My thoughts :
The award-winning, innovative play system that combines fun and learning. A mix of fun, education, physical and digital play designed for young children
Osmo, the children’s game company that has revolutionised the world of gaming and learning, has arrived in South Africa. The American brand has created a new category of game, which combines the digital world with the physical one, creating a unique and interactive experience.
Osmo is an educational accessory that shortens the distance between the real and digital worlds, combining tablet screens, particularly loved by children, with the tactile and practical interaction they need. The Osmo range encourages children to participate actively, to think, play and see their creations come to life on technology. Its uniqueness immediately brought excellent results worldwide, with more than 2.5 million downloads on iPad and reaching over 50,000 schools.
Research shows that the inordinate use of screens such as tablets, smartphones or PCs in children does not give them the necessary tools for learning and growth. In fact, more and more children are losing the pleasure of manual dexterity and creativity, arriving at school with weak motor skills, even simply in the use of pencils and pens.
Faced with this situation, two former Google engineers and two parents, Pramod Sharma and Jérôme Scholler, founded Osmo to create a new, fun and educational gaming experience. The proposals include hands-on activities, essential for proper development, to their own expertise and proprietary technology to give children a fun tool to explore their creativity while improving their business skills, STEM, spelling, math and more. Plus, Osmo’s holistic learning system and design lends itself to children of different ages, and with a wide variety of add-ons, it’s the perfect tool to keep your kids entertained.
The children’s toy revolution: How does Osmo work?
Osmo’s games are based on its proprietary “Reflective AI” technology that turns your iPad, iPhone or Amazon Fire into a blank canvas on which children can express their creativity and learn. This proprietary and first-of-its-kind technology allows objects that are placed in front of the screen to be reflected on the device used. In this way, children can perfectly combine the world of video games and the real, physical world, while continuing to learn and have fun.
Simply place the Osmo sensor at the height of the device’s camera and, like a scanner, it captures everything that happens in front of the screen on the play surface, such as the child’s movements, the various game pieces he manipulates and places on the table. These appear on the screen which provides immediate (and fun) auditory and visual feedback. Also, once the games are downloaded and installed on the device, no WiFi connection is required.
Osmo has received several awards: Best AI-based Solution for Education Award for its proprietary Reflective AI technology. It was also named as one of the “25 Best Inventions” by Time Magazine.
Osmo games: designed to make children “grown up”.
Osmo Starter Kit Genius
The Genius Starter Kit, is designed for children ages 6 to 10. They can discover the world of Osmo and get excited about its revolutionary and innovative gaming experience. The kit includes everything kids need to experience physical learning and digital fun with five different game modes: Words, numbers, tangram, newton and masterpiece.
Osmo Starter Kit Genius is available at a recommended retail price of R2299 at iStore.
- Compatible iPads: iPad 2, iPad (3rd generation), iPad (4th generation), iPad (5th generation), iPad (6th generation), iPad (7th generation), iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4, iPad Mini 5, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 3, and 9.7-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro.iOS 9 or higher version.
- Fire Tablet is not compatible with this base.
Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad
Designed for ages 3-5 the Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit engages pre-schoolers with educational games in core subjects by merging tactile exploration with innovative technology. Beyond fostering creativity and cognitive skills, these educational toys help children learn in a stress-free environment with instant feedback and encouragement.
The Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit includes four educational games to help children develop creativity, imagination, fine motor skills, verbal proficiency, empathy and spatial reasoning. These are ABC, Squiggle Magic, Costume Party and Stories.
Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit is available at a recommended retail price of R1999 at iStore.
Compatible with all iPads except Generation 1, 2, 3. iPad Reflector 2021 required for the: iPad Air 4, iPad Pro 11-inch & iPad Pro 12.9-inch. The minimum iOS version needed is iOS 10.
Osmo Coding Starter Kit for iPad
Designed for ages 5–10, Coding Starter Kit teaches children logic, coding fundamentals, basics of programming, solve coding puzzles, teamwork, listening, critical thinking, observation, creative problem solving, music creation & pattern recognition.
Osmo Coding Starter Kit builds coding skills in progression with 3 hands-on learning games: Coding Awbie, Coding Jam & Coding Duo
Osmo Coding Starter Kit is available at a recommended retail price of R2299 at iStore.
Compatible with all iPads except Generation 1, 2, 3. iPad Reflector 2021 required for the: iPad Air 4, iPad Pro 11-inch & iPad Pro 12.9-inch. The minimum iOS version needed is iOS 10.
Osmo Pizza Co. Starter Kit
Children aged between 5 and 12 learn real-world (business) math, money, addition, subtraction, fractions, fast paced mental math, run & grow a business, social interaction, listening, critical thinking, observation, creative problem solving & basic business concepts with Osmo Pizza Co. Starter Kit.
