Introducing Osmo Kaleidoscope! Featuring 7 Hands-On Explorations For Kids
The following blog article was adapted from Kids Co-designing for Kids: 7 Hands-On Explorations with Osmo Kaleidoscope, written by Frances Judd, Early Childhood Tinkering and Engineering Sciences (TES) Lab Teacher and Special Projects Leader at Bennett Day School.
Osmo Kaleidoscope is a hands-on, collaborative and creative learning tool co-designed by PreK-4th grade children at Bennett Day School with their TESLab teacher. Now available for download on the App Store, this new app empowers all Osmo users to design and create beautiful kaleidoscope images with everyday objects, toys, art materials, or seasonal items from nature.
For other interested classrooms or households with an Osmo setup to explore the Osmo Kaleidoscope Game, here are 7 STEM/STEAM-focused ideas for hands-on explorations with everyday objects:
1) Foodie Fun. Those busy moments when kiddos are waiting for mealtime are perfect opportunities to offer Osmo Kaleidoscope as a tool for exploring colorful linens, fresh fruits/veggies, or an array of plastic measuring spoons.
2) Naturally Neat. Some of the app’s stencil-shapes (such as a butterfly, leaf, clover, acorn, daisy, and zinnia) are especially beloved for children who like to collect and study little items found in nature.
3) Tool Time. Many classrooms, STEM Labs, maker-spaces, and households have various tools, rulers, legos, or construction toys that are just right for open-ended explorations of symmetry in kaleidoscope form. Here you can see that our robot-stencil uses a mosaic of mini-kaleidoscopes.
“For learners of any age, there is true value in experiences that help us to visualize mathematics, and certainly exploring patterns, geometry, and symmetry is part of that work,” says Frances Judd, the Osmo Kaleidoscope project leader. “Those of us in STEM/STEAM education often search for ways to help our students notice math/science connections to the arts. When leading the co-design team, with innovative students and faculty at Bennett Day School, it was valuable to think in terms of these types of artistic and scientific connections.”
4) Party Play. Children’s birthday parties, holiday celebrations, and family events often come with small trinkets or keepsakes that can personalize and enliven these STEM/STEAM explorations.
5) Letter Learning. Alphabet letters and numbers are important components of learning materials. Surprising discoveries always happen when using numerical playing cards, dice, or ABC scrabble pieces. Dual onscreen slider-bars can increase or decrease the number of segments in your design.
6) Crafty Creations. We find that young artists who are passionate about creative activities such as bead-stringing, sewing, or drawing really love exploring this new use for their favorite arts & crafts for kids materials!
7) Space Symmetry. For those who can’t find enough uses for outer-space action figures or sports toys, Osmo Kaleidoscope is a fun place to make new discoveries. If your children love to line-up neat rows of tiny race cars, motorcycles, or spaceships, we hope they also become passionate about the structure and order found in their symmetrical designs!