Osmo are an award winning game system that changes the way your child interacts with the iPad by opening them up to hands-on play. The Osmo Creative Kit comes in a box with: an Osmo base for iPad, Osmo Creative Board, 3 Osmo Game Apps (Monster, Newton and Masterpiece), 6 Dry Erase Markers and a Fuzzy Pouch. To get started you need to download the games from iTunes and create an account on the Osmo website and you are ready to go! The Osmo system works by having your iPad sitting in the Osmo base, a red reflector then clips on top of your iPad and it is this part that can ‘see’ what you are doing in front of the screen.
You are guided by Mo, the monster, through your choice of three activities where you are prompted to draw a selection of objects. The drawings are done on the special wipe clean Osmo Creative Board with the dry-wipe markers that come in the set. Once you have done your drawing, it will magically appear on the iPad screen in front of you as part of the story! This is very clever and it works extremely well, your drawing is perfectly replicated on the screen and children will find this fascinating. This game is aimed at ages 4-9 and the activities can be played again and again with different versions each time. The game encourages children to use their imaginations and you can save your activity as a video so that your child can show you what they have been up to!
For ages 6-12, this is a drawing game in which you can either choose one of your own images from your device, or one from the large collection of images on the game, which vary in difficulty. The image you want to draw is shown on your iPad screen as an outline, when you move your hand and pen over your Creative Board you will see your pen on the iPad screen and this allows you to watch the screen to trace the outline with your pen. Once the outline is done then you can colour it in, correct any bits and finish it off. Another very clever game that will help your child with their drawing skills, hand-eye coordination and dexterity. We found that once you get on to the more difficult outlines then you may want to invest in some finer point dry-wipe pens so that you can get all the details in there.
I must admit, it took me a few goes on this to work out how to do this one! There are two types of game – rolling and bouncing. In the rolling game, balls are dropped from the top of the screen and you have to draw or find objects which create different shapes and lines on to the Creative Board in order to get the balls to go where you need them to. The balls have to power up a number and you need a certain amount of them to hit the right place. You can draw and wipe off your lines as you go to get just the right angles. The bouncing game is similar, but the balls bounce, so you have to get them to bounce off lines you have drawn or objects that you have placed on the board so they hit the right points. There are no special pieces for this and you can just use the pens, or you can find small objects to help you, you can even use your hands as the game will pick up your hand outlines and the balls will roll or bounce around them! This game is aimed at ages 6-12 and will definitely appeal to those who love problem solving and experimenting to get things to work.
Super Studio – Mickey Mouse
This is an entirely separate game to the Creative Kit, the game box consists of a themed Super Sketch Pad, a Super Marker and a Super Sweeper micro fibre cloth; you need to download the Super Studio app from iTunes and you are ready to go! The Super Sketch Pad sits in front on the Osmo base instead of the Creative Board and on each page there are parts of the image for you to fill in as you go; you are encouraged to be creative with your drawings and then watch your drawings come to life in an animation! There are three stories to choose from which feature all of your best loved characters. The pen that comes with this is quite fine so you are able to add a lot of detail to your drawings and the pad has a special coating which makes the pen rub off with the Super Sweeper cloth when it is slightly damp. This means it can be used many times and by more than one child. Another great game for encouraging creativity and developing imagination.
I have been very impressed with the Osmo Creative Kit; it was so quick and easy to set up, the website will store all of your child’s achievements from the games they have played and you can also download a parent app for this. Osmo was only available on the iPad since its release in 2014 but it has now added the Amazon Fire tablet as a compatible device for some of its kits – check their website for more details. The games are extremely responsive, the instructions are clear and the graphics are very high quality, they are very quick to launch, there is no waiting around, which is great for younger children who can be impatient waiting for games or apps to start up. All the games have high educational value and Osmo have great range of other games such as coding, detective, numbers and words. Each app for the games is free to download but you will need to purchase the game kit in order to use them. Take a look at their website to see what else they have to offer!