Osmo Pizza Co. Starter Kit is available from iStore at the recommended retail price of R1399.
Compatible with all iPads except Generation 1, 2, 3. iPad Reflector 2021 required for the: iPad Air 4, iPad Pro 11-inch & iPad Pro 12.9-inch. The minimum iOS version needed is iOS 10. Compatible Fire Tablets: 8th Gen Fire HD 8, 9th Gen Fire 7, and 9th Gen Fire HD 10. Compatible with the Fire HD 8 10th Gen (2020) & Fire HD 10 11th (2021), requires the reflector adapter, sold separately.
Osmo is building a universe of hands-on play experiences that nurture children’s minds by unleashing the power of imagination. The company brings physical tools into the digital world through augmented reality and its proprietary reflective artificial intelligence.
To date, Osmo has been named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions, is a Parents’ Choice award winner, a winner of the prestigious Oppenheim Prize, and a 2016 finalist for Toy of the Year. Osmo is sold in more than 42 countries, delivered through nine international distribution centres, and has been embraced in more than 30,000 schools. Tangible Play Inc. is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.
Buckle up and prepare for lift off with the bright blue Fisher Price Little People Travel Together Airplane.
Welcome aboard pilot Kurt’s Airplane, simply press him down into his seat and let your adventures begin.
About the airplane.
This sturdy plastic airplane requires some adult assembly before play to attach the wing and wheels, which just pop in. So no tools are required.
Your Airplane is interactive with sound and comes with 2 AA batteries included.
With steps that lower down to welcome passengers like Emma, a discovery button and a bright fun face, this airplane will soon become a favourite toy with your toddlers and preschoolers.
Little people Pilot Kurt and Emma come with the airplane, allowing your child open the package and start playing.
The airplane has fun sounds, phrases ,songs and lights up as your child explores their imaginary worlds and travels on new adventures.
Hamish loves his Airplane and I often find him pretending it is flying over trees as he spins the turbines.
The Airplane has realistic sounds welcoming you on board, telling you to buckle up, of a plane flying and thanking you for flying with little people airways.
More than a toy.
Suitable for children 1- 5 years and with a strong emphasis on teaching children kindness and friendship, this toy is an asset in any playroom.
As your little one plays with their airplane they will :
1. Encourage a sense of curiosity and wonder by activating the lights,sounds and songs.
2.They will also be introduced to cause and effect as they realise their action of pressing a button or opening a door results in an action occurring , like a sound, etc
3. Learn more about emotion amd self expression. By playing with pilot Kurt and Emma on imaginary adventures they learn how much fun it is to explore things with friends and start to imitate the social cues and conversation needed to interact with their own friends.
For more information:
Hamish was recently sent some Little People products and one of those was this fantastic Little people big yellow school bus.
About the bus
This super sized bright yellow school bus is the perfect preschool and toddler toy for imaginary excursions and magical field trips.
The bus comes with so many great features for realistic play and includes 2 AA batteries.
There is a handle, which stores under the bus, making it easy to pull along and easy to fold back under if your child wants to push the bus along.
The doors open and there is special a seating space, ramp and parking spot on the bus, as well as disability sign for the wheel chair.
The drivers seats are realistic and the bus has a fun stop sign on the outside and is decorated with a friendly face and alphabet stickers to represent a school bus.
The little people
Included are 4 little people and I love that these little characters represent diversity in race and abilities.
The little person on the wheelchair opened up a conversation between Hamish and I about children with disabilities, and I was able to show him how a wheel chair has special parking and ramps to board this bus and several in real life.
More than just a toy, the little yellow school bus is incredibly interactive and has over 40 songs, sounds, phrases and tunes.
These tunes are activated by a smart stages switch on the top of the bus and these settings help you child to learn in the following ways :
1. Together these sounds help your child to discover the fun in learning about counting, shapes, alphabet, etc .
2.They also assist your child to experience the ride as if they were on the bus. In a time where many children have been kept in isolation or quarantine from crowds this is a useful way to introduce social settings and behaviour.
3.Lastly they inspire your child to imagine and create their own adventures.
This bus is one of Hamish’s favourite toys at the moment and he spends hours making the little people climb on board,wait at bus stops and drive off on wild adventures.
For more information :
Imaginary play is so important for children, it helps them process their world, learn boundaries and develop their creativity and imagination.
Which is why we love open ended toys like Mega bloks.
Benefits of building blocks
Mega bloks is a wonderful tool for early childhood development.
Not only do they build imagination and develop creativity but Mega bloks building blocks also develop skills in colours, numbers, shapes and even the alphabet.
