What do summers look like in your family?
For us, it’s always a time to travel. This summer we’re spending it on the road in an RV, traveling full time. As you can imagine, it’s just a tad more challenging in that environment to keep structured learning happening on the regular.
You might not be in an RV right now…but everyday life in the world of parenting comes with challenges. And yet, we all want to make sure that our kids continue to grow in their skills, creativity and passions.
And that, my friends, is why we partnered with Osmo.
We used Osmo with Cooper (our oldest) many moons ago. We loved it from the beginning; Osmo was a fantastic gift from their Aunt Stephanie! Rekindling that hands-on learning opportunity now with Elliot has been great – and we are stoked to see so many upgrades and new games.
Here are four ways Osmo has inspired and influenced playful learning for us this summer, even while we’re traveling around the country.
Problem- solving, physics….and basketball? Yes!
Osmo’s Creative Starter Kit includes three games (Monster, Newton and Masterpiece), which work with a special dry-erase board. These games focus on creative problem solving and visual thinking.
Elliot was immediately attracted to Newton, which is a game of physics (but don’t tell him that!). Balls fall on the screen and he uses a dry-erase marker to create obstacles for the balls. This causes them to “bounce” in multiple directions…but he has to get them to hit different targets.
Was he learning anything? Well, the next time we hit the b-ball courts, it got him thinking differently about how he shot the ball into the basket. “That little rectangle on the backboard is like Newton,” he said with a little trepidation. Exactly!
Coding and guitar around the campfire
Cooper, our oldest, is the coding kid in the family. Elliot hasn’t taken to it, which is fine of course…but I know it’s such a great way to learn logic that I wanted him to try the Coding Starter Kit.
Reluctant at first, he poked around at the three games…but his eyes lit up with Coding Jam, a musical coding game. Using the coding block sets (these are actual, tangible pieces he can touch with his hands) he constructed music “like a real DJ”.
He picked up right away that this was a means of learning rhythm, harmony, melody…but we knew he was also learning sequencing and loops, pattern recognition, logic, and more.
You know what else happened that day? He grabbed the guitar off the wall and asked Dan to teach him a new song. It was a quintessential campfire moment.
Coding Jam is teaching him a ton…he’s having fun learning…and it’s sparking his creativity and increasing his confidence. In turn, that spark has created several summertime memories that I know we’ll all cherish for a long time.
Rekindling a love of reading – under the stars!
The Genius Starter Kit is a classic with Osmo. It was the first game we used with Cooper. While the website suggests this game for kids 6-10, Cooper was an early reader and we were using it with him – with great success – when he was about four and a half.
It comes with Masterpiece and Newton (games we talked about above), but also Words, Numbers and Tangram.
Elliot, at 8, can do multiplication and division in his head. He’s got a knack for numbers. But spelling doesn’t come naturally. And reading on his own? Forget about it.
The Words game, however, is fun for him. He’s a tactile learner, so having tiles to use with the electronic game makes all the difference. We’re doing a little of this game every day, and he’s progressing rapidly. More important? He likes it enough that it’s not a “chore” for him; it’s fun.
But here’s the special moment for my summer– I asked him to read books with me like I do every night before bed. Usually there is grumbling, but ONE night – one night I’ll savor – he said yes without issue and crawled in my lap to read. We added a twist: we read his book outside. It was pitch black so we used a headlamp as we sat under the stars. It was a little magic and a little heaven.
Discovering the power of maps on the trail
The Detective Agency game was right up our alley; travel to six famous cities and learn about new cultures. He loves it, and even Cooper jumped in on the fun.
It comes with 8 different maps and a magnifying glass which you use to find clues on the map that lead to solving a mystery (like helping Beatrice Bear discover who stole her cat.). As you unlock clues, you learn facts about places on the map.
I was sure he would gravitate to the facts he was learning, like the name of the huge soccer stadium in Brazil. But after some time, I realized it was actually the maps he was intrigued by.
A few days later: Hiking Day! We usually depend on a special hiking trail map app when we hit the parks, but after playing this game I knew I had to encourage this new spark of joy about maps.
The ranger gave him a paper map, allowing him and his friends to plan the day’s hike. It was really interesting to go “old-school” with a paper map and see his little eyes light up. We even kept the map in his special box as a souvenir of the hike that he helped to guide.
More about Osmo
What is Osmo?
Think about Osmo as an educational platform that utilizes electronics (iPad or Amazon Fire tablets) plus tangible pieces (maps, magnifying glasses, coding tiles, a dry-erase board and markers, etc.) to create hands-on learning experiences for your kiddo. It helps them build confidence and sparks their creativity.
What ages are best?
Starter kits offer options for kids 3yo – 10yo. Other games and add-ons vary by age, but fall into this same range.
Do you really love it?
Absolutely. Again, this is our second child learning with Osmo. We’re happy to be partnering with them on this post, but it was a natural fit for our family which is why we are willing to share with you.
- We believe that play-based learning is where real learning happens, and Osmo delivers.
- We believe that child-led learning experiences make all the difference when it comes to remembering what they’ve learned
- We love the span of offerings; everything from coding to creativity to core skills.
- We love that the kids can learn independently without getting upset about learning difficult concepts. The games progress in difficulty, but only as they are ready.
- We appreciate that there are also ways to play with the kids when they want us to be part of their experience.
- We look forward to seeing them progress each week through the dedicated parenting app.
What do we love most? Seeing them apply the skills they’ve learned as they play their way through summer!
If you want to start making magical memories with your kids, you can find out more about Osmo on their website.
PLUS!! Use promo code SHOP20 on playosmo.com for 20% off! #PoweredByOsmo
Disclosure: Thanks to Osmo for partnering with us on this summer journey. Opinions here are all our own, as always!
We make no guarantees of any price listed on our site. We are not responsible for content on external web sites linked from ours, including linked resources, an external blog post, any partner site, hotel property sites, or affiliate sites. We only write about places we love in an attempt to help you in your adventures, but we can’t guarantee you will love them, too.
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