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Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad: Hope or Hype?

Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad

As a parent and former teacher, I'm naturally suspicious of screen-based "edutainment" systems like the Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad. Instinct tells us that kids should be out in the sunshine, making friends and learning by exploring. At the very least, if they have to engage with screens, they should be creating rather than consuming. Research has shown that screen time harms elementary-age children's abilities to engage socially. And the American Academy of Pediatrics says that children under two should have no screen time at all.

But many people also believe that logic and coding skills are the paths to the jobs of the future. Many also think that the sooner kids can get on with learning these skills the better. And let's face it, kids of all ages enjoy playing video games. So, where does that leave us?

What is the Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad?

First things first: the Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad isn't a video game system. Nor is it, despite the bright colors and simple interface, designed for toddlers. Rather, Osmo is an accessory kit that you can use with your iPhone, iPad or Fire device. The kit comes with several different games and activities to support different kinds of learning. There are math games, coding games, word games, and art games. Additionally, kids aged four through twelve can explore music, drawing, critical thinking, money skills, spelling, and more.

What makes this system unique is that it is interactive on several levels. Of course, your child interacts with the screen. But Osmo also has physical components that your child can manipulate for simultaneous digital and physical play. It's an interesting concept, and it has my attention.

It has also captured other people's attention. For example, Osmo won the 2015 Scholastic Teacher's Choice Award. It also won a Parent's Choice Award. This toy also won a Kapi Award for Innovation. Furthermore, Time Magazine awarded it "Best Invention of 2014." So I'll set aside my prejudices for now and give the Osmo a proper look.

What's in the Box and How Much Does it Cost?

The Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad is not a full-console gaming system. Rather, it's a set of accessories that you use with your device. The Genius kit is one of several different available kits. It comes with a base to hold your device, a "reflector," and five different games for children aged five to twelve. The included games support learning in the following areas: math, drawing, spelling, visual thinking, and problem-solving. It comes with a plastic tangram set, as well as number tiles, letter tiles, and stacking storage containers to hold them.

The Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad is available from various online retailers, as well as from Osmo's own website. Depending on the retailer, you can expect to pay between $75 and $100.

Osmo Genius Kit

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How it Works

The Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad comes with a base and a red reflector. First, you stand your device in the base. The camera's eye should be on top, facing front. Then you place the red reflector over the eye. This will allow the camera, and therefore Osmo, to see what's in front of the device.

What will be in front of it, you might ask. Your child's hands, and whichever of the manipulables your child is using. ("Manipulables" is teacher-talk for physical objects a student manipulates with his or her hands.) For example, if your child is working with the tangrams program, he or she will use the enclosed plastic tangrams in front of the device stand. And Osmo will be able to "see" what he or she is doing and offer feedback.

Which Games Come Included?

This is actually pretty impressive. The Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad comes with five nifty games.


Masterpiece

My favorite is Masterpiece, a drawing game. Your child engages with Osmo by drawing on a piece of paper within the reflector's viewing area. Osmo responds by showing both the drawing and your child's hands, as he or she creates.

Tangrams

Tangrams are a puzzle system invented in China between 960 and 1279 AD. Trading ships brought it to Europe in the early 19th century. Parents and teachers love it because it teaches kids analytical and creative thinking. The gist of it is creating pictures and patterns from different sizes of triangles, squares, and parallelograms.

Like with Masterpiece, your child chooses an image to create from the catalog. Osmo puts the image onto the screen, and your child uses the enclosed pieces to try to recreate the image. Your child can choose easier puzzles or harder ones, do them for their own enjoyment, or compete against a friend. It's a new twist on an old educators' favorite.

Newton

Now, this is really cool. Newton is a problem-solving game that encourages three-dimensional thinking. Here's how it works. First, your child takes any small object and places it on the pad in view of the red reflector. Alternately, he or she could draw a line, a curve, or a figure.

Then Newton shows the image of a ball slowly dropping from the top of the device's screen to the bottom. The player's job is to manipulate the drawing or object to guide the dropping ball into a target area. It's harder than it sounds, and chances are, kids will master it a lot faster than their parents will.

Words

Words is a game that teaches spelling skills. Osmo shows an image followed by a number of blanks to indicate the number of letters in the word. Your child uses the enclosed letter tiles to spell out the word. Because Osmo can "see" your child's work, it can also offer feedback. You can also upload words that are important to your child, like the names of family members, or download free content like geographical names. Your child can play this game on his or her own or compete against others.

