With the kids going back to school imminently we’ve been starting to build up their learning in fun ways to help them get prepared for what will hopefully be a full year of learning at school, unlike the last two due to lockdowns. Osmo is one my ‘go to’ activity for learning and fun… and the kids don’t really know that they’re being taught things as they play. Our favourite tech-meets-play system Osmo are working hard to bring out new themed kits and the one we’ve been testing out this past week to help us get school-ready is the Pizza Co.
In Pizza Co you take over the running of a pizza shop to cover the owners trip and learn about what goes in to running a small business. Cost of stock? Charging for pizza? Keeping customers happy, especially VIP ones? All that and more is covered. The kit includes a pizza base & tip tray, lots of different topping pieces and money in note and coin form. There are different play levels. As always the team at Osmo have designed the game to be used by a wide age range, in this case from 5 years up to around 12. The game adapts based on the ability of the child playing. My children have a two year age gap so their maths skills are different and this is taken into account depending on who plays.
First up is making the pizza based on the customers requirements. The involves not only hand-eye coordination and concentration but also the ability to read non-verbal communication as often customers aren’t happy but won’t say anything! This bit of the game is really clever as learning to read body language and facial expressions is really tricky at any age so the sooner we introduce practise the better. You sprinkle the pizza with the choice of toppings and then slide it into the oven, which is actually to the right of the screen.
Once the pizza has been eaten then comes the bill, so during the game you have to calculate the change needed for each guest, place this on the tip-tray and then offer it to the guest. For the uninitiated the games pieces are ‘read’ by the red adaptor that sits on top of your tablets camera. It really is very clever! The coins and notes just have numbers on them, so they can be pounds, dollars, Euro or whatever currency you want to pretend they are!
The tricky bit comes next as your pizza shop gets busier, with customers waiting to order and pay, VIP’s arriving and so on, and you try your best to keep each customer happy! Don’t worry though, the shifts are fairly short so your child (and you if you’re helping!) have time to reset the shop for the next shift between games. The pieces are all really sturdy and robust so will withstand being used endlessly, then when you’ve finished playing they stack back in their case ready to be stored with any other Osmo kits you have. Our other most played game is the Detective Agency (which we reviewed here) followed up with Osmo Monster and Coding Awbie.
Every time we use Osmo I’m amazed and impressed with how clever it is, and how the kids love it and are learning without realising it! I get updates via email telling me how they’re doing and enjoy playing the games with them too. You can see the whole Osmo range and find out more about how it works and why it’s so great for hands on learning on their Amazon Store.