Keyboard Games for InfantsSeptember 14, 2011
With today’s reliance on computers at home and in the workplace it’s become important to educate children in the use of a keyboard. After all, without being able to locate keys it becomes difficult to complete even simple tasks, such as logging in to a website or naming a masterpiece on Paint. For young children who may not yet be able to blend or segment sounds it’s not really appropriate to expect them to learn through use of a word processor. Instead, there’s a selection of games out there which test only the ability to locate keys rather than the ability to sound out or spell. The applications below would probably be most suited to an ICT lesson, but if you use continuous provision then you could them available for children to access independently through your class computers. Of course, If you’re using a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) then this is an easy enough process and there’s nothing to stop you loading a selection of these games for your pupils to access away from the rest of the web, in a safe controlled environment.
Typing Adventure is a good game for children in the Foundation Stage or complete beginners. There’s no need to type out full words, just press one key at a time to progress through the level and reach your goal. The lack of a time limit means pupils can learn at their own pace.
Bubble is a tricky game which allows only ten mistakes before you have to start again. What’s good about it is the options, which can be differentiated for a range of different abilities and year groups. So, if you want pupils to only practice finding the number keys, or you think their confident enough to type both capitals and lower case letters, then just select this option on the opening screen.
Keyboard is one of the most simple, but also most effective games out there. Players are shown a large keyboard on screen with a highlighted key for them to press, each correct choice scores a point. The clear design and 30 second time limit are useful if you’ve got a large group of younger children clamouring for a turn on the computer.
Key Seeker is another game that’s worth checking out. There’s no time limit or lives to be lost, you just type the letter on screen as a bright jungle animal floats past. The colours are attractive and as the letters match the initial sound of the animal’s name, you’ll be helping improve young learners phonics too.
Keyboard Revolution helps children improve both their timing and keyboard skills. Based on popular games such as Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero it rewards players for pressing the key at the right moment. The timing aspect adds an element of skill which could help with physical development.
Desert Typing Race is an fun test of keyboard skills that gets you typing to overtake cars. The size of the font and the difficulty curve involved make it suitable for pupils coming to the end of Key Stage 1, especially those boys who need to be firmly pointed in the direction of educational content when they get on a computer.
Dance Mat Typing has a nice bright design but it’s most appealing feature is the different difficulty levels, just like Bubble, this is a great way to ensure you’re catering for the various ability groups in your class.
Another game that might be good for the boys, Spacebar Invaders has various difficulty levels with the intermediate level expecting a lot of users. The challenge might be too much for some children but worth keeping in mind if you want to push the most confident.
A slightly different version of Keyboard Revolution, pitched at the same level as the previous Spacebar Invaders. The nice graphics and use of music might be good for getting girls interested in improving their typing.