Numbers

Numbers is, as the name suggests, designed to help with math skills. But not just skills -- this game teaches mathematical creativity, and this is something a lot of schools ignore. Wait, how can math be creative? I'm glad you asked that.

We're all used to thinking of creativity in terms of art and written expression. But mathematics isn't just memorizing facts and formulas. Just like words have synonyms, there are different ways of expressing numbers, too. The number 16 isn't just 15 + 1, for example. It's also four times four. It's also 19 minus three.

Numbers lets your child stretch their mathematical creativity by displaying a number. Your child then uses the enclosed number tiles to create that number by adding, subtracting, or multiplying other numbers. It teaches that math can be fun and creative, just like art. Once again, I'm impressed.


Other Osmo Games and Kits

The Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad isn't the only kit available. There are two other kits. What's more, you can buy individual add-on games as well. The Racer Kit and Explorer Kit come with all of the games described above, plus a few others. Additional kits will set you back between $100 and $200, depending on your retailer.

The Racer Kit, for example, comes with the Hot Wheels Mind Racers game. This, as the name suggests, involves racing two Hot Wheels cars down a ramp and into a virtual world. You get six different cars, and each has its own personality and specs. They can race through eight different worlds. It's a fun, fast-paced game with lots of yelling and throwing things. And if you have a Hot Wheels enthusiast in your house, chances are, they'll love it.

The Explorer Kit comes with three different coding games, as well as coding manipulables to help your child get the hang of programming logic. A lot of people tune out when they hear terms like "programming logic" and "coding." But these are fun, interactive games that kids can play alone or with others. There's a quest, several puzzles, and a "coding adventure" that make these concepts interesting and accessible to kids aged seven and up.

You can buy all of the above-mentioned games individually. You can also buy add-on games like the three Disney/Pixar-themed drawing games and a pizza-making game that helps develop money skills. Individual games will set you back between $20 and $60.

Using Osmo in the Classroom

According to Osmo, 30,000 schools use their products to teach both academic and collaborative skills to children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The company encourages teachers to use it to teach collaboration and teamwork, as well as academic skills. Toward this end, Osmo provides free lesson plans and a user-friendly teacher's guide. And from this former teacher's point of view, it looks pretty neat.

Positive 

  • There really is a lot to like about the Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad. The combination of virtual and physical tasks is one of the most innovative things I've seen recently in toys. The system helps kids to develop a range of skills in exciting and interesting ways. And it's surprisingly reasonably priced.
  • At the same time, it's a real drag that it's only compatible with Apple and Amazon products. Our family, and most of the people we know, to be honest, are Android users. And we're not interested in switching over to a whole new technological ecosystem just for the sake of one toy, no matter how cool.
  • Is the Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad for you? Of course, only you can decide that. But if you're already an Apple device or Kindle Fire user, you should definitely check it out.

There really is a lot to like about the Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad. The combination of virtual and physical tasks is one of the most innovative things I've seen recently in toys. The system helps kids to develop a range of skills in exciting and interesting ways. And it's surprisingly reasonably priced.

At the same time, it's a real drag that it's only compatible with Apple and Amazon products. Our family, and most of the people we know, to be honest, are Android users. And we're not interested in switching over to a whole new technological ecosystem just for the sake of one toy, no matter how cool.

What About the Competition?

Osmo is an innovative product, and it looks like lots of fun. But is there anything similar out there? Yes and no. There are plenty of children's tablets on the market. But as far as educational toys that merge the virtual and the physical, there is only one. Sort of.

LeapFrog LeapPad1 Explorer Learning Tablet

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You've probably heard of Leapfrog. Leapfrog is Osmo's main competitor. Their LeapPad was one of the earliest tablet-like learning technologies aimed at kids. The first LeapPad came out in 1999. Since then, their product line has expanded to include a wide variety of apps, devices, games, toys, fridge magnets, and more.

The two main differences between Osmo's and Leapfrog's product lines are these. First, Osmo's target market is children aged four through twelve. Leapfrog aims its products at ages three months through six years. The second difference is that while Osmo addresses a variety of subjects, Leapfrog's product focus specifically on reading and writing.

