I am hard to please when it comes to apps for my tablet. I get bored easily and I’m very picky about what I’ll let my children play. But OSMO, a combination toy and app, is one of the coolest toys to come out this year.
First, you slide your iPad into the base and place the reflector contraption over the iPad’s camera. Then you use the provided shapes and letters to play games on the table in front of the iPad. The reflector picks up your movements on the table and reflects them on the screen. Three games come with OSMO: Tangrams, Words, and Newton.
Tangrams is a riff on the traditional game, where you use geometric shapes to construct pictures. In this version, the picture shows up on the iPad and you then arrange the shapes on the table to match the picture. The iPad tracks your movements and provides tips for completing the picture. When you have completed the picture, the matching shape lights up on the tablet. My two year old loves this game. While I am helping my older kids with schoolwork, he slides the shapes around and is completely captivated by making the pictures. I am actually impressed that he can recreate the pictures that he sees on the iPad.
In Words, you use letters that come with the package to play spelling games. In one version of the game, a picture appears on the screen and you must fill in the missing letters to spell the word. In another version, kids (or adults) can square off with one another to see who can spell the word the fastest.
Newton is an interesting game as well. The idea is to make a ball bounce into a target. To direct the balls, you draw lines on a piece of paper, which will then appear on the iPad. Keep drawing lines until the ball gets close enough to the target and falls in. You can also get creative and use the Word pieces, the tangram pieces, or other objects to direct the balls.
I really love this toy. My kids love this toy. My wife loves this toy. And the tactile aspect of the games makes it so much more than just an app. It will definitely make its way into my carry-on for my next plane ride with the kids.
*Disclaimer: The company provided a sample of the product for my review, but I was not compensated and the opinions are my own.