Osmo Genius Kit Review: Turn Screen Time into Learning Time
Editor's rating:
10.0
Nela Cvetanovska
Reviewed by Nela Cvetanovska
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We like

Ming-sharpening tool disguised as playtime

Interactive award winning concept

Entertaining way to boost educational development

Countless colorful gaming possibilities

Artistic and creative approach

Durable and tangible iPad accessory

The apps are simple and easily managed by children

We don’t like

The iPad has to be removed from its safety case to be connected to Osmo

How it works

Have you been looking for an unconventional way to work with an app without touching the screen? What If we tell you that there is a tech toy that runs on your iPad but it can detect shapes and objects when you place them in front of it and actually have those things appear on the screen. Sounds like magic doesn’t it?

Welcome to the wonderful futuristic universe of the Osmo Genius Kit. With this product, you get the best of both worlds since there is immediate feedback of an app that you manipulate with real physical objects.

The Osmo Genius kit comes as an educational accessory for an iPad, and for those of you wondering, no, the iPad is not included in the box. The games are meant to be educational yet entertaining so they keep your child focused on learning while playing in the same time.

The creators have described it as a tangible playtime experience and they were even granted the award for the Most Innovative Company in Education for 2017 by Fast Company. It has been included in various toy lists as one of the best toys of 2017 and won Parent’s Choice Magazine’s Gold Award in 2016. TIME magazine included the product in 2014’s Best Invention and famously claimed that it „Turns you into an artiste.“

Design

Design

While unboxing the product, the customer will be welcomed with a greeting and a colorful instruction manual from the manufacturer. This way you can be introduced to all the Osmo family kits and learn more about their visionary products.

On top you will find the white Osmo iPad base and its recognizable red reflector, while inside the box are carefully divided all the game playing pieces and their stackable storage containers.

Although when purchasing this product, you also get the Newton and Masterpiece apps for free, the original box included games are: Tangram, Words and Numbers. They are carefully stocked in separate containers and on top of each there is a user guide that explains the rules.

The Numbers game is in a red container and each piece is red and white. The Tangram comes in a yellow box with 7 shape pieces, all in different colors, while the Words game has 2 sets of all the letters from the alphabet, upper and lower cases included. This is quite convenient in case you need to write a word or a name that has two of the same letters.

A white safety case for the base stand is included so you can keep your tech accessory intact and 2 cute complimentary Osmo logo stickers to glam up your iPad. The overall design is simple yet undeniably charming and tasteful.


Entertainment Value

Entertainment Value

In order for the learning experience to be fun and effortless children need to escape in a world full of wonders and enchantment where grammar and spelling won’t feel like homework, as instead they will seem like going on a magical quest. With the Osmo Genius Kit, there are countless games of words and puzzles that will turn your English class into a fun adventure.

As you can tell from the storing box, the Words game has 2 separate sets of alphabet letters in both red and blue colors. Once you open the game with its adequate app you can choose whether you want to have an Adventure with Osmo characters, play Versus against a friend, Zen with multiple players or Zen Junior for the younger users.

The Adventure game has an adorable owl character named Owla that will guide you on an enchanting educational journey. The game will provide photos of different objects or animals and your child will have to guess the spelling by filling out the empty spaces using the letter blocks. It is constantly entertaining since Owla is interacting with you during the whole guessing game so your children won’t feel like they are taking a test.

As instead, Owla will even help you out and ask you: What do you think this is? I think it’s a CAT! This way children get to learn the proper pronunciation of the word and have a study buddy near them to keep them focused. The cute owl even sparkles tiny hearts every time you get the correct answer so your child can feel rewarded and motivated during the tangible process.
Education

Education

Honestly, who would’ve thought that the physics related Newton game will turn out to be the most fun out of all Osmo games. And the best thing about it is that you don’t need any previous knowledge in this field, just a blank piece of paper on which you can draw borders which will guide the tiny falling dots until they hit the bullseye. It is undeniably the most entertaining way to be introduced to gravity, speed, action and reaction theories.

You can also practice counting, adding and dividing by playing the Numbers game. It comes with number tiles and it is equipped with different levels of difficulty which is quite motivating for children to improve their math abilities. The counting games and number puzzles are solved by placing the appropriate numbered tiles in front of the iPad and there is a reward for each level the child passes, for example discovering a baby goldfish and bringing it back to the ocean.
Logic Skills

Logic Skills

Similar to the other Osmo challenges, The Tangram Game comes equipped with 4 different levels: Easy, Medium, Hard and Harder. The storage box has 7 unique shapes each of them in own color: red, blue, green, teal, yellow, orange and pink. A picture of a two-dimensional origami looking object will appear on the screen and your child will have to place the proper shapes in order to recreate the object. The reflective mirror will detect each object while you’re trying to arrange the piece and make a joyful sound to notify that you are on the right track of completing the task.

