Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Osmo Monster

Osmo Monster

Spring 2017 Video Games
Ages: 4 - 10 yrs.
Producer: Osmo
Price: $49.00

Osmo, known for its fun and accessible coding games, is now providing hours of creative and imaginative fun with its Creative Set and three free, art-driven apps: Monster, Newton, and Masterpiece. The kit includes a two-sided dry-erase chalkboard, six dry-erase chalk markers (purple, pink, blue, orange, green, and brown), a soft eraser cloth, and a fluffy, eraser pouch that holds all the smaller pieces. These materials, as well as the Osmo base kit (not included) are used to play the three aforementioned apps.

Monster introduces children aged four through nine to Mo, a friendly orange monster who needs help decorating his home, creating magic shows, and going on adventures. Mo is a virtual playmate that guides and encourages children through the game's activities. He asks children to draw various items on the dry-erase board and then "pulls" them into his virtual world and interacts with them. Children may draw a couch for him to nap on, a friendly bear to sleep with, or even a magic wand. This particular app is great for imaginative and cooperative play as well as artistic skills.

Newton, which is intended for children aged five through twelve, features two logic-based games, Bounce and Roll, which require players to use line drawings to guide balls to a desired goal. The game is progressively leveled and starts with only one or two relatively straightforward player interventions and then moves on to more complex and difficult scenarios. This trial-and-error, physics-based game, hones hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, an understanding of cause-and-effect, and problem-solving in a fun, fast-paced game.

And last but not least, Masterpiece, for children aged nine through twelve years, transforms photographs into easy-to-draw outlines. The image as well as the user's hand and writing implement are displayed on the iPad and he "traces" the drawing by focusing on the screen and not the dry-erase board or paper. If tracing photographs is too difficult, the app also features a wide variety of simpler designs ranging from flowers to dragons. It is a great way to get children excited about drawing while also honing hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills.

The kit components are made of high-quality, durable materials and are easily stored in the included pouch and re-usable Osmo packaging. The apps have excellent long-term play and learning values making this Monster a must-have in our book, and on our screen.

Sharon Heuscher   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Sharon holds B.A.s in English Literature and Ancient Studies as well as a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a masters-level trainee in Clinical Psychology specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. For the past thirteen years, Sharon has focused primarily on raising, educating, and nurturing her five children who range in age from three to thirteen.

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