8 Typing Games for Kids and When to Start Playing Them
Our kids are so proficient on computers, phones, and tablets that it's easy to forget they still need to learn a few basic skills at the start. Being able to type quickly and accurately saves kids time and gives them confidence in their own abilities. Plus, if they start typing at the pre-K level, it can also help with letter recognition.
Typing lessons can seem a little dull, but thankfully, there are lots of interactive games, apps, and exercises to get little ones learning how to type proficiently in no time at all. "Make typing practice a regular habit and kids will improve," explains third grade teacher Miriam Ahmed. "It's like anything: The more they practice, the better they'll get and the easier they'll find it."
We asked teachers for their best typing games for kids in preschool to middle school to get your budding typist on their way.
Kids who love the game Fruit Ninja will get a kick out of, Keyboard Ninja, a free desktop-based typing game that has three levels and tests kids on the top and bottom rows, the home keys, and the number pad.
Teacher tip: Suzanne Taylor a teacher from New York City says that it's important to encourage kids to place their fingers on the keys by locating the little bumps on the F and J keys. "Speed will come later," says Taylor. "To start, kids need to practice correct hand placement and accuracy."
Jungle Junior starts at the pre-K level and that's exactly when kids should learn to type according to early childhood specialist Monica Lewis. "As soon as kids can identify letters it's time to practice finding them on a keyboard. In fact, the earlier you start the better," says Lewis.
This interactive program couples informative and instructional videos with practical activities to teach alphabet recognition, dexterity, and familiarity with the keyboard. It also features lots of games to warm up the fingers and practice the correct hand placement.
Keyman has kids clicking on letters to guide a Pacman-style character around an underwater grid collecting treasure and fish. It doesn't feel like learning at all—and it's quite addictive—so it will keep children entertained especially when you need five minutes to yourself.
Teacher tip: If possible when kids are learning to type they should use a computer rather than a cell phone. "There are lots of great typing apps, but playing them on a mobile device is a mistake as it doesn't help kids to learn where to put their fingers on a real keyboard," advises fourth grade teacher Mike Ellison.
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This simple and colorful game is great for beginners but also has a hard setting to challenge kids as they get faster. In Type-a-Balloon, balloons float up with letters on them and kids have to find the correct letter to pop the balloon.
Teacher tip: "There are lots of typing games available so if your kid doesn't like one simply switch to a different one," says Ahmed. "Keep it fun, and kids will stick with it."
If your child is obsessed with Dance, Dance Revolution they'll just love Type, Type Revolution. Kids get to choose from 10 songs and then have to hit the correct letter before it gets to the top of the screen. "When introducing new skills, it's a great idea to connect it with something children already enjoy doing," says Lewis.
When kids are feeling confident to locate all the letters and are old enough to read more complex sentences, this game lets them practice improving their speed at writing longer sentences. Typing Sentences for Speed also gives them interesting facts and stories to read and type rather than just collections of words. "I like this game because it's actually interesting to read," says Ellison. "Kids often get bored with typing the traditional 'lazy brown fox jumping over the dog' stuff."
When your big kid has the basics down and just needs to practice their speed, The Typing of the Ghosts Game is a winner. Kids have to type the word before the ghost gets them!
Teacher tip: Taylor says that older kids can struggle with typing skills especially if they have got into bad habits or their writing skills are far more advanced than their typing. "It can be frustrating for kids if it's easier for them to just write down their ideas rather than having to type them. But to get faster, they have to practice, so we need to make sure the practicing is fun," she says.
The Ratatype program is designed for adults but works well for older kids wanting to learn how to touch type. It includes tips on the correct posture and helps kids to improve their typing speed.