Dear Mummy, I’ve got something super exciting to share with you! I’m teaching myself to code with the help of Osmo! Coding is now part of the school curriculum and with me potentially being out of school (due to horrible coronavirus pandemic) this educational toy couldn’t have arrived at a better time!
Technology is evolving so fast it’s important to keep up and understand how things, like computer programs work. Osmo games support STEM based learning (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)…. oh and Art!
I was kindly sent some coding games from Osmo and a base unit to help transform my iPad into a home classroom! I received a Coding with Awbie Game and Coding Jam Game to help get me started. These games encourage creativity and nurture problem-solving skills through hands-on play.
The Osmo Base
(You might need help from an adult for this) For those new to Osmo like me, the games combine an iPad or Amazon Fire tablet and physical play pieces for gameplay. After putting an iPad in a base station and attaching a mirror unit (both of which are supplied in the Osmo Base set £29) which fits over the front-facing camera, the area in front of the tablet becomes the play area. Magic eh? Play pieces, which can include letter and number tiles as well as tangram puzzle shapes, are then recognised within the app.
You can’t play without the Osmo Base and it can fit either an Iphone, IPad or an Amazon Fire Tablet by easily changing the base around. The red connection on the base is a clever mirror that sits on top of your iPad so it can read the coding you have done. Because of the way the stand and the camera attachment works, the Osmo only works when the ipad is out of a case, so beware if you have butter fingers like me! Once you have the base you can play any of the games available from Osmo so it’s worth the investment.
Coding Awbie Game
This is an excellent game to help me understand the concept of coding. It is aimed at children aged between 5 and 12 years old. Users control a character called Awbie on a strawberry munching adventure using the physical code blocks. First I downloaded the free app (from the App Store) and combined it with my Coding Awbie Game (£39) from the Osmo website. Inside the box there are 8 number blocks, 11 coding blocks, instructions and stickers.
By placing the magnetic coding blocks in front of the screen you command Awbie to jump, walk and grab to get all those tasty strawberries. The kit also comes with various other sequences like run and other special commands which all ‘click’ together by the use of magnets and swivel buttons.
The blocks are colour-coded and consist of action pieces and quantifier number blocks. Eating more strawberries gets you seeds which can be used to grow plants, which in turn grow rainbow strawberries which can be exchanged for in-game stuff like camping equipment. Phew that was a mouthful for a little one like me!
Early tasks in the game only involve one or two pieces, but in later stages you need to tell Awbie to follow much longer sequences before pressing the play button on the big green action block. This makes more complex codes and gets kids thinking!
Help from the app is provided at the start and phased out to let us kids make our own decisions. I was quick to pick up on the idea of putting a series of controls together. The arrows can also change direction just by gently turning them in the direction you would like them to go.
A lot of it was trial and error and I did get frustrated, but worked through the hurdles and it felt great completing levels! It can make learning fun, to the point that kids don’t even realize they are learning, which is always a good thing. I’m now super quick with my commands.
Osmo Coding is a good way to introduce children to the concepts of logic and problem solving. It’s first stepping stone for kids to understand what’s going on behind the scenes when they use technology. I’ve never done so much counting and thinking in my life!
Osmo Coding Jam
It’s no secret that I love music and want to be a pop star when I grow-up. In this game you create your own music by coding different sounds and beats in different music studios with different characters. Download the Coding Jam App for free and buy the Osmo Base Unit (£29) and the Coding Jam Game set (£49) off the Osmo website.
This game encourages us little ones to embrace musical tunes whilst learning coding patterns with the coding blocks. It’s great fun and I spent a good hour creating musical tracks and videos.
Osmo Coding Jam is a great hands-on game and I loved recording my tracks and sharing them with family and friends through the app. Inside the box was a purple plastic holder containing the coding pieces for storage.
The quality of these coding blocks is absolutely amazing and they all clip together to form coding sequences and make digital music. They are magnetic, nice and big for small hands, colourful and wipeable! I also liked the character stickers included.
There’s lots of ways to personalise your gaming, from creating a profile to setting up a band/stage name – mine’s called ‘Focused Super Pasta’ random or what! I had a go at the practice sessions first to get a grip on the controls and then started to create my own music. Hear some of my efforts below!
There are lots of practice levels, and as you go through them you collect points. By collecting the points you unlock lots of new characters, studios and different music. The characters range from monsters to spacemen, caveman to rockstars and everything in between!
The Osmo Coding Jam is aimed at children aged between 6 and 12 years old. I’m only seven and found this easy to start with (it can get more complex as you go up the levels).
Osmo have lots of other games online as well such as a creative kit, a genius kit, a pizza making game, numbers and words games and now Disney character games! Check out our videos coming soon on our YouTube Channel to see me play!
Love Bella x
Disclaimer: We were kindly sent Coding Awbie and Coding Jam from Osmo, along with a base unit to review. All coding sequences and puzzle-solving are my own!
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