Does your child have difficulty writing because their writing is too slow, illegible, or their hand can’t keep up with their thoughts? While some handwriting will probably always be necessary while children are in school,  typing can be a good alternative when they have to write assignments that are several sentences, paragraphs, or pages.

Occupational therapists are not typing instructors, but we can give guidance to find alternative typing strategies, modify keyboards, and determine whether they have the motor skills to be successful typists using a home row typing method. 

New typists are typically not very inefficient, so it should not be assumed that typing will be better right away for children who don’t like to write. When a lot of time is spent looking for letters on the keyboard children may not hold all of the information that they want to type in their head and may simplify their thoughts because getting it into their document is so laborious. As a result they may not show all that they know with writing assignments. 

While it is ideal for most children to have a structured process to learn keyboarding so that they can be efficient, many children (and adults) who have not had formal instruction can do just fine learning to type by creating their own method. If a child has difficulty paying attention or fine motor delays that make it hard to learn home row typing then it may be helpful to get practice typing by learning where the letters are on the keyboard. In general, parents and teachers can encourage the use of both hands to type while children are becoming more familiar with the keyboard. 

Here are some games and typing programs that teach children how to type.

KEYBOARD INSTRUCTION

  • Typing.com: www.typing.com
    • This program can have multiple users.
    • It has different leveled lessons, and keeps track of the progress.
    • It also keeps track of more challenging levels and will make up lessons for these.
    • Slow practice pace for accurate learning
    • Has games built in for practice.
  • Free Typing Games: www.freetypinggame.net
    • Has lessons that can be customized.
    • There is a scoreboard to keep track of performance.
  • Dance Mat Typing: https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/articles/z3c6tfr
    • Has levels that are divided into stages.
    • More letters are introduced as one progresses through levels and stages.
    • Fun and interactive

TYPING GAMES

  • PowerTyping: www.powertyping.com
    • This has a variety of games at different levels.
    • Games vary from practicing typing letters to typing multiple words.
  • Free Typing Games: www.freetypinggame.net
    • This has several games that can be customized to work on certain letters.
    • A scoreboard is available to keep track of performance.
  • ABCya!: www.ABCya.com
    • This website has a variety of games for grades K-5.
    • There are games for keyboarding skills at each grade level.
  • Nitrotype: www.nitrotype.com
    • This website has an interactive racing game where the speed you type powers a car on a race track.
    • You can compete against friends and other people around the world.
    • There are in-game rewards such as new cars and scores that you can track.

TYPING SPEED TESTS

  • Typing Speed Test: https://www.typingtest.com/test.html
    • This website provides a one minute long test. 
    • You can pick from a list of different excerpts to type paragraphs from.
    • Provides words per minute typed, deductions for errors, and places your wpm score on a scale to show what level you type at. 
  • Typing Cat: https://thetypingcat.com/typing-speed-test/1m
    • This website provides a one minute long test.
    • Different excerpts to type from are randomly generated.
    • Provides words per minute typed, accuracy, and shows how you compare to other users on the site. 
  • Typing Academy: https://www.typing.academy/typing-tutor/typing-test
    • The typing test on this website provides many random words for you to type.
    • It records time it takes you to type the words, errors, words per minute.
    • This website also provides typing practice and statistics.

Remember that children need repetition to learn this skill. Practicing ten minutes daily will be more successful than practicing once or twice per week for 30 minutes.