Typing Programs for Kids

typing programs for kids

In this post we will explore typing programs for kids.  You will learn the benefits of learning to type, as well as which program might work for your specific students. “Back in my day” everyone took typing class, along with home economics, cooking, sewing, and engine repair.  Typing is one of the classes I can actually confirm has been invaluable throughout my adult years. There are tons of typing programs for kids out there.  Are some better than others?

Any of the kids’ typing programs listed below can be used and explored in a keyboarding club, which is a great after school program or a club occupational therapy can support for carryover of functional skills.

typing programs for kids


There are tons of typing programs for kids and adults to learn this much needed skill.  A quick search brings up many different options. But, after browsing through them, it is difficult to determine which one might be best for your student.  There are some factors to take into consideration:

  • Price: many start with a free trial if they are not totally free
  • Entertainment value: kids are used to learning via games and entertainment. They are likely to stay engaged in something that keeps their interest
  • Teaching method: what are you hoping to learn from the program?

Additionally, occupational therapy professionals often seek out specific needs that can be addressed with a typing program as an alternative to handwriting. When a student needs to move from written work to alternative forms of expression through assistive technology, typing programs are often explored.

Things to consider with typing programs for children

Some of the factors that therapy professionals may need in a typing program for kids include:

  • typing program to work on typing goals
  • typing program that says the letter while the child is typing for auditory feedback
  • touch typing program to work on finger placement
  • typing games to work on typing speed
  • inexpensive typing programs that can be customized to meet specific needs
  • typing games
  • cheap or free typing programs
  • typing programs for special ed
  • typing programs that can be used in home exercise programs

There are other items to consider when exploring typing programs for children. This includes the cognitive level of the individual, motor skills, and more:

  • Is the typing program being used as the primary form of written expression or is this a suppliment?
  • Motor skills needed for typing: finger isolation, bilateral coordination, motor planning, mouse use, etc.
  • Is the individual able to use both hands or is single handed typing needed?
  • Will the individual use typical finger placement or is touch typing needed?
  • Impulse control related to computer use
  • What size of keyboard is needed for the individual? Consider physical abilities and motor skills such as range of motion and touch pressure
  • Is the individual able to recognize letters
  • Is auditory feedback needed?
  • Is a lower level or higher level program needed based on cognition and motor abilities?

I did some research in order to shed some light on some of these programs. Back in the 80s, we used plug in computers and typing drills.  While tedious, it was effective. However, young students are used to being constantly taught through games and interactive videos. 

These programs might be explored in middle school occupational therapy or high school occupational therapy.

Names of Typing programs for kids

Let’s take a look at the different typing programs out there. Each has different benefits, and the options can meet specific needs of the therapy client.

NOTE: The following typing programs for kids are suggestions. The OT Toolbox does not have affiliations with these platforms or endorse them in any way.  

  1. Typing.com– This typing curriculum has games, lessons, and customizable lessons, making it an option that can meet certain and specific needs. There are also video lessons for each aspect of typing, including mouse use and each set of letters. Kids love the different themes that make the typing lessons fun and engaging.

2. Typesy– This program has a free trial, then charges $9.00 a month for individuals.  There are homeschool and district school pricing options as well.  They teach common core based curriculum.

There are hundreds of different lessons and modules.  Typesy offers programs for different ages of students from very young through adult corporate typing skills.  

Typesy states, “You may be aware that there has been a recent push to teach keyboarding (typing) in most districts. The reason for this is three-fold. First, as most states move to computer-based tests, it’s essential that students can type quickly and efficiently – otherwise, test scores can be severely affected. Second, the common core standards specify keyboarding skills by grade, making keyboarding an essential inclusion in any state curriculum. Finally, districts are recognizing that keyboarding is closely tied to computer literacy, equality of access, and educational outcomes in all areas.

3. ABC Ya– I like that this is a recognizable platform that students and teachers are already familiar with.  There is a free version with limited game options and users.  The subscription program is ad free and provides all of their available content for $5-10 a month. 

