“Osmo”, educational games on tablets to help children progress and introduce them to coding

Paradoxically, many parents try to keep their children away from screens during the summer holidays, but this can be an ideal way to get them to learn new activities or to revise certain basic principles at school which are not entirely governing. . This is the bet made by Osmo, a series of educational games on tablets, aimed at an audience from 3 to 12 years old.

These learning packages – which require you to have an iPad – consist of a sensor to detect the accompanying playing pieces. When the sensor is placed on the iPad, the applications corresponding to each activity are downloaded and the tablet is placed on a table, according to the suggested exercises, the child will be able to move letters, numbers and shapes to complete suggested exercises, depending on their school level.

The Osmo interface resembles the dashboard of a spaceship: you then select the type of game and the level of difficulty adapted to the child’s age. One of Osmo’s strengths lies in its very playful operation. The child does not directly manipulate the screen, but the pieces of each game: numbers, letters, “tangram” puzzles… For the latter, it is a matter of reproducing a figure using geometric shapes. The sensor then detects the various tokens allocated on the playing area (a virtual square placed in front of the screen and bounded by the reflector). 500 different puzzles – more or less raised – are proposed to collect the wooden pieces. Each successful silhouette unlocks the next level, thus developing the child’s sense of observation and landmarks in space.

As in “big” video games, small rewards are unlocked as you progress, inviting you to persevere and return to an activity. The universes corresponding to each activity are simple and colorful, and the navigation is intuitive enough not to ask parents (too much). For example for speak up, the math game, the child walks in a sea world. He can practice counting, adding, subtracting and multiplying. Success with math exercises gives the opportunity to get new boats, and at the same time the child can learn more about fish. He collects cards summarizing the characteristics of each species.

The game word allows you to guess and spell hidden words. He introduces himself as a “hangman”, the child must find the missing letters for the word represented by a picture. It is possible to play it for two, thanks to lots of blue and red letters, and to look for words in languages ​​other than French. Other activity, Masterpiece, which consists of rendering an image on a sheet placed in front of the screen. Thanks to the reflector, the lines and curves the child draws are shown on the screen, making it possible to work on hand-eye coordination and stimulate creativity.

Letters, numbers and tree shapes allow children to perform manipulations that will be recognized by the Osmo sensor attached to the tablet.  (AD)

Available separately from the starter kit geniusthe set Coding also worth a detour. Its originality consists in transforming the tablet into a first computer coding experience and making it accessible to children. Several themes allow the child to have fun while learning to code: a game to create musical rhythms, another to learn about programming and develop his logic thanks to a handsome monster that will guide the little ones step by step . Finally, it is also possible to play for two with puzzles to be solved to progress in this first approach.

Other packs exist to continue the Osmo experience, which is meant to be playful and fun, halfway between the classic holiday notebook and the video game. Although it is expensive (it costs 120 euros for the Genius box with five games, the reflector, the parts and the storage boxes and another 100 euros for the kit Coding) and limiting in terms of hardware (games are only available on Apple iPads, not on Android tablets), the discovery of these activities offers a gateway that is as innovative as it is interesting to the many areas of learning for children from 3 to 11 years. .

Osmo Genius and Osmo Coding, my first kitfrom 3 years, guide price 120 and 100 euros.

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