When Christmas season rolls around, there’s often that one toy that rises above the rest. Toy holiday hits in the past include Cabbage Patch Kids, Tamagotchi, Furby, and Shopkins. Last year, as parents may remember, it was Hatchimals, which, unfortunately, wasn't available in the Philippines in time for them to take their spot under the tree.
The year, news sites like The New York Times and Business Insider are saying Fingerlings takes the crown as the hottest toy of the year. Fingerlings are small toy creatures that can respond to a child’s playing by saying hello, babbling, singing, sleeping, and, amusingly, farting. It sounds...nice, but we haven't seen it in action since it's not available in the Philippines yet.
However, we think another toy, which we got to test with kids, can take its place for Pinoy families. It's called Osmo, and it's cool, it can be a gift for siblings (yes, kids of different ages can use it), and the kids won't realize they are learning. They will think they are playing on their iPad, but it's more than that.
In essence, Osmo is a kit that transforms a device into a form of play that’s fun, engaging, innovative, and educational. At first opening and assembly, your kid is almost guaranteed to be riveted at the sheer novelty of it.
Osmo can only work if you have an iPad or iPhone because it pairs with it to form a toy that both utilizes the screen and hands-on play. The device is mounted on a base, a reflector is placed in front of the camera, and the device can “see” and respond to whatever the child places in front of it.
To begin, you first download the apps that can be played with the type of Osmo kit that you have. You won’t be utilizing all of your kit’s features if you don’t get every game, so make sure to do that first. For example, the Osmo Genius Kit comes with shapes, letters, and numbers so the games for it are about math, words, spatial reasoning, etc. There are also kits that teach kids to code, lets kids race Hot Wheels cars through digital worlds, and even one for making pizza.
Then, comes the fun part. Mount your device, clear the table, and get ready to play! One of the games compatible with the Osmo Genius Kit is Words. On the screen will be a picture of something familiar to your child and blank boxes at the bottom. The goal is to find the letter tiles that spell it out and place them on the table in front of the device where the camera can see it. Another is Tangram where a puzzle is shown on screen and your child will have to form the shape shown using the tiles provided in the kit.
We find Newton particularly interesting. The player places objects on the table, they pop out on screen, and the goal is to draw lines to get a ball bouncing around to reach a target. It’s challenging enough for adults to enjoy.
The price tag is high Php6,600 (Genius Kit), but if your kids are preschoolers now, they will play with it until they are 12-years-old. The games have levels of difficulty so there will something fun and challenging for different ages, and siblings can take turns playing. There are also multiplayer options if your kids decide they want to play.
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Osmo is available at Hobbes and Landes stores and starts at Php6,600.