Typing is an essential skill for today’s kids. Touch-typing, or being able to type without looking at the keys, will help them complete their reports and assignments faster because, with enough practice, their hands can move at the same speed as their thoughts. Otherwise, they might forget what they are typing before they find all of the letters.

I discovered Dance Mat Typing from the BBC when I was a computer teacher. I was looking for an alternative to some of the boring, slow-loading programs in the computer lab. Immediately the children started laughing and smiling. Whenever a child types an incorrect key, the program shows a keyboard with the correct key highlighted, and a funny voice says “Type on me!.” It’s non-competitive, meaning the program does not keep score, so it is perfect for beginning typists and for children who are easily frustrated.

At the end of each stage, the animated characters sing a catchy song. If the child wants to hear the song again, he or she can repeat the stage, which is great practice to reinforce learning. At the end of each level, an award certificate pops up on the screen that you can print out as an incentive to keep going.

If you want your child to learn to type, give Dance Mat Typing a try. If your child is having trouble with a standard computer keyboard, try a learning keyboard made especially for children and beginning typists. Let us know what you think.