Typing Games for Kids
By Marie Look
Typing games are appropriate for kids as young as the elementary school age, and are a great way to motivate children to familiarize themselves with a keyboard. As word processing skills and the ability to easily navigate software and the Internet become increasingly important in the job market, children who practice typing and other keyboarding skills from an early age are quickly put at a significant advantage over those who do not.
Typing games that are fun and entertaining are often better learning motivators to children who do not respond well to more traditional, standardized typing lessons. As more universities and companies integrate computer-based technology into daily operations, general computer knowledge and keyboarding skills become necessary to achieve success in both school and an office setting. Using typing games can dramatically improve a child's ability to type quickly without constantly looking down at his or her hands. Children can also learn the importance of, and rewards associated with, completing tasks with accuracy, improving his or her spelling skills and being able to navigate a computer's operating system.
There are a variety of typing games for kids to choose from, including both computer software programs and online games. Exercises can be key-, hand- or finger-based, and come in the form of tutorials, drills, activities, tests or a combination. Many typing games for kids feature characters and concepts easily appreciated by children, such as friendly-looking characters and animals, sports, cheerful music and bright colors. Choosing a game that reflects some aspect of the child's personality or interests could lead to more enthusiastic, frequent use, and therefore, better results.
At an online retailer, such as Amazon.com, good software typing games can be purchased for a reasonable price. Two popular sports-related typing games are All-Star Typing by The Learning Company and Jumpstart Typing by Vivendi Universal Games. All-Star Typing is appropriate for kids age 9 and older and features basketball and soccer themes, while Jumpstart Typing features typing lessons with rock climbing, skateboarding, foosball and snowboarding themes. Some software games featuring friendly animated characters include SpongeBob Squarepants Typing 2008 by Encore Software and Disney's Typing Adventures with Timon and Pumbaa, which is appropriate for kids age 6 and older. Another game, Typing Warrior by SelectSoft Publishing, is action-oriented, enabling children to "blow away enemies on land, at sea and in the air," according to the product description on Amazon.com.
A major benefit of online games is that many of them can be used for free. Learninggamesforkids.com provides links to a number of free online typing games, such as Novel Games' The Typing of the Ghosts, a game for advanced beginners that focuses on speed and accuracy, and the BBC's Dance Mat Typing, which is an introduction to typing for children ages 7 to 11 and an excellent game for familiarizing a child with the keyboard's "home row." At Freetypinggame.net, most typing games let the child select his or her level: beginner, intermediate or advanced. At Freeonlinetypinggames.net, registered users (registration is free) can check their improvement by viewing how they rank with other users on a high score list. Try entering the phrase "free online typing games" into a search engine to find more games.
An excellent way to assess a child's current typing skills is with a free online typing test. Often, the results of such a test can be used to determine appropriate typing games or typing software, based on the child's apparent strengths and weaknesses. Enter the phrase "free online typing test" into a search engine to get a list of websites and then choose a site and test best suited for the child.
Marie Look writes and edits for Demand Studios from Scottsdale, Ariz. She has a bachelor's degree in professional writing from the University of Oklahoma's College of Journalism and Mass Communication and particularly enjoys covering such topics as the environment, cultures, trends, events and music.