Building with Mega bloks also :
- Improves hand- eye coordination
- Encourages social interaction
- Develops imagination
- Enhances innovative ability
- Offers creative stimulation
- Develops problem solving abilities
- Improves organizational skills
- Improves focus and concentration
- Teaches patience
- Encourages communication
- Develops creative thinking
- Improves fine motor skills
Bag + 1
Mega bloks offer a wide variety of both building blocks and fully compatible toys that compliment your child’s play.
All Mega blok toys are designed to click, slide or fit onto the Mega bloks assisting your child to combine all their toys to get more enjoyment from their play.
Knowing this Mega bloks have a fun formula of play ….
Bag + 1 =fun
By combining a fun toy, like this Mega bloks tool box with a bag of Mega bloks building blocks your child’s imagination is the limit.
As I mentioned, we love Mega bloks and Hamish has been spending his time using his Mega bloks and Mega bloks tool set, constructing new homes for his toys.
This cute tool set comes with 36 pieces and includes:
- A spirit level
- Screw driver
- 2 screws
- 2 nails
- 4 blocks with screw images
- Building plans
- A block containing a gear
- Sturdy tool box storage
- 36 pieces of Mega bloks
I love watching him in play, as he uses the tools ( including the spirit level to see it’s even) and follows the building plans to become a master builder and create the buildings he imagines.
Join us and win
We would love you to join us and show us your ” Bag + 1″ Let’s build a house together moment.
*Win a MEGA Hamper: tag someone you want to build MEGA with in the comment and write what you want to build with them. Use the hashtag #buildMEGAtogether
*terms and conditions apply
Hamish has been totally obsessed with Woody from Toy Story since we watched Toy Story the movie.
Naturally he asked for his very own Woody plush Toy.
I came across one at Kidzone the other day and decided to bring Woody home and surprise Hamish.
I love this cute soft Disney Pixar Woody plush toy and the quality of his stitching and materials used is immediately recognizable.
Woody is about 45cm tall, firm but cuddly and contains no small pieces or parts that can easily dislodge so he us safe for babies and toddlers.
He has bendable arms and legs helping to give him more movement and his friendly face welcomes your child’s imagination for hours of play.
Plush toys offer your child so many benefits.
- Your child’s first relationships and friendships are often with their favourite soft toy.
- A plush toy is a first companion
- Your child can interact and relate to their plush toys
- A plush toy develops imagining play and creativity
- A plush toy allow an outlet for your child to express and understand emotion and social skills.
- A plush toy offers comfort.
- A plush toy develops confidence.
- A plush toy assists in developing language skills.
At time of publishing this the price of this Disney Pixar plush Woody toy was R145.00 from Kidzone.
As parents we took a stand to not let Hamish play with guns.
As he has gotten older and his comprehension has grown we have relaxed that rule to not letting him play with guns that look realistic and to include educating him in the very real dangers a gun can possess.
As much as we, as a society of parents,have started to move to a more open minded parenting culture many of our children’s toy manufacturers still have a vast amount of violent and traditional toys aimed at boys.
Shops are still divided into boy and girl sides with the boy shelves full of guns, army men and play sets that involve harming others.
It is also natural that many family members and friends still gravitate towards these gifts when buying for boys.
This led me to openly look at what type of toy guns we could allow.
Bright blue, green and yellow water guns seemed safe and then I saw his eyes dart towards the nerf blasters.
These certainly don’t look like real guns but are they safe for small kids ?
What is a nerf gun?
A nerf blaster is a colourful toy blaster made by Hasbro that uses soft foam darts to shoot.
What does Nerf stand for?
I was confused as to why it was called a Nerf blaster but it seems the term describes the foam darts. Nerf stands for Non- expanding recreational foam.
At what age can a child play with a nerf gun?
The core Nerf range is suited for children aged 7+Although, Nerf have developed a range designed for an older market of 14+ (Nerf Rival)
I was interested to discover that they also have elements for a younger audiences including Nerf Nitro and the Nerf Microshot series.
Each Nerf product has a suggested age suitability on the packaging to guide you, the parent, in making an educated choice as to which blasters are recommended to suit your child’s age.
Which Nerf product would be best for a 4 or 5 year old?
For younger kids the smaller more compact models would be better suited as they are easier and more comfortable for them to manage and handle.
The Nerf Nitro has a recommended age from 5 years and comes with cars to act as targets for your child to shoot at. This is definitely the Nerf blaster we would look at for Hamish.
What safety precautions do we need to take with a Nerf blaster?
Nerf blasters are relatively safe. They have few movable components, limited power and shoot foam darts.
