Woohoo! Here we go! This is the beginning of this year’s “Gifts for the Gifted” posts – a series of articles I do each Friday in November and December to give teachers and parents ideas for great toys and games for your children. To see what gifts I’ve recommended in the past, take a look at my Pinterest Board. (I also have one for Books for Gifted Children.)
I reviewed today’s product, Osmo, in May, but some of you may not have been readers way back then. You should definitely check out that first post as it gives some details that I will probably leave out in the interest of brevity in this article.
Put quite simply, Osmo is a set of accessories for your iPad that allows players to interact with real physical objects that are recognized by your iPad within Osmos’ free apps. My classes (K-5 gifted students) tested the product out last year before it hit the market, and absolutely loved it.
There are currently 3 free apps: Words, Tangrams, and Newton. The apps will not work without the set that you can currently purchase for $79.99 (free shipping). The set includes a base for the iPad, a mirror to place over the iPad camera, letter tiles, and tangram pieces.
In case you are concerned that your child or students will get bored with the 3 apps, I can assure you this hasn’t happened in my classroom yet. The company does hope to add additional apps in the future, and they have made significant updates to the current ones over the last year. In addition, the Words app allows for customization so that you can basically create your own games using photos and words that you load yourself. (See instructions here.) This feature is tremendously powerful in a classroom setting. You can make Osmo a center to practice certain words, differentiate with several albums, and do class play to review vocabulary by mirroring your iPad on your screen.
There are two reasons that I recommend Osmo: it’s good for kids and the company is extremely supportive of its customers – particularly educators. If you are looking for a great gift to give a teacher (perhaps pooling money with several parents) or a unique gift to give to a younger family member, then Osmo is definitely a great choice. You can purchase Osmo directly from their website, or at an Apple store near you.