There are other differences as well. For example, Leapfrog's product line includes devices, stand-alone manipulables, and a whole range of interactive toys and games. In addition, parents can also subscribe to a paid monthly service that provides educational games. Osmo, and the Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad does a small number of tasks, and does them well.

Leapfrog tablets can cost as little as around $40 to $60 for a large-key keyboard with a black and white screen for toddlers, to over $100 for a tablet for older kids.

Our Verdict

If you're looking for a fun way to use technology to support different kinds of elementary-level learning, the Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad could really be worth your time. It's innovative, both in the way it combines virtual and physical learning and in the way it focuses on some of the kinds of learning typically overlooked in traditional education. It's also really reasonably priced.

But remember that Osmo is for kids aged four through twelve. If your kids are younger than that, Osmo probably isn't for them. And if you're an Android-only user, well, it's probably not for you, either. Will the company make Android-compatible products in the future? We sure hope so.

Do you have experience with the Osmo Genius Kit Game System for iPad, or any other virtual learning toy? Let us know about it in the comments!

Ematic FunTab: A Comprehensive Product Review

ematic funtab

What crosses your mind when you think of a tablet device? You are probably thinking of performance, design, and top-notch specs, forgetting that not every age group should have its hands on a full-featured device. For your kids, Ematic has created a tablet experience that will cater to their curious minds: the Ematic FunTab. This device is specially designed both for kids, and parents. It’s perfect for entertaining and is educational as well. Parents will love it just as much as their kids.

This device comes preloaded with the Android 4.0 Ice-cream Sandwich operating system and numerous child-friendly games. Ematic went a step further and made sure their device takes advantage of the Zoodles Children’s Computer Interface. This collaboration ensures that this device offers a safe online environment. This makes it easy for parents to tailor their children’s tablets to what they feel is appropriate. Since the Ematic Funtab is Wi-Fi capable, it's vital that parents take advantage of its parental controls.

However, there is a downside to the Ematic FunTab. If your children already have experience with devices such as the Amazon Kindle or Apple’s iPad, they might get frustrated by the FunTab's slower speeds and limited utility. People in the "know" recommend this tablet for preschoolers and young kids who don’t have previous experience with tablets.

Design Features and Performance

The Ematic FunTab was designed for comfort. Built with a durable rubber texture that is perfect for gripping, it also comes preloaded with many popular apps, your kids will get the chance to play an assortment of fun games such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja, and many more. It also features child specific apps such as Art Studio that will let your children nurture their inner artist.

Safety is Ematics most valued priority. By collaborating with Zoodles, parents can monitor the online content their children access through their devices. You are also able to customize a list of safe websites as well as track your child’s activities.

The Ematic FunTab has a captivating multi-touch seven-inch 800-pixel x 480-pixel screen. This tablet runs on a 1.2 gigahertz (GHz) processor and 512 megabytes (MB) of random access memory (RAM) that is ideal for a variety of children’s games and applications. It also has both a front and rear camera. The Ematic FunTab has a built-in three-axis gyroscope for advanced motion sensing and a five-hour constant play battery time.

You can get the Ematic FunTab in two sets of colors pink/purple and blue/green. It retails in some major chain stores as well as online retail platforms.

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Ematic FunTab FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about the Ematic FunTab Pro that may help you make a well-informed buying decision.

What makes the Ematic FunTab special?

Can it be used as a regular tablet?

How does the Ematic Parent control work?

What We Liked About the Ematic Funtab

It's always good to begin with the positives. So let's check out some of the reasons why your child would love owning an Ematic FunTab.

Ergonomic design

This tablet has an easy to grip design that is perfect for young children. It has special moldings on the back that make it easy for small hands to hold. Its rear surface has a rare soft matte slip-resistant material design.

Interactive interface for kids

When turned on, the Ematic Funtab will present an icon where each child is expected to customize their homepage. There are several large tabs on top that children can access to select games, videos, books, art, and video mail.

Parental control

This tablet includes a basic parental control feature, however, to get more detailed customizable features you need a Zoodle’s premium subscription. Guardians have the choice of establishing a PIN or swiping a pattern.

Preloaded popular games

It’s hard to find a child who doesn’t enjoy Angry Birds. The Ematic Funtab comes preloaded with a variety of games, so kids jump right into the fun.

Educational material

There is a variety of educational material including videos and books. Some of them are simply linked to YouTube. There’s also a series of Bill Nye, The Science Guy and many more that children love.