But as with any toy that could hurt someone, however slightly, it might be best to teach younger children:
- Not to look down the barrel of the blaster
- Keep the blaster pointed down and your finger off the trigger if not shooting
- Don’t leave the blaster lying about loaded
- Never shoot someone in the face
- Never shoot at animals
- Wear safety glasses
I mostly like that this toy “gun” is known as a blaster allowing children to identify with it being a toy straight away.
I also like that the manufacturers have ensured that there are age restrictions to the blasters and that most sites I visited spoke of the Nerf blaster as a safe toy.
I like that the blasters are brightly coloured and even discovered a pink one on Amazon.
Overall, i can see that Nerf blasters encourage children to play with each other, providing action-packed and safe fun, indoors and outdoors.
Would I let Hamish get one?
Being little though I would only encourage to him aim at inanimate targets and naturally teach him set of rules for play.
I think Nerf wars seem like good fun as he gets older. ( with the correct safety eye wear) and I can actually see my older boys joining in with this.
For more information visit here
For younger children especially adult supervision is recommended.
We are huge fans of the Moluk design brand and I can not recommend these open ended toys more.
So you can imagine our excitement when Straight_zigzag sent Hamish the latest product – Building Genius.
This soft, safe, silicone construction toy comprises of 3 of each of the brands popular products – Mox, Hix and Oibo.
Truly toys that grow with your child and can be used from baby stage.
With so many uses.
- Your baby 0 -1 year can grasp and sense.
- Toddlers 1-3 can stack and build.
- Children 3 – 12 can imagine and invent.
We spent some time exploring the products and using them in lessons to:
- count objects
- sort colours and shapes
- identify shapes
- do maths sums
We also used them in play….
- Hamish used them in free play with water to experiment with volume
- we turned the hix into boats and see who could blow them across the bilibo fastest
- he rolled the mox balls to the bilibo
- practised throwing and catching with them
- and he played with them using his imagination creating robots
The hix fold into 3 sizes and are great for fine motor development as your child manipulates the silicone into it’s different sizes.
The mox balls have groves that could look like eyes and slits which Hamish calls a mouth. You can post items inside for your child to get out or let them squeeze the sides to open the mouth.
The oibo are also flexible and the mox fit inside. Hamish loves to pop the balls in and manipulate the sides of the oibo to get them out.
How to use the Building genius in lessons
Nothing excites me more than a toy we can use in lessons, mostly because I know that I will immediately have Hamish’s full attention and that he will grasp the concept a lot faster because he is enthusiastic to play.
I jumped straight in by introducing the building genius to our next maths lessons.
We’ve been working on sizes and Hamish categorized the hix into:
– small, medium and large
-big, bigger, biggest
-small, smaller, smallest
Next we reinforced categorizing and sorting by placing the items on a piece of paper to match the colours.
Lastly we reinforced shape names and properties by looking at the hix, mox and obio and discussing what shape they were and how many sides each had. Then Hamish grouped each onto a piece of paper with its corresponding shape.
Using familiar objects and favourite toys in learning activities makes learning a concept much more enjoyable.
So, although Hamish loves to build and create his own items with this lovely set, he also loves to add them to his learning time.
I love the possibilities of play and learning that this set of toys offer and can’t wait to share the new and innovative ways we find to introduce them into our every day learning and play
One of the toys I recently ordered was this Jeronimo – Go fishing game.
At R149 from Takealot I was rather hesitant at the actual size, quality and whether it would deliver all the flashing lights it’s review said it would.
As soon as I opened the box any doubts I may have had were gone in a flash …
Hamish loves it!
You get the scenic stickers to paste on to the bottom of the water pond. These just peel and stick and are obviously waterproof.
The game is sturdy and stable enough for indoor or outdoor play.
You will need to supply the batteries required though, but they are simple to insert.
The game is large enough for him to play with alone or as a two player game to see who can catch the most.
This would also make s great travel game as you don’t need the water to play, you can still catch the animals just from the pond.
There are 2 plastic scoops, one with holes like a sieve,which he can use to catch the fish or for water play.
Also there are 2 little fishing rods to help catch the little plastic ducks and fish. These store neatly onto the sides of the pond.
The hooks on the animal heads are large and Hamish found it easy to hook them onto the rods.
A great game for developing fine motor skills, concentration and hand eye co-ordination.
There are 6 little ducks and fish, 3 of each, and we’ve been counting them, grouping them and they can also be used in the bath.
The pond itself has flashing lights, 6 songs and vibrates slightly to move the water inside. This helps the ducks and fish to move around and you to adjust the ability level of play for the child who is catching the toy.
The tree acts as a mini waterfall and kids can pour water in the top and watch how it tuns down the sides.
Price : R100 -R200
Age : 2 years +