Osmo Tangram

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Osmo Tangram App Poster Image
Classic puzzler combines toys and digital play.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn spatial reasoning and develop an awareness of geometry as they manipulate the shapes to form images. They'll develop fine motor skills by handling the manipulatives and positioning them correctly, and they'll improve hand-eye coordination as they track from the screen to the work in front of them. Tangrams are dissection puzzles that are excellent -- both in digital and tangible form -- for problem solving, critical thinking, and spatial awareness. Tangram for Osmo combines both digital and tangible play to create a stellar learning experience for kids.

Ease of Play

Easy-to-follow instructions walk kids through setup process. Four levels of progressive challenges with hints available.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tangram for Osmo is a free download that accompanies the basic gaming system from Osmo. The system, which includes two other apps and toys, retails for $79.99. It comes with a base and a reflector attachment that clips over the iPad's camera. The base fits any iPad, only requiring a slightly different configuration for the iPad Air and Mini. The device will have to be removed from its cover, so parents may want to help younger kids with the setup. Tangram for Osmo also includes the seven colorful tangram shapes, which kids use to form the designs shown on the iPad. The camera reflector allows the device to see what kids are doing with the toys. Parents can register with Osmo to set up multiple player accounts on their device. To learn more about the kinds of information collected and shared, read the app's privacy policy.

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What's it about?

TANGRAM FOR OSMO is a hybrid toy that bridges tactile and digital play. First, kids choose from Easy, Medium, or Hard levels; Harder can be unlocked after four Hard puzzles have been completed. Kids arrange the seven shapes in front of the game system to match the image on the device. As kids place a piece correctly, it shows up in color on the screen. If kids get stuck, they can get a hint, but they have to pay for them with points. Pictures of completed puzzles decorate the map, making a story of the play journey, and kids earn achievements as they complete different missions.

Is it any good?

Classic puzzle play goes beyond the digital age with this smart, impressive hybrid toy. Though young kids can play and learn with these tangrams, there's no age limit on the challenging fun. Kids can choose to jump around challenge levels until they find the one that's just right for them, and with hundreds of puzzles, there's plenty to explore. The way the screen plays out like a story -- with the solved puzzles taking their place along the path -- adds some extra fun, and kids who want to add some self-driven competition can work to unlock the achievements. Parents will find support and community forums online if they create an Osmo account. Really, the whole Osmo system is impressive: From the neat magnetic packaging to the sensitive, responsive technology, this is a game system that will bring fun and learning without taking up lots of space, as it blends with an existing device.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the shapes, naming them for younger kids. They also can manipulate them off the device to create different shapes and patterns.

  • Talk to kids about the background of tangrams. The dissection puzzle game invented in China always includes seven shapes: two small triangles, two large triangles, one medium triangle, one square, and one parallelogram.

  • Find shapes in the natural world and encourage kids to name and draw them.

App details

For kids who love shapes and puzzles

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