Video mail

Kids have the chance to send videos to any adult registered on their Zoodle account. You can also send videos to your child too. It’s a cute feature!


What We Didn't Like About the Ematic Funtab

Now that you know some of the best aspects of the Ematic FunTab, its time to look at a few disadvantages. It’s a good thing to know the good along with the bad so that you can make a well-informed decision.

Slow

The Ematic FunTab is slow; however, if your child is not picky about processors and internet speeds, then it won’t be a big deal. Multitasking will considerably slow things down.

Scattered content

The developers could do a better job getting things organized. It’s not hard to find educational videos mixed up in the gaming section.

Icons are random and without text

Rearranging the many different video and game icons is almost impossible. The best thing you could do is wait for your favorite apps to make it to the favorite tab, which is an entirely automated process. The icons don’t have text, and your child might have to select the icon to see what it is.

Setup is hectic

The device is already slow, combine that with the tasks required to disallow or allow games, and you can expect to spend some time setting up your child’s preferences and experiences.

The Ematic FunTab is a phenomenal device, and your kids will enjoy playing games and exploring the art and video mall. However, the device could do with more advanced games and apps. Regarding preloaded games and activities, it’s great for kids between the ages of two and eight. It’s an awesome device to travel with, thanks to its headphone and carrying case.

Price

This device is reasonably priced based on its functionality and close rivals. It is available from all leading store chains as well as online retailers such as Amazon. The Ematic Funtab costs between $60 and $70.


How We Reviewed

The Ematic FunTab is a popular tablet device that is generally well received and highly rated by its customers. Other than its speed, the device has very few negative features. We, however, conducted independent, in-depth research based on its specifications, consumer reviews, and market comparison. The Ematic FunTab has a 2.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon. It costs between $60 and $70.

How Does the Ematic FunTab Compare to Its Rivals?

Ematic is a leader in portable media, offering above average consumer electronics at an affordable price. The Ematic FunTab isn’t different from any of their other products regarding quality. It’s easy to grip sleek design and preloaded games and applications make this one of the most prevalent first-experience tablets for kids.

Compared to its rivals, it doesn’t have very long battery life. The Ematic Funtab offers only five hours of battery life compared to the seven hours you get with the LeapFrog Epic, which is the FunTab's closest rival. The Ematic FunTab is lighter and offers better resolution than the Amazon Fire HD 10, a close competitor. While the Amazon Fire HD 10 offers a better and more interactive user interface (UI), the Ematic FunTab offers a better screen resolution.

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This seven-inch tablet runs a proprietary UI on top of the existing Android OS (operating system). It is popular for its interactive virtual world where children can customize their own. The LeapFrog Epic has a green rubber casing for easy gripping. It’s also designed for durability and is believed to be capable of surviving a toddler-meltdown throw. It has a 1.9 MP camera on its back and weighs 20.64 ounces. The LeapFrog is heavier than both the Ematic FunTab and the Amazon Fire 10 Kids Edition.

The LeapFrog Epic comes with 16GB internal storage, expandable to 32GB. Also included are a calculator, calendar app, notepad, music player, and a photo and video gallery. The device has a selection of about 20 apps from its eBooks, games, and learning material.

Its 2MP front and rear cameras are ideal for older kids, as they allow children to create all manner of comical images of their friends, pets, parents, and siblings. It also records 480p videos, which is worth its purpose.

Its display isn’t the best but may suffice for the inexperienced toddler. Just like the Ematic Funtab, the LeapFrog features parental control capabilities. Parents can set up a user account with a four-digit code that will keep the device on parent mode. The LeapFrog Epic costs between $200 and $220. It has a rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Pros

  • Perfect size for tiny hands
  • Aimed at younger, inexperienced tablet users
  • LeapSearch browser customized pages
  • Multiple user profiles in one device

Cons

  • No warranties
  • Poor screen quality
  • Pricey subscription apps

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The Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition, christened as a tablet in kid’s clothing, is the same device available for adults but concealed in a protective rubber case. Its known for its variety of apps and software additions including subscription-based goodies. The Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition has superior specs compared to the Ematic Funtab.

It has a 10-inch 1080p full HD display, an internal storage capacity of 32GB, and offers up to 10 hours of battery time, which is twice as much as the Ematic FunTab. The Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition is heavier than the Ematic Funtab, weighing about 1.45 pounds.

The Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition costs between $120 and $140. This tablet has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Pros

  • Superior specs
  • A large variety of kid-safe content
  • Protective casing kids can throw around without parents worrying
  • Great 1080p full HD display
  • Parental features

Cons

  • Looks awkward playing non-Amazon content
  • Bulky and not ideal for younger children
  • Expensive
  • A lot of subscription-based applications
kurio tab 2

The Kurio Xtreme two is a seven-inch kids tablet. Its performance isn’t as notable as the Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition or the Ematic FunTab. It compensates for that with a ton of preloaded games and a colorful bumper that is likely to appeal to young children.

The Kurio Extreme also features a variety of popular games and applications, just like the Ematic FunTab. HelloKittyCafe, Motion Extreme, and Motion Playground are just a few of the games and apps your kids have access to. The Kurio Extreme 2 has a 1024x600 resolution with a 2.1MP camera. The camera, however, is nothing to get excited over. It doesn’t matter what the lighting conditions are, and it will still capture unfocused and grainy pictures. According to critics, the Kurio Extreme 2’s front-facing camera will only pass for a video call.

This device runs on Androids 5.0 Lollipop OS. Parents also can grant and deny access on the web through filtering. This device runs a 1.2 GHz MediaTek quad-core processor. It costs between $80 and $100.

Pros

  • Great content for children
  • Parental controls
  • Small, sturdy form
  • Affordable
  • Variety of preloaded apps and games to choose

Cons

  • Poor Camera
  • Short battery life

The Bottomline

The Ematic FunTab tablet might not be the cheapest tablet on the market for children, but it runs Android’s 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for its general use. It comes packed with a bunch of favorite games that your children will dive right in and have fun. The Zoodle interface offers a spectacular, stable platform your children will enjoy. For a retail price of between $60 and $70, the Ematic FunTab is a tablet you child can call their own.

Primo Cubetto Playset: Reviewing the Toy That Teaches Coding

Primo Cubetto Playset

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to teach your children how to code? The Primo Cubetto Playset does just that. With this toy, your child can spend hours solving problems and playing games. Meanwhile, they’ll be learning a new skill without even knowing it.

As parents, we are all quite used to seeing hype about one educational toy or another. And, of course, there are a number of other coding toys on the market today. You might be wondering how the Primo Cubetto Playset compares to them. Also, how well does it work? Does it really teach your children how code? And how long will it hold their attention? These are a few things you need to know before buying the Primo Cubetto Playset.

What Is the Primo Cubetto Playset?

The Primo Cubetto Playset is a fun toy that teaches your children how to code. They navigate Cubetto, a small robot in the shape of a wooden cube, around a playmat with blocks and an interface board. It doesn’t require reading skills, which means even very young children can have fun with it. That makes it a fun, easy way to teach children of all ages a skill that will last them a lifetime. Montessori approves this toy, inspired by LOGO Turtle.

This playset comes with Cubetto, a playmat, an interface board, 16 coding blocks, and a storybook. More mats and storybooks can be bought separately to expand Cubetto’s adventures. These include maps based on Ancient Egypt, outer space, the ocean, and more. In this way, your child never runs out of things to do with Cubetto.

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FAQs

Here are a few things you should know before buying the Primo Cubetto Playset.

How do you use it?

Does it really work?

What does it require?

Is it appropriate for all ages?

How Much Does It Cost?

One major downside to the Primo Cubetto Playset is the price. It’s going to cost between $200 and $300. On top of this, the extra playmats will each cost an extra $20 to $30. Although most parents enjoy this toy, several have complained about the hefty price tag. Many felt it should’ve come with more than one playmat for the price they’re paying.

You can find the Primo Cubetto Playset on Amazon or the official Primo website. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to find this toy in brick and mortar toy stores. You’re going to have to shop online for this one.

How We Reviewed

We gathered most of the basic information about these toys from Amazon and their official websites. We turned to Amazon for customer reviews. We chose to focus on features such as replayability, educational value, ease of use, and of course, affordability. We also took recommended age ranges into account when reviewing these products.

How Does It Compare to Other Coding Toys?

The Primo Cubetto Playset isn’t the only coding toy on the market. So how does it measure up against the competition?

