Five Secrets to Kiddie Keyboarding!
Kids see grown ups use computers all the time, and not just staring at them and clicking the mouse while we surf the internet... they see us typing as we update our status messages, send emails, and chat with friends. They notice our engagement and want to imitate it by typing on the keyboard themselves!
Big Typer provides a safe, fun environment for kids to type in. Seeing the letters appear on the screen after pressing a key is very rewarding for a two or three year old who doesn't usually get to use the computer. It strengthens their reading and writing skills and helps them learn letters and words.
With that in mind, here's five tips I've discovered to help make your toddler's typing sessions successful. You can do this with Big Typer or even just a word processor.
1) Let them be the guide
The blank page may be daunting for us as writers, but your child probably has a dozen ideas ready to go. If they do sit and stare, have them start with their name and the names of people in their family.
2) Gibberish can be OK
If they've never typed before they may just enjoy clicking the keys and seeing the letters come out. Asdf may be a perfectly cromulent word in their mind. Let them explore, watch for when they get bored gently suggest typing their name or a favorite toy or movie.
3) Don't tell them where the keys are
They keyboard is a big place and looking through the whole thing to find a letter can be daunting, especially for a little one. But while it can be frustrating to watch them hunt for a key you know the position of, it helps them learn to see the keys themselves and have that great moment of discovery when they find the letter.
4) When they are lost, get specific slowly
If they do seem to get stuck or ask for help, give them a general direction instead of just the answer -- for example, when looking for the Y, first try telling them it's on the top, then if they still can't find it say it's in the middle or next for the T. This approach has two purposes: going from broad to narrow makes them more likely to find the answer themselves, and using another letter reinforces prior knowledge of key positions.
5) Don't get hung up on spaces and new lines
Some kids don't mind not having spaces between their words. That's OK! They're not handing in a report to the State Dept, they're just playing. Time enough for formatting in elementary school. If your daughter wants to write ILOVEMOMMY all run together, do you really think you should complain?
Those are some things I discovered while my sons played with the early versions of Big Typer. Nowadays they've moved on to bigger kid games and web sites, but I'll never forget the fun we had in those early typing sessions. Here's to seeing if Big Typer can help you make some memories too!