There is a section that allows the user to search by core curriculum standards.  Two games that support typing skills include:

  • Typing Rocket Jr
  • Ghost Typing Jr.

As with any programs, I would caution that the students are really learning the material, not just playing the games.

4. Nessy Fingers– This program was developed for children aged seven to 12 with difficulties with spatial awareness and dyslexia.

The program reduces frustration for children with spatial difficulty, starting at a low level of four words per minute to allow more time to find the keys. Nessy Fingers introduces the letters alphabetically, helping children with dyslexia in occupational therapy services, (or not!) to learn the letters in a familiar sequence.

There are activities exploring five different islands, winning trophies and rewards as they learn.  Nessy Fingers offers a free trial, or costs $55 plus, for a yearly subscription.

5. Dance Mat Typing– This typing program for kids kept popping up in lists for the best typing programs.  I like that Dance Mat Typing teaches the classic home row finger placement, then builds upon that. 

They stress the importance of learning without looking at the fingers while typing.  There are 12 lessons with engaging songs and graphics.  It is free to use.

6. Typing Club– They have this cool keyboard cover to teach typing without looking at the fingers.  Typing club is simple and easy to use. The aim is to work your way up to 100 words a minute. There are instructional videos, challenging games and practice lessons that ensure students place their hands correctly on the keyboard.

This program trains students to never look down at the keyboard, while giving guidance on proper finger positioning. Can be used by individuals or schools. Available in 9 languages.  There is a free trial version, and a subscription option.

The nice thing about Typing Club is there are options for one handed typing, including lessons for one handed typing with the left hand and one handed typing with the right hand.

7. Type Racer– Gets typists racing each other, typing quotes from books, movies, and songs at speed.  Students can practice alone, or race other people who have approximately the same speed. If you are of a competitive nature this may be the typing program that will appeal to you.

This program looks simple and effective. It is available in 50 different languages and can be done individually, in schools, or competing against others across the world.

8. Typing Instructor for Kids– The Typing Instructor can be used by children who are as young as six years old. It is also appropriate for children with learning difficulties because of its special features and dozens of graduated typing lessons and games.

One of the most outstanding features of the Typing Instructor is the sound features and its unique curriculum that most similar programs do not have. 

9. Ratatype– This program offers several different courses for different types of learners.  It is free to use, and students can earn a typing certificate at the end.  It is available in tons of languages. 

There is a simple interface that does not distract the students from learning.

10. EnglishType–  This looks like a great program to include those with special needs.  There is a free trial, and a yearly subscription option.  It features:  

  • A strong multi-sensory approach
  • Unique key / finger color coding system
  • Highly structured content for easy skill acquisition
  • Carefully chosen vocabulary boosts spelling & literacy
  • Visually simple & uncluttered presentation style
  • Both spoken & written instructions
  • Choice of background screen colors
  • Short lessons aid concentration and focus
  • Fun arcade-style games keep motivation high
  • Large font option and lower case keyboard display
  • Special exercises and games to increase speed

11. Type to Learn– This program specifically mentions working for students with special needs.  It is a fee based program starting at 5.00 a year.

12. Typing Training– While the graphics might seem simple, this platform offers many benefits for students of different learning styles.  It has a platform for one handed typing, compatibility with alternate input systems, customizable difficulty levels, and helps determine the best hardware/software setup. 

It has a free trial, and different levels of paid programs.

13. Keyboarding Without Tears– This program has different versions for different groups of age levels, so exploring the different levels can be a good idea depending on the needs of the child. For example, the younger grade level versions offer more auditory feedback, so this might be a need for a particular individual.

This program also encourages 2 handed use however the license can only be used for one student for one year.

Tips for using Typing Programs with kids

Therapy providers often move to typing programs with students when handwriting is not a functional form of written expression which impacts learning. Knowing this, there are hints and suggestions that can support the individual learning to type. These suggestions apply to any typing program that might be used or trialed.

  • Cover the keyboard so learners do not look at their fingers.  This step is critical. Hunting and pecking