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Robot Turtles is an award-winning board game that teaches coding skills based on the Logo language. It’s also the most backed board game in the history of Kickstarter. It comes with a board and a variety of different cards. These include forward, left, right, and a Bug card in case you make a mistake. The goal is to use the cards to help the turtle find the jewel. The makers recommend this game for children between three and eight years of age.

Many customers have enjoyed playing this game with their young children, and they feel it really does teach coding skills. They also love the fact that it doesn’t require batteries or an app. Unfortunately, several have complained that it’s not interesting enough to hold their child’s attention. It’s a very simple game, and it doesn’t offer much regarding replayability.

Luckily, it’s also very affordable. Robot Turtles will only cost between $20 and $30. It’s a great choice if you’re shopping on a budget, but you have to consider how long your child will stay interested. The Primo Cubetto Playset will likely hold your child’s attention much longer if you can afford it. Amazon gives it 4.1 out of 5 stars.

Quality

Usability

Support

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The WowWee Coji is a small robot that uses emoji language to teach your children STEM skills. That's a language that everyone is familiar with, which makes coding an easy transition. Your child can use the WowWee Coji to play a variety of different games with the help of a smartphone app. You can also play with it in limited ways without the app. This toy requires three AAA batteries. WowWee recommends it for children four to seven years of age.

Many customers say the WowWee Coji is a fun toy for young children with an interest in electronics. It’s a good choice if your child likes gadgets and robots. Unfortunately, a lot of parents also had trouble getting it to work properly. Many had difficulty connecting it to the app, and the batteries tend to die quickly. Also, older children might get bored with it quickly.

This toy will cost between $35 and $50. Again, it’s much more affordable than the Primo Cubetto Playset. However, Cubetto doesn’t suffer from most of Coji’s problems. It also doesn’t require batteries or an app. Therefore, it’s still the better choice if you can afford it. The WowWee Coji has 3.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Quality

Usability

Support

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The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox is a LEGO set that allows your child to have fun building and coding. With this set, you can build five different models, including a robot, a cat, and a guitar. You can use the app to program different behaviors once your child is finished. That teaches them STEM skills while they have fun with their new creation. Like all LEGO products, it is compatible with other LEGO sets. LEGO recommends this product for children between seven and twelve years of age.

Of course, everyone loves LEGOs. Lots of customers have raved about how much their children love playing with this set. The fact that you can build different models leads to plenty of replayability. On the downside, some customers had difficulty connecting it to the app. Also, the LEGO Boost’s coding aspect isn’t quite as intuitive as other coding toys.

The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox will cost between $150 and $180. That's cheaper than the Primo Cubetto Playset. In this case, your decision will largely depend on the age of your child. The Primo Cubetto Playset is more enjoyable for younger children, while the LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox is more appropriate for older kids. Amazon gives this toy 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Quality

Usability

Support

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The Osmo Coding Jam teaches children how to code by combining coding skills with music. The 23 blocks that come with this set arrange in different patterns that resemble coding sequences. These patterns are recognized and used to create different beats and melodies by setting your iPad into the Osmo base and downloading the app. Unfortunately, you have to buy the base separately. Osmo recommends this product for children between ages five and twelve.

Customers love this toy because it’s engaging and easy to use. If your child loves music, they can easily spend hours and hours creating different songs. Most of the complaints have been relatively minor. The most frequent complaint is the actual coding isn’t deep enough. Many parents found it to be overly simplistic.

The Osmo Coding Jam will cost between $50 and $80. It’s much cheaper than the Primo Cubetto Playset, and many say it’s just as engaging. However, the Primo Cubetto Playset does a better job of actually teaching children how to code. It’s still the best choice if coding is important to you. Amazon gives the Osmo Coding Jam 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Comparison

PRODUCT

RATING

Where to buy

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WowWee Coji

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Pros and Cons

Overall, the Primo Cubetto Playset has a lot of things going for it. It challenges your child’s imagination and problem-solving skills while teaching them a skill that will last a lifetime. Moreover, it’s simply a fun and engaging toy for children and adults. On the downside, it’s also pretty expensive. Also, children under five might find it too complicated.

Pros

  • Teaches children how to code
  • Doesn’t require an app or a smart device
  • You can play with it in many different ways
  • It’s fun!