As you are making the collage of shapes, the colors of the object will become more vivid and the pieces that are not included will remain in their lighter color so your child can get the idea of which object is missing from the puzzle. Similar to the other games, you will get rewarded for your impeccable logic skills after completing each level with a tiny orange gem.
Creativity

Creativity

If your child is more art oriented and wants to practice its drawing skills, feel free to introduce him/her to Osmo Masterpiece. All you need is a blank piece of paper in front of you and a pencil or any type of coloring pen. The app offers a wide gallery of albums filled with photos of animals, food, nature, cards, creative boards etc.

Once you pick your favorite challenge, the reflective mirror will show your hand and the piece of paper on the screen with the outline of the photo on top of it. All your child needs to do is follow the lines on the screen and recreate the drawing. After the sketch the item, they can have personalized coloring sheet and finish the art project by themselves or move on to another photo.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

It is fair to say that this product is not that hard to use if you follow the step by step instructions. Grownups are advised to help their children place the product correctly and create an account before they hand it over to their children for educational purposes. The basic necessities for using the Osmo Genius are an iPad, an email, Wi-Fi connection and the base stand.

The reflecting mirror needs to be properly adjusted on the top of the iPad, facing the camera. You will have to find the app in the app store just by simply searching for Osmo and download the 3 games you got in the original box.

Once you have your apps on the screen all you need to do is write down your email and create an account so your child can save their hard-earn progress. The great thing about it is that you only have to do it once, you will not have to repeat the dreadful process of making numerous accounts and agreeing to all the terms and conditions for each additional game.

Once you pick the games you got with the Genius kit, you will notice that the Masterpiece and the Newton game are also included for free. You can also purchase additional apps in case your child indeed is a genius and master them in short period of time.

Parents can create individual profiles for their children, pick cute little avatars and give nicknames for each child, as well as write down their birthdays. Once you fill out all the information, a verification link will be sent to your email and you can activate the account.

Once everything is activated, you can rest assure your child has animated companions who will guide them through the whole process and will explain all the rules in a fun and colorful way. The challenges are set up at different levels which are unlocked as children improve their problem solving abilities.

Sizing

Sizing

The size of the actual box of this product is calculated at 11.8 x 5 x 9.7 inches and it weighs around 2 pounds making it a very light and a child friendly learning accessory. Though this product is compatible with the size of your iPad, it will not fit on the stand unless you remove its safety case. This can be inconvenient since children are supposed to use it on daily basis and sooner or later an accident might take place.

iPads are quite pricey and therefore need to be protected from a potential damage especially around children who have a reputation of being reckless with their possessions. An option for including a safety case would be a lifesaver in further models of this product.
Age Range

Age Range

Parents might be intimidated once they see the product and think that you need genius level skills to actually use the kit. However, keep in mind that this kit is recommended for children above the age of 5 and it’s quite simple to use if you follow the instructions.

You might want to help them in signing in and creating an account, as well as borrowing them your email, however, once they play with it a few times, they will be prepared to go back to it without further assistance.

A lot of elderly people who had less contact with technology and have difficulty in exploring the virtual world find this app quite entertaining for getting a glimpse of the future. This would be a lovely gift for grandparents who face difficulties in memorizing or adults who love problem solving challenges.
Price Range

Price Range

Since this is a tech accessory with educational, artistic and scientific benefits, you might find it fairly priced. The product all together seem very well put together and the games come with limitless learning and entertaining possibilities. It is safe to say that all of the family members will find it very interesting and enjoyable since it is programmed with multiple levels of task solving difficulties.

You will be investing in a product which can be used by various age groups, individually or as a group activity. It is a great gift if you want to surprise your loved ones with a durable and long lasting teaching companion and inspire your little ones to learn while they are on a holiday break from school.

Conclusion

It is important that children stay socially engaged throughout the process of play and their attention is focused on completing a logic task rather than just drifting in the virtual world. That is why the Osmo Genius Kit is by far one of the most fascinating educational toys on the market.

It has been proven to have a positive impact on the children’s learning abilities as well as their problem solving skills. What makes it so different than the other schooling methods is that it keeps the children constantly involved and makes sure they don’t stay idle in front of the screen.

It is a wonderful companion for children and adults who need help with concentration and deal with ADHD, autism or learning disabilities. This toy is a great mind sharpening tool for older people and an excellent group playtime activity. It is based on math, languages and physics yet it is almost impossible to get bored with it. If you want to unleash the genius in you, this is the right place to start.
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