Thursday, September 13, 2018

Tech Talk - iPad Devices

My kids looooooove iPad time.  Love it.  And I love using their iPads for "good" and finding ways to use them for learning and enrichment.

Today I'm going to talk about two of our very favorite devices that coincide with the iPad.  First up is  Osmo.  Osmo is a base plate and mirror that go onto your iPad and allows the kids to interact with the available games and drawing board.  

The red thing on top of the iPad is the mirror and the white thing it's sitting in is the base and essentially it reflects the eye of the camera onto the surface in front of the ipad.  IT'S SO COOL!!!

Grifin's FAVORITE way to play is using the  monster creative game.  The monster tells them what to draw and then brings their drawing into the game...

My boys both love the  coding awbie game...

I love that the pieces are tangible and aid in the learning process and they have so much fun making the coding sequences.

When we first got Osmo we got the  "genius kit" which comes with a base/mirror as well as the tangram game, numbers game and letters game.  The numbers game is great because there is addition, subtraction and multiplication and the game sort of meets them at their current level and then challenges them from there.  The alphabet game works on letter recognition all the way up to spelling and it also comes with a "Newton" game where they draw lines to solve puzzles and the critical thinking part of it is AWESOME!  There's also a drawing game that Mason LIVES for! 

We also have Osmo Pizza where the kids have to take orders, create the pizzas and then make change as people pay for their orders.  The difficulty increases as you pay and the math can be pretty challenging which I think is awesome.

Coding Jam is on Mason's Christmas list and I have a feeling that some of the brand new  Super Studio sets will end up at our house as well.

So... things I love about the OSMO

1) It's hands on
2) There are TONS of game options
3) Each game can suit kids of all ages/abilities
4) There are no batteries required!  The base/mirror itself are simply positioning your iPad and reflecting the surface so there's nothing additional to power

Things I don't love

1) You have to take the iPads out of their cases to play.  My kids have their iPads in pretty heavy duty cases and taking them on and off every time they want to play is kind of a pain.
2) There are lots of tiny pieces (numbers, dice, letters, money, etc.) - but the games do come with great boxes to store everything... but just be aware!

I really have zero complaints overall - they play with these ALL THE TIME and I love how much they learn.  We've had these for a year or so and have actually ended up purchasing 2  additional bases so that all three kids can play at once.

Next up is the  Square Panda system...

... this one isn't nearly as versatile as the Osmo as it's geared toward kids ages 4-8 to help with reading and phonics.  All the games are free to download from the app store and the games interact with the board and letters that come with it.

My boys aren't into this one at all... but I think that's because they can read ;)  We've been loving it for Griffin's letter practice and early reading and I think we'll be using it a LOT more as she works her way through kindergarten.  I also love that she can keep the iPad in it's case so it's not a whole ordeal when she wants to play.

The biggest pitfalls of this system are that it's definitely pretty specific as far as age range and skills that they're working on and the fact that the board requires 4 AA batteries.  If you have an early reader/preschooler I HIGHLY recommend  this system, but if your kids are already reading or if you're wanting to use it for more than just reading/phonics than Osmo is definitely the way to go.

The other system that I've had my eye on is the  Tiggly.   I've heard good things about it and it seems like it would be great for Griffin and possibly Mason.  Have any of you tried it?  Thoughts?

I hope that y'all found this post helpful and that you maybe found a Christmas gift idea (or two!).  I'm thinking about making "Tech Talk" a recurring thing and would love to know what "tech" topics you guys would want to read about and discuss.  Ideas that I have are how we handle screen time, keeping your kids safe online (restrictions, Family setup on Apple, etc.), favorite apps, etc.  Let me know if you have other ideas!

Happy Thursday, friends!!!

PS - This post contained affiliate links... thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!


  1. If you have any tips on using YouTube, that would be awesome. We do let our kids watch certain how-to videos, etc, but I hate how it turns into an endless string of videos that quickly get off of the topic we approved of! I feel like I can’t walk out of the room if they’re watching something, even on Kids’ YouTube!

  2. Do y'all have Disney Circle? We just purchased one and I'm curious how that interacts with Osmo and your devices?

  3. This was super useful! I have a 2.5 year old so this is giving me great ideas for Christmas and birthdays!

  4. This was a post that I didn’t know I needed in my life, but I totally did and now I am off to do some Christmas shopping for my little ones hahaha! And I love the upcoming Tech Talk ideas! Thank you for your blog... it is a bright spot in my morning and always full of such great ideas for families!!!

  5. MIT created a free block coding program called Scratch. My son loves it; he is not public. Perhaps something Mason or Luke would enjoy now or down the road.

  6. We have Osmo and I wholeheartedly agree with you about the hassle of taking the iPad out of the case to play with it. I do love the games and am seriously considering one of the Super Studio sets for Christmas. I think my second grader would love those!

  7. I love this too. Yes. I have a kindergarten and I have been wondering about these games,etc. What type of device like Circle do you use to help with controlling internet time limits, etc?

  8. I have never heard about these. I love these ideas, thank you. We have a Samsung Tablet and it appears these are only for iPads. Does anyone know of something similar for Samsung?

  9. We just got square panda for my 4 yr old that just started PreK. I’ve been trying to set it up but their site has been down. Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon. We are excited.


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