This is a sponsored post on behalf of Osmo. All thoughts are mine as per  the usual.

Osmo, Hands on Coding Fun for Kids.

We have a hard core coding fan in our house, our youngest son is all about coding, digital designing and robotics. Although my husband is the Web Architect for the local government and I create digital content for websites, we’ve raised our last two sons with a more hands on, less screen time attitude. And that’s been all well and good until the youngest one discovered robotics a few years ago and the coding that goes with it. Then all bets were off in the less screen time area of our lives, we constantly had to manage how much time he was getting on screen with how much time he was outside getting fresh air and playing with friends. Until we discovered Osmo and the fun unique hands on coding it offers up in games like Awbie and Coding Jam where he could get hands on time WHILE coding.

Game Changer

Hands On Coding with Osmo

Coding Awbie

My youngest son and I first discovered Osmo and Coding Awbie in a small store in Downtown Seattle where they had a station set up to try it out. I’m sure I stood in that store for 45 minutes waiting for my son to surface from his first interaction with hands on coding. When we got back to Alaska he was raving about Coding Awbie and all the fun he had arranging code blocks to make characters on the screen move. His brother wanted to discount it as a video game but it’s only like a video game in that you’re making characters move. In Coding Awbie YOU have to make them move by arranging blocks of code (literal plastic tiles) in front of an iPad nested in the Osmo base.

Coding Awbie

 

When the opportunity came along to try out Osmo in our home with two of their hands on coding games, Awbie AND Coding jam, I jumped on it. I wondered if our youngest would still be so interested in it, if we owned it and he could use it anytime he wanted to. Well, happy to report no problem there! BOTH of our boys were instantly drawn to Awbie. It’s all jibber jabber to me but they pulled it out and set it up and were coding in under 10 minutes. Our older son is much more into building things with his hands, he wanted to scoff at a computer coding game but the fact is even he was drawn in by it.

Coding Jam

Code Jam

Coding Jam is a little bit of a different game, if you can even call it that, it’s more of a jam session than a game. First you get familiar with it in practice sessions. Then you’re off to a studio and exploring worlds making music. Each tile represents a sound, or sound effect, and movement. You arrange the tiles and the music is played in the order you set up them up. It does sound confusing, and it took some getting used to but it is a lot of fun. About 4 days after we downloaded the Coding Jam app, a parent’s manual arrived in my email, thank goodness it did! While my kids picked up Coding Jam and had a lot of fun with it, I was completely lost. After perusing the manual I was able to understand what my kids just seemed to intuitively know.

 

Let me break this down for you because it can be a little confusing:

  • Osmo is the name of the play system that turns your iPad into a hands on computer gameOsmo Base
  • Coding Awbie is one of the hands on coding games that uses the Osmo Sytsem+ iPad+magnetic plastic code tiles to move Awbie on a strawberry eating journeyCoding Awbie
  • Code Jam is the other hands on coding game that uses the Osmo System+iPad+magnetic plastic code tiles to make music     Coding Jam

Balance? Yes you can!

We’ve been working hard to balance it all out, allowing some coding opportunities while enforcing as much outdoor time and fresh air as we can. They say it’s all about balance and our third son is making sure we have that balance down to a science. We don’t feel bad or worry he’s getting too much screen time when we let him practice his coding skills on the Osmo System with Coding Awbie or Coding Jam. It’s a lot of skills getting packed into a fun and informational game.