Teachers throughout history have tried to make math “fun” by teaching fractions via pizza. Oh, someone wants five-sixths of the pie? Another wants one-third of the pie? How many slices can they each eat? Who cares — that perfect coal-fired pizza is getting cold! Pizza math makes everyone mad, but that didn’t discourage startup company Osmo, who found a better way to get your kids to love math through majesty of sauce and cheese with iPad app Osmo Pizza Co.
Osmo Pizza Co. is your kid’s own virtual pizza shop, located in the heart of downtown iPad Town. The app also comes with a physical pizza play mat and toppings (anchovy — who still eats that?). Your kid can take orders from the screen and then build them faster than a disgruntled Domino’s employee. But there’s a lot more to Osmo Pizza Co. than just slinging digital dough. As budding pizzapreneurs, kids have to run the whole business, including working the register and making change with play money (aka doing math). The game challenges their addition, subtraction, and fractions skills, and uses your device’s camera to make sure they get it right. If the problems are too easy or too hard, Osmo Pizza Co. will automatically adjust to match their abilities.
Another skill your kid will learn down at the Osmo Pizza Co.: people skills. (Or, at least blue llama skills.) The game’s animal customers aren’t always satisfied with their slices, and your kid has to pay attention to their nonverbal clues to figure out what to do about it. If they don’t correct the piss poor service, the bad reviews start coming in, and the business suffers. Now they understand why the delivery guy always “forgets” their order of crazy bread.
Also, there’s no prize at the end. You “win” by … getting more work to do! (Hey, another thing that’s just like real life!) Kids can save up their profits, and use it to invest in upgrades for Osmo Pizza Co. shop. They’ll also probably start saying things to you like, “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.”