Our Favorite STEM Educational Learning Games
Hello! Happy Monday! Can you believe we’re now in week 6 of quarantining? How are you holding up? We’ve had our moments but overall it’s been high spirits as we lay low at home. The official word is that school will be remote for the remainder of the school year, and so Adrian and I have been doing what we can to juggle helping the kids with their assignments while still managing our full-time job responsibilities.
We’ve tried to stick to their same school schedule even while at home which has definitely helped with the transition, but part of that also means that the kids’ day is done at 3:00 pm! Since Adrian and I have at least another couple hours before we can close our laptops for the day, we’ve had to figure out ways to keep the kids occupied and engaged independently so that we’re able to finish our jobs on time without too much interruption!
After the first week of quarantine, I knew we needed to add to our stock of activities for the kids. And while I am usually the first one to suggest non-screen time options to my kids, at a certain point, workbooks and craft activities necessitate parental supervision and it’s just not something that either Adrian and I are able to do as we also try to focus on our day jobs. Technology is such a big part of remote learning right now anyways, and so I just embraced it to find the best stem-based educational learning options out there to help my kids stay occupied and learn!
Osmo was recommended to me by several other mom friends, so after a post-dinner trip to Target, we ended up with the Osmo Genius Starter Kit for Dylan (suited for ages 6-10) and the Little Genius Starter Kit for Mei (suited for ages 3-5). The kids have been playing with it for the past 3-ish weeks at this point and spoiler alert, it’s been the best investment ever!
Osmo: Setup + Overview
Its easy to see why Osmo has won so many accolades (named Time Magazine’s Best Inventions and is a Parents’ Choice award winner, among many others). The emphasis with Osmo is learning through play and I personally was sold on the hands-on interactivity in the games were as well as the real-time feedback that is immediately given. Each kit comes with a base to place either an iPad or Fire tablet and a reflector mirror that allows Osmo to scan the table to detect the player’s creation and have it come to life on the screen!
As a parent, I love that Osmo offers games that challenge my kids in areas such as math, spelling, puzzles, and even coding. My kids can create a profile where they can save their work as they go. Best of all, there’s also an Osmo Parent app that tracks play time and gives stats on my kids’ progress and accomplishments.
Osmo offers 3 different coding game options:
- Coding Awbie (age 5-12): solve puzzles and navigate obstacles to collect strawberries for Awbie
- Coding Jam (age 6-12): code and compose music
- Coding Duo (age 5-12): pair programming at its finest — Awbie and Monster work together to overcome challenges
Hands-down, the favorite game for both Dylan and Mei have been the coding games. Dylan absolutely loves the idea that he can code like his mama and for me, I honestly feel like the earlier I can introduce some of the basic programming concepts to my kids, the better. Much of programming is understanding logic, and I love seeing Dylan manipulate the coding blocks to help him solve the puzzles in the game. Osmo provides instant feedback to his code sequencing, and I just love seeing him reason through his steps to figure out the answer! Having “grit” is something we’ve always worked on with Dylan, so seeing him hit stumbling blocks in Osmo, get frustrated, but then sit through and willingly work through it independently has been really rewarding to see.
I will say that at 5 years old, Mei is just slightly too young to really grasp some of the programming concepts beyond the basics. But, for us it’s actually turned into a great teaching opportunity for Dylan as he explains and helps Mei with the parts that she doesn’t quite understand. It’s actually been a great way for the kids to learn and grow from each other without having to get me involved!
The Osmo Little Genius Kit is targeted for ages 3-5, and comes with 4 different games including ABCs, Squiggle Magic, Costume Party, and Stories. Mei’s favorite is most definitely the Stories as she loves switching characters in and out of different outfit pieces to figure out he answer to the riddles. The same pieces can also be reused for the Costume Party and it’s an Osmo game that is all about letting their imagination get creative!
And finally, Mei has also been loving the Tangram game that came in Dylan’s Genius Starter Kit! This game is definitely a personal favorite of mine as I love seeing how quickly my kids get better at this game and improve their spatial reasoning in a matter of minutes as you watch them! There are different levels to the Tangram game that provide varying levels of difficult, so I love that it’s a game that challenges both Dylan and Mei with age-appropriate problems to solve.
I cannot recommend Osmo enough if you have kids that are staying at home now and need a way to challenge their brains in all the extra downtime. Dylan and Mei look forward to playing Osmo all day long — I can even usually bribe them to commit to not arguing at the beginning of the day too in order for them to get Osmo time in the afternoon! I’ve seen Dylan and Mei get better in how they work through problems and it’s been a lifesaver for Adrian and I as we have time to finish our work responsibilities for the day as well!
Have you heard of or tried Osmo before?
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