reflector feature. My husband is a bit of a technology snob and he was very impressed with the Osmo system. The pieces are all very well designed and sturdy and the graphic design is modern and clean.

Our children said that they like Masterpiece, Newton and Numbers the most, but they thoroughly enjoyed playing with all of them. Our 6 year old did find the drawing game difficult at first,  but he loved it once he got the hang of it.  Our 9 year old especially loved the Newton game and had fun using different objects such as the tangram pieces and a pen to manipulate the balls in the game. Our 6 year old has been doing a combo of private and homeschool due to his medical special needs and I think Osmo will be a fantastic resource to supplement our homeschool plan, especially Words and Numbers.  At his young age, anything that makes learning fun is a win! As a house rule, we try to limit screen time to just the weekends, but I have found myself letting the kids play Osmo daily.  We would much prefer they play with Osmo since it is an interactive learning game rather than letting them passively watch TV or playing regular video games.

Overall, we are enjoying the Osmo system so much, that we have promised our children that we will look into purchasing the coding add-on for them. They have both shown an interest in learning basic coding and I think the Osmo coding system will be a great starting point for our 6 year old since he is still learning to read and Osmo features a visual, hands on method.

Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to test this amazing technology!

— Jenelle’s family is from Chilliwack, BC. Their daughter just turned 10 and loves figure skating, golf, reading and crafts. Their older son is 6 and is into Star Wars, science experiments and riding his scooter. Their youngest son is 11 months old and pretty much loves anything his older siblings are playing with! 

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