Osmo for iPad {Review}


We’ve been hearing the buzz about Osmo for a while, so were excited to receive our own unit to review!

Keeping up with my 7yo son’s interest in technology can be challenging. With three teenage siblings in the house, he’s surrounded by a lot of sophisticated gadgets and platforms, and has become relatively savvy with them all.

But I don’t want him to get too far ahead of himself – as a 1st grader, he still needs to build a solid framework of knowledge and education despite his digital prowess. Which is why I have been so pleased and enthusiastic about Osmo, a new educational gaming kit for the iPad (2, 3, 4, Mini, Air and Air).

Osmo Tangible Play for iPad

Osmo is an ingenious device that adds real-world, tangible play to 5 creative, educational apps on the iPad.

  • Tangram –  Build picture puzzles with well-made, brightly-colored wood pieces.
  • Words – Use letter tiles to add the first letter to a word, spell a word completely, or race your friends to spell a word.
  • Newton – Construct lines and pathways to direct bouncing balls towards a target.
  • Masterpiece – Turn any image into an easy-to-draw outline, helping to build artistic skills.
  • Numbers – Add, count and multiply the tiles to match the numbers on the bubbles.

There is SO much to love about Osmo and these apps. The user experience is very intuitive – my son was able to navigate the apps easily and get the hang of each game after just a few times playing. The graphics are bright and crisp and the images used (in Words especially) are high quality. Osmo manages to be both age-appropriate and sophisticated; there is nothing that screams “kiddie game” about this kit. I’ve also been very pleased with how the Osmo apps are quickly responding to my son’s skill level. Each game is advancing in difficulty as different areas are “unlocked” based on my son’s success. There are also several features (music, graphics, etc) built in to the games to offer earnest encouragement (without being patronizing).

Here’s a video of my 7yo son Eli with Osmo in action (*note: at the time of this review, only 3 apps were available with Osmo – Tanagram, Words, and Newton) –

if you cannot see this video, please click through to YouTube

Here are some other fantastic videos from the creators of Osmo about the kit:

In my opinion, children are becoming more digitally savvy at younger ages, but still have too few quality, educational, age-appropriate resources for engaging with that technology. I think this is the genius of Osmo, and I definitely believe it’s a step towards the future of how children will learn. Already the units have been adopted in 7,500 schools in 42 countries, and the makers of Osmo have said they hope to create more games and more practical applications for the technology. Looking at my 7yo son, and how much he (and frankly, my older children as well!) has been challenged and encouraged by playing with Osmo, I’m excited for that future!