Screen time has definitely increased now we are at home all day. So when Otsimo asked me to review their specialist educational app I jumped at the chance.
I have received free access to the Otsimo premium account in exchange for this honest review. However all words and opinions are my own based on our experience.
The Otsimo app
I downloaded the Otsimo app on my phone and gave it to my 6 year old and he was straight in there with no support needed from me. The first day he was on it for over an hour so I knew it was a winner.
The app has two modules- one for the child and the other for adults. The child section is completely ad and purchase free so no interruptions which is brilliant. There is a map that the child can follow to play different games and move forward or you can go directly to favourite activities.
Otsimo has a really good selection of games / activities included in the premium option. My son particularly enjoyed the drawing letters, learning actions and matching fruit / veg games. The app is perfect for visual learners with fun games designed to to improve speaking, reading and writing, communication and maths skills.
My son has been playing everyday for the last week when I am cooking tea and he hasn’t needed any help at all. The app uses pointers to show the child what to do and it is very clear how to play each game.
You can see the full list of the Otsimo games here.
The counting game was a favourite for my son. As you tap on each item you count along and I can see how this really helps him to identify the numbers with counting objects.
There are several matching games which again is perfect for kids who are stronger visually.
I was really pleased to see that the game my son spent the most time on was drawing letters. He really struggles with anxiety and doesn’t like to write letters or draw on paper because he needs it to be perfect. Using apps like this are a brilliant way to get his mark making in and help build up his confidence.
Otsimo is full of positive reinforcement saying things like ‘well done’ as activities are completed and ending with balloons that the child gets to pop. My son loved popping all the balloons as quickly as he can!
The app is also really good at not highlighting when the child makes an error and subtly prompting if the child seems to be struggling / taking a long time.
I have been working on emotions with my son recently often using print outs so it was great to see learning and matching emotions included in Otsimo. I was really pleased to see my son enjoying this activity and engaging with it.
Otsimo also includes a matching emojis game which is great. It is another way to work on those emotions an a good skill considering how much these are used now.
I have often used social stories with my son and sometimes struggle to get him to engage with them. I was really impressed with the format where the app reads the story to you.
I can see this is a really positive way to deliver a social story. My son is far more likely to take it in from the smart device than if I was reading it to him.
Whilst all the games on Otsimo have an educational benefit there are some that are great when needing to relax like the puzzles and colouring. I really liked that the puzzles included everyday items so help with useful vocabulary.
The colouring book in Otsimo has a good selection of things to colour in so can keep you busy for a while. It is also error-less and the child won’t be able to go outside the lines again great for confidence building.
My 6 year old is non verbal and a PECS user. We have the PECS app and LAMP so we are familiar with Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices (AAC). The fact that the Otsimo app includes an AAC section is brilliant. AAC apps are often very expensive to purchase so this is great way to test out using AAC on a smart device for those who are non- verbal or speech delayed.
We are still working on using a speech device because my son currently prefers the physical PECS cards. This is a fantastic resource for us to work on using and it would be great for existing AAC users.
Otsimo has a separate family module where parents / carers can monitor development using the analysis reports. You can also adjust the settings of games. In the settings you can adjust the difficulty, turn off music and adjust the hint settings which are all really useful. Each game also has an overview section and detail on what it is teaching and how.
A really good feature is that I can see how long my son has spent on the app and what games he as been playing within it. This is great so I can see what he is engaging with and it was really nice to see he was using the emotions and social story games.
In the past week I have given my son the phone in his free play time before dinner he has averaged 45 minutes – 1 hour each day. This means he has chosen to stick with Otsimo as he can easily move off it onto other apps on my phone himself. He has also really enjoyed it and seems to be really keen to use it which is great.
Value for money
An annual subscription to Otsimo premium is usually £144.99 but there is currently a discount to make it £106.99 for the year. You can download the app for free and access some free games but will not get the full benefit of the app as described above without subscribing. There are also monthly and lifetime pay options available.
If you have a visual learner who enjoys using apps on smart devices this is a brilliant option. My 6 year old has chosen to spend nearly an hour a day on the app and it is great to know he is spending his screen time on something designed for his learning style.
Whilst I have come across many similar games in apps before I have not come across an app that has all the games together like Otsimo. So instead of having my phone full of different apps for counting, letters and colouring I can just use Otsimo which has them all alongside the social stories and AAC.
Whilst spending over £100 on an app is a lot of money I can certainly see its value from our usage so far. The AAC section of the app alone is a bargain compared to other AAC apps I have come across. The fact that so much is included in Otsimo I do think it is worth the cost and presents good value.
I found the app was not compatible with my very old iPad so do check compatibility with your smart devices first. I have been using the app on my android phone.
It is an international app so there are some American spellings such as ‘gray’ and ‘color’. Also the money games refer to US cash which would be better if it were UK cash but its still a good skill to learn and the only slightly irritating thing about the app for me.
Otsimo is available from your smart devices app store. I have been really pleased with my son’s reaction to Otsimo. Now I don’t feel that guilt when he is having some screen time because he is relaxed, having fun and learning. Plus it gives me time to do other things!
I have also reviewed the Otsimo Speech Therapy app.