2020 has forced us to rethink screen time in this household. We’ve had to incorporate more technology into our daily routine as well as hands on play. So when we found the Osmo brand which combines real life learning with screen time – we were instantly intrigued.
So we reached out to find out more about the creators behind this device and also decided to try it out for ourselves. This is what we found.
What is Osmo?
The Osmo brand create interactive toys that combine technology with physical play. You order your chosen set which comes with an Osmo stand and reflector, pop it on your device and then download the app to get started. The kids play in real life and they see their efforts mirrored on the device in an engaging and fun way.
What is the Little Genius Starter Kit?
Osmo has a variety of different products on offer including the Math Wizard Starter Kit, Kindergarten Starter Kit and the Genius Starter Kit. We opted for the Little Genius Stater Kit which is aimed at children between three and five. This young Londoner is three and a half (so a little on the young side), but he thoroughly enjoyed getting acquainted with the set and exploring the various games.
The Little Genius Starter Kit set comes with a silicone play mat and a couple of boxes containing the real life element part of the set. One box contains a variety of sticks and rings (all BPA free and dishwasher safe) and the other has 19 brightly coloured costume pieces that fit around a little boy. The pieces are durable (as expected with a high end toy) and my son thoroughly enjoyed playing the dressing up game and giggled away as he saw his efforts in real life take effect on screen.
How do you set up your Osmo kit?
The set-up (as with any of these digital games) can take a little bit of time. This can be frustrating to a child who wants to play with the item RIGHT NOW! Fortunately in this instance it was not too complex and took only around 5 minutes to complete (phew).
You download the free app, select your kit and download the games you want to play. During the process you also have the option to download the parent app which allows parents to keep track of little Londoner’s progress. We didn’t initially, but given that the toy has been such a success we will.
What ages is the Little Genius Starter Kit suitable for?
The Little Genius Starter Kit is aimed at children between three and five and this little Londoner is on the young side at three and a half but he still really enjoyed the games (although we had to help re-engage him a few times to start with.)
His favourite game has to be the dressing-up ‘Costume Party’ where he dressed the characters in different outfits and Stories’ (which uses the same pieces with a different game) was also a firm favourite as he created stories (and narrated them to us). In terms of learning I can already see that he has brought some of the activities he does with the Osmo into his day to day play like wanting to dress up and explore new characters that he has discovered through the game.
Squiggle Magic takes the children on an adventure where they have to create different characters, like a crab and a robot, and see these come to life on the screen. The other game using the same pieces is all about literacy with a focus on phonics and spelling as the children have to use the pieces to create letters and connect them to a word. This was a bit more challenging for the kid – but he gave it a good go nevertheless.
What is our verdict?
We thoroughly enjoy this educational toy as it provides screen time and real life play. I like that the set will grow with this young Londoner too as there are many other add-on options to explore including the Math Wizard Game Bundle, Detective Agency and the Math Champion Bundle (which we have already ordered for his Christmas present!)
The Little Genius Start Kit is £79.99 and would make for a great Christmas present for children aged 3 and above. As well as buying it direct from the Osmo website, you can also find it on Amazon, John Lewis and Smyth Toys.