OSMO Early Math & Skip Counting

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For those of you that read my 2019 STEM gifts post will recall that one of the items I suggested as a great gift for 5-12 year olds was the Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad or Osmo Genius Starter Kit for Fire Tablet.  I’ve seen the benefits from it and I wanted to share an example of how we have used the programs in our home, specifically with learning math, subitizing and counting.

Osmo Genius Kit

Numbers Game:

Premise of the Game:

One of the games that comes with this set is called “Numbers”.  The premise of this game is to fill the tank with fish and water as quickly as possible before the hook catches all the fish in the tank.  They must pop bubbles to release the fish, coral, water and other items into the tank by solving math problems – figuring out what combination of numbers coming together makes the number in that particular bubble (essentially through addition or subtraction).

If you have this program, I highly recommend first explaining the game, then allowing your child to work through it on their own for a bit and observe what they do.  This really helps you gauge where they might need some help.  Through observation with my daughter, I realized that some help with learning to skip count and also subtilizing would be greatly beneficial to her.

Our Method to the Game:

Some of the pieces in this game are dots on a square – similar to a dice.  They come in 1’s, 2’s and 5’s.  So, I pulled out our counting chart and first, I asked her to count the numbers by 5’s.  We circled all the numbers by 5’s up to the number 20 – which would have been 5, 10, 15 and 20.  This helped her more easily visualize that when putting the 5 dots squares together it created those numbers (without her having to count the dots on the square each time – hence subitizing).


So, when a bubble would be on the screen with a number, we had a process for finding the answer to pop the bubble:

  1. We would search for that number on the number chart.
  2. Count how many circled number (or 5 dot squares) would came before that number.
  3. Count how many more from the last circled number (5 dot square) it would take to get to the number we needed.
  4. Then we would put those combinations of squares together.

As an example, we had to find combinations of squares to create the number 13.

  1. We found the number 13 on the number chart (above).
  2. We counted that two 5 dot squares were before it which gave us 10 total dots.
  3. Then we counted how many more squares until we reached 13 total.  Which ended up being 3 more dots.
  4. So, we put two sets of 5 dot squares together, then added 3 more to get 13. (See below.)



After a few times following the method I mentioned above, I noticed that my daughter could very quickly recognize, with skip counting by 5’s, how to put the numbers together to create the numbers 5, 10, 15 and 20.  She no longer had to count the dots (she subitized) and she also used the squares with more dots much more often than previously.

The other set of squares have physical numbers printed on them and we later switched to using those.  She started realizing that there was more than one way to make get the number in the bubble – many different numbers grouped together created that number.  Her confidence greatly increased and she was having a lot of fun with the program.

Benefits to Osmo:

In our family, the benefits to this program are:

  • It shows our child the information in real time.
  • Our child can learn and experiment at her own pace.
  • The program is extremely creative and fun for them.
  • Skip counting is the beginning foundation for multiplication and subitizing is the foundation for more complex math and counting. This program supports that learning.
  • It allows for less preparation time to teach these concepts at home.  I don’t always have time to create fun homemade learning.

I hope this helps give a better understanding of what Osmo is capable of and why I recommended it on my 2019 STEM Toy list this past year!

Do you have an Osmo already?  What programs have you tried and what have you liked and disliked about it?  Let me know in the comments!



P.S. The spell check on Word Press needs to learn the word – subitize!  I can’t tell you how many times I needed to correct the auto-correct! Haha!  Hopefully I caught them all!


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