Sure, our kids love to play with iPads like uh, all kids these days, but no matter how educational an app may be, it’s usually a solitary activity. We’ve loved collaborative games made for iPad like Duo Plink (though the company is sadly no longer) and now there’s the new Osmo iPad gaming device, which just launched today.
Osmo is designed to let kids learn and play together as a group using the iPad, but not just using an iPad. Which looks pretty amazing to me.
Using a reflective camera that attaches to your iPad at the top and base, Osmo turns physical items in front of the screen into actual game pieces — like tangram shapes, letter tiles, and pretty much anything else the camera senses. (Small siblings perhaps?)
In the Tangram game, you rearrange the shapes on the surface in front of the iPad to form the design shown on the screen. As each shape is moved into the correct spot, it lights up on screen. When the tangram is complete, Osmo brings up a new outline on screen and the game begins again. In Words, players can compete individually or as teams to find and assemble the correct letter tiles to form the words Osmo flashes on screen. And in Newton, grab a pen and paper (and anything else handy) to guide bouncing balls around the screen and toward the target.
In other words, Osmo gives your kid the ability to play with real stuff in real life with their real hands, instead of just pointing and clicking to 2-D versions of it on a screen. We love that. But really, the best way to grasp what Osmo is all about (besides playing it yourself) is to check out this video that shows Osmo in action.
We’re excited about the possibilities for this beyond gaming. Osmo has been running pilot programs in elementary school classrooms with fantastic results. Not only are kids working together to solve problems, they’re drawing upon each other’s creativity and strengths to do so.
For all of us who swore we’d never let our kids near our iPads, Osmo gives us a decent excuse to go back on our words and hand it over. We’ll just insist that they let us play too.
Purchase your Osmo iPad gaming device at their website for $79.99.