Your kids are probably really good at tapping away on a phone or iPad. But how are their old-fashioned typing skills? It matters. After all, they’re not going to be typing their future term papers on a mobile phone (we hope). Thankfully, there are a slew of fun—and free!—online typing games for kids that’ll teach them to know their way around a QWERTY keyboard. Read on to learn more about our faves.
This is, in our opinion, the best typing game site available without a subscription. The site features 13 fun games, all of which were "created in real classrooms together with teachers." The approach is simple: Instead of making kids start their typing lessons using all 10 fingers right off the bat, the lessons focus on three or four keys at a time, and kids are encouraged, in the beginning, to just use one finger to type the letters. The idea is that once they know where all the keys are, they'll naturally become better typists.
The games are split into three sections: "Let's Build a Keyboard," which focuses on showing kids where the keys are on the keyboard. The first lesson, for instance, is a construction-themed game that asks kids to type three adjacent letters at a time—QWE, for instance—then guide a crane to drop the letter blocks into the keyboard grid.
The next section, "Let's Hop on the Keys," asks kids to enter specific keys, one at a time, to make something happen (there's a ducky maze game that is super-fun!).
The last section, "Keyboarding Kickstart" finally ask kids to use all their fingers to type away (each game shows kids which fingers go on which keys).
All in all—we still can't believe this site is free.
Play the games here: typetastic.com
What'll keep kids playing this game (at least for a little while) is the simple satisfaction of popping a balloon. Over and over. Typists simply have to type the letter beneath the balloon before it floats away. Then—POP! There are three levels and four different keyboard regions to practice before taking on the whole keyboard.
Play it here: typing.com/student/games/play/type-a-balloon
Keyboard Climber 2
Don't ask us what happened to Keyboard Climber 1, but this fun "sequel" is great for kids just starting out with their keyboarding journey. To play the game, kids must type specific letters to make a monkey jump from one rock to another. Get it wrong, and the poor little primate will be knocked off by a coconut and have to start all over again. This one doesn't have the ability to choose levels, so it's best for beginners.
Play it here: typing.com/student/games/play/keyboard-climber-2
Slice up fruit, ninja-style by typing letters that are shown beneath each fruit. The tricky part of this otherwise simple game is that if you accidentally hit the letter shown above a lit bomb, it's GAME OVER. So pay attention! The game has three levels of difficulty (parents, we invite you to TRY the most difficult level; it's hard!) and allows players to pick which section of the keyboard they'd like to practice.
Play it here: typing.com/student/games/play/keyboard-ninja
If you can get past the pop-up ads, this "Space Invaders"-style typing lesson is super fun! To play: Type the words shown beneath each alien invader to blast them out of the sky before they reach the ground. There are 40 variations of the game, each of which emphasizes a different skill on the keyboard. Typists won't just learn their letters, they'll also have to practice typing punctuation marks, capital letters and numbers. Bilingual? There are also Spanish, German and French ways to play the game.
Play it here: freetypinggame.net
Nitro Typing Racer
You have to watch an ad before you can start the game, but if you've got kids who enjoy race car games, this will be their go-to typing training. To play, maneuver your car around other cars as fast as you can by typing the words that appear in whichever lane you want to take. It's a lot to think about in very little time so brand new typists may want to steer themselves elsewhere.
Note: This game is made for typists who already know their way around a keyboard.
Play it here: typinggames.zone/typing-racer
Dance Mat Typing
This BBC-sponsored typing program starts at the beginning by showing kids basic hand positions for typing and which fingers to use for which keys. It then lets them build on their skills slowly with the help of singing cartoon animals who act as personal coaches. At the end of each level, typists can print out a special certificate of accomplishment to reward their hard work.
Play it here: bbc.co.uk/guides/z3c6tfr#z34thyc
The alien Alpha Munchies want to eat your food! The only way to stop them? Type, type, type! Kids will love blasting the bad guys out of the sky by punching letters on the keyboard. The simple game, which pays homage to 1980s arcade games, lets kids practice specific sections of the keyboard before finally using the whole keyboard as their typing progresses.
Find it here: abcya.com/kids_typing_game.htm