Cons

  • It’s expensive
  • The mat bunches up occasionally
  • It might be too advanced for younger children

Our Verdict

In the end, reviewers on Amazon gave the Primo Cubetto Playset 4.6 out of 5 stars. It’s fun, easy to use, and does a great job of teaching coding skills to your child. Compared to other coding toys, it's highly engaging. You can also play with it in a variety of different ways. That is especially true if you choose to buy the extra maps and storybooks.

The only real big question is if you can afford it. Unfortunately, this toy is simply going to be out of the price range for many parents. You also have to consider your child’s age. Children in the age range of five to eight will have the most fun with it. If these things are not an issue, then there’s no reason not to get the Primo Cubetto Playset. It’s simply a great way to have fun with your child while teaching them a skill they can use later in life.

Kurio Tab 2: A Comprehensive Product Specification Review

Kurio Tab 2

The Kurio kids tablet is a family-focused device that gives parents many control and monitoring options. With a myriad of device options for families to choose from, it may be difficult to find the right balance of affordability and features.

The Kurio 2 kids tablet is like many Android tablets. It is full of features, has built-in apps and access to over three million apps on the Google Play Store. Priced affordably, it is not a perfect device, but it hits the mark on many of the most important features that are a parent's priority for safe technology.

Devices like smartphones and tablets have changed the way people learn and enjoy entertainment. Ever since the advent of touchscreen devices a decade ago an entire generation of kids have grown up familiar with swiping screens, tapping games, and watching videos on the go.

Some parents give kids a full-featured tablet or an old android device, such as a retired smartphone, and check in on usage after the fact. Maybe they scan browser histories or check to see which apps have been downloaded and played. For many devices, this type of retrospective monitoring is all that is possible. It's far from ideal, though. A family tablet, like the Kurio kids tablet, arms parents with intelligent controls to limit use for safety.

Tablets as Learning Tools

Educators advocate for the use of tablets in childhood learning. Touchscreens are fun and straightforward to use. Kids can incorporate almost any school subject into a game-like environment on a tablet. The real benefit of tablets in education, however, is not solely found in the technology's ease of use.

Tablets open children to a world of information, providing answers and insight in ways that traditional learning cannot. The internet and mobile apps can be frightening, though. With a family tablet like the Kurio kids tablet, children can safely navigate vast information with parent-monitored controls.

Kurio Products

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Kurio makes a focused product line of family tablets, cameras, and smartwatches. The brand name is not as well-known as other tablet manufacturers — the company is commonly incorrectly identified as Kiro instead of Kurio — but the Kurio kids tablet is solidly built and based on the popular Android operating system.

These devices are all marketed as child safe. The Kurio kids tablet is designed for children, both visually and under the hood. Many models come with shock bumper cases, too. These covers help fend off the all-too-common dropped and broken device syndrome.

Beyond the brightly colored exterior, Kurio products are chock full of serious technology. Potent performance keeps kids from complaining about slow games and video, and Kurio helps parents control what kids see online and within apps. Technology can be scary, Kurio helps give parents peace of mind.

All About the Kurio Kids Tablet -- Next

The latest Kurio kids tablet is the Next model. It has a 7-inch screen and has a 16 GB storage capacity. It combines typical tablet features with family controls and a kid-friendly build at a reasonable price.

An Android tablet, with a kid-friendly build


The Next is Kurio's lone tablet product for 2018. It is an Android tablet, running version 6.0, or "Marshmallow." The tablet's screen comes with a blue light filter that eases eye strain. It has a fairly standard tablet form factor.

Wrap it in the enclosed bumper, and you'll protect it from drops and give it a more child-friendly look. The covers come in either blue or pink. It looks like any other tablet on the market on the outside, but the differences appear when you power up the device.

Kurio's smart filters


On top of its Android OS interface, users will see a prominent tab for Kurio's propriety control and filtering environment. Kurio's intelligent controls allow parents to customize app and content filters in several ways.

First, Kurio introduces a unique system that filters categorize and updates almost two billion sites every day. The system has several pre-defined filters, or parents can tailor the ideal app and browsing environment for their children.

Parents can also add blocked sites easily. This flexibility is a critical component of Kurio's technology because the Next tablet is intended to grow with your children. As kids mature, the content that is available to them can be adjusted.

