Hi Cool Mom Tech, any suggestions for fun kid-friendly typing apps or websites? – Tiffiny via Twitter
How perfect — I’ve just been looking for typing websites myself, to get my own kids to learn how to type online. Especially after the pain of watching her spend a good hour hunting and pecking to complete two sentences for a third grade presentation.
As a fast (sometimes) touch-typist myself, I’m a huge advocate of learning proper typing technique and especially in today’s digital world, I think it’s become a new essential skill.
Certainly there are plenty of mobile apps which promise to teach typing, but personally I think that flies in the face of logic; you need to sit down at an actual keyboard to be able to learn how to use a keyboard. And yes, of course you can use a bluetooth keyboard with a tablet, but I’m old school that way. (Get my kid a darn typewriter, someone! And some white-out, while you’re at it.) So here are some of the best typing websites for kids that I’ve found, some free and some for a little money that you might thing is worth it.
A Typing Website for Kids to Get Started
Despite the crushing number of ads popping in the margins, the tutor courses at Typing.com are among the best free resources I’ve found online. The proper, step-by-step lessons remind me of the ones I took back in school as a kid — start with the home row keys (f and j, then d and k) and move on from there. And of course typing as a whole has its very own gamification built-in with the WPM and accuracy tabulations at the end of each lesson. (Free, or upgrade to a premium account for $9.99 for the year, or $14.99 for a lifetime which removes “distracting ads,” as they admit. If you’re serious about teaching your kid typing, it’s worth the money.)
Typing Club allows you to take a diagnostic test to determine the skills you already have, so you’re not practicing those basic home-row key placements if you’re already a decent typist. Although they do have that basic QWERTY practice, they also have much more interesting ways to learn typing. Jungle Junior mixes video instruction with typing games geared toward very young kids. Or, you can use their story lessons (like Ava and the Rabbit, above), where you’re typing out the story on the screen and it highlights it as you go. (free)
Online Typing Games for Practice…and Fun
Also on on Typing Web, you’ll find some free typing games that kids will love like Keyboard Jump, where you’re typing words correctly as long as possible to get your ninja to jump branches as high as you can. O try the teen-friendly ZType (above). I have to admit, I got sucked in to a few rounds, which reminds me of old-school Asteroid games, except rather than aiming and shooting a laser, you’re typing the words quickly to blast them out of your way.
I like ABCya a lot. A lot. It really was built with children K-5 in mind. The ads are wayyyy more minimal (just a banner up top), and their typing game Alpha Munchies is just like Space Invaders! Not that that means anything at all to your kids.
We recently shared the goldmine of classic video games we found over at Classic Reload, and they have some of the typing games that we played on our old Apple 2c computers too. Kate learned to type with Mavis Beacon teaching her, and now our kids can learn from Mavis too.
Typing Websites and Apps For Improving Speed and Accuracy
Keybr is a pretty basic online typing tutor, which prompts you to type in nonsense words to chart how fast and error-free you can type. It’s free, but signing in and creating a profile allows you to track progress and compete against other people to type quotes from famous (maybe?) people online. You can also go into settings and import or program your own custom text, so while Keybr specifically doesn’t do the whole asdfg asdfg thing, you can set it up that way for your child.
And if you install the Keybr Chrome extension in your bookmarks bar, you can import content from other sites, so if your kid would rather type copy from a favorite book or song lyrics, you can choose that instead of the random passages generated on the site.
Also know it’s got a bit of an edge — some of the quotes come from fashion designers or pop culture. One was a quote from Travis Barker about skateboarding, and I’d imagine kids will find that far more interesting than Shakespearean quotes.
Related: How to hide YouTube comments.
If you’re really ready to get better, I’ve landed on Type-Fu, a fairly sophisticated if simple app download for your PC or Mac. It’s $9.99 through the Chrome App Store of the Mac App Store and it really is quite good for any age, once you’re already comfortable with one or more rows of letters or characters. You can change the level of difficulty, track progress, play around with the levels.
I think it’s best when you already know how to type though, even if you’re slow. In fact, I think I’m going to start using it myself to get my numbers and top row characters up to speed (we ran out of time senior year before we got to that row, darn it).
Funny enough, it seems my WPM is okay when I’m typing random words but when it comes to sentences–that’s my 114 WPM up there, whoo! (Not at all a humble brag, I know.) Just saying this because it’s a good reminder for kids just starting out not to get frustrated. After a while your fingers just know how to type proper sentences, even more easily than lll kkk lk lk ll kk lklk.