Apps, Education, Fun Friday, Games, K-5, Language Arts, Math, Parenting, Teaching Tools

Opt for Osmo for Optimum Fun

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.

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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.

3-12, Creative Thinking, Education, Fun Friday, Videos

W-ord Channel 7 News

I am literally typing on my keyboard with my fingers right now as I literally attempt to compose this Phun Phriday blog post without literally exaggerating the cleverness of this video.

Comedian/Talk-Show Host John Oliver teamed up with Cookie Monster to make this hilarious 5-minute news parody about words in the headlines.  Despite the presence of Cookie Monster, the video’s amusement factor increases proportionally with your age, as you will understand more of the references.

Even though I usually try not to stick in any curriculum references on my Phun Phriday post, I could literally envision my students attempting a similar video with some of our vocabulary words…

Education, Games, K-5, Language Arts, Parenting, Teaching Tools, Writing

Scrabble Flash

Scrabble Flash

I am continuing my series of “Gifts for the Gifted” posts today by recommending a game that occupied my daughter for many days after receiving it for Christmas a couple of years ago when she was 8.  And, I must admit, I played it a lot, too!

My daughter and I both love word games and puzzles.  Unfortunately, she has witnessed the somewhat cut-throat Scrabble tournaments I’ve played with a few of my friends, and has no interest in challenging me in that particular board game.

Scrabble Flash, though, allows for all different levels of play.  And, as the name suggests, it does not take hours to play.

The game consists of 5 electronic cubes that interact with each other.  There are 3 game possibilities, and they can each be played individually or by a group.  For all of the games, each cube shows a letter, and the goal is to put the cubes together to form words.  It’s fun to shuffle the cubes around, and seems almost magical when they communicate with each other.

Not only is Scrabble Flash a great game to have it home, it also works well in a classroom as a center or a rainy day recess game.  And, it is relatively inexpensive.

Scrabble Flash is currently on sale at ToysRUs for $9.99.  Check here to see if it’s available near you!

For more ideas on “Gifts for the Gifted” you can check out this post, or my Pinterest Board.  Come back every Friday through December 20th for more engaging and educational gift ideas for the kids in your life!