Up to eight users make it a device for the whole crew


If you're wondering how the Next's user interface works with children of multiple ages under one roof, Kurio thought of that, too. The Next allows up to eight separate user logins. Your youngest can enjoy a tablet experience geared towards elementary learning, while your teenager can watch age-appropriate videos.

Time limits help families develop responsible device habits


The maturity level of content is not the sole consideration for creating a managed tablet environment. Sometimes parents want to limit games to a certain amount of time each day. With its App Management System, the Next allows parents to decide which apps kids can use. Parents can set these limits per user, so each child has its personalized parameters. Parents can dial-in time controls individually for play applications — such as games or web browsing — and for learning programs.

Most importantly, the Next tablet is good to go right out of the box. It's pre-loaded with over 60 of the most popular, kid-friendly apps. Like any Android device, the Next also connects with the Google Play Store, so new apps are easy to add to the tablet. The tablet also has a quick connection to the KIDOZ selection of curated family apps.

Kurio kids tablet pricing and availability


The Next is affordable. Price ranges from $70 to $130, including a bumper cover and charger. You can buy a Kurio kids tablet online at Amazon, Jet, Target, and Walmart.

These tablets sometimes are difficult to find. Some online outlets only sell older models. Make sure that you know the exact model that you are buying because prior models do not have the same features as the Next.

Comparison with Other Tablets

Family tablets are a growing section of the personal technology market. Popular full-feature tablets, such as Apple's iPad, Microsoft's Surface, and High-end Android tablets can be too costly for family use. Families don't need all of the features that come with an iPad pro. A simple machine that runs apps and streams video is sufficient.

However, Kurio is certainly not alone in the family tablet market. There are entry-level tablets and other models specifically designed and branded for children.

Review methodology

In reviewing the Kurio kids tablet and comparing with other models, we collected and compared industry news, manufacturer data and user reviews from actual shoppers. We noted positives and negatives and looked for patterns to give a more well-rounded overview of the tablet.

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Amazon's popular and inexpensive Fire line of tablets are well-regarded by users. Even without child-specific branding, a Fire tablet is an excellent choice for a family tablet.

Like the Kurio Next, Amazon's family tablet adds parental controls and curated kid's app availability. Likewise, the Fire 7 Kids is visually similar to the Kurio Next. The Fire 7 Kids Tablet also has a 7-inch screen, 16 GB memory, and a rubberized kid cover. Its Fire OS is a rebranding of an Android version.

A chorus of almost 10,000 user reviews praises the Fire 7 Kids tablet. Prices range from $70 to $90.

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Nabi was one of the first manufacturers to market directly to families needing a tablet solution. The Nabi Dreamtab is a solid product from a reputable company, but it is pricey for what you get.

It runs an earlier version of Android, which means that not every app your child likes will work. Other than the operating system, the Nabi is almost identical to the Kurio kids tablet, except for its slightly larger 8-inch screen.

Some users liked its kid-centric format, while others complained about shoddy construction and system failure. Priced from $100 to $150.

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Samsung makes high-quality smartphones, Chromebooks, laptops, and tablets. Its Galaxy Tab E Lite is a small tablet aimed at the family market.

Samsung adds STEM and other educational content, such as Common Corea, to its tablet. With only 8 GB of storage, however, you'll likely need to use an SD card to save pictures and other data.

Reviews of this tablet are mixed. Some praise Samsung's build quality. Others complain about the tablet's lack of features. Prices range from $100 to $150.

Pros and Cons of the Kurio Kids Tablet

Compared with some of its popular competition, the Kurio kids tablet is an overall good deal for the price. Its proprietary filtering is unique, but its quality and customer support strengths are less established.

Pros

  • Priced much less than the competition
  • Features unique filtering abilities
  • Permits up to eight users
  • List ElemComes with Android 6.0 for a more up-to-date user experienceent

Cons

  • Not as popular as more established brands
  • Uncertain support as the tablet does connect directly to support through an integrated app
  • Availability can be scarce
  • Some users indicated that the SD card reader caused performance issues

Verdict

While the Kurio Next kids tablet provides a family tablet environment at a low price, it may be worth a small increase in cost to step up to the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Tablet. Amazon's support is one of its strong points, the technology is almost identical, and nearly 10,000 users back the product. Consequently, it seems that the extra $10 to $20 for an Amazon Fire is well worth the investment. Finally, it may even be possible to find a deal and get an Amazon for the same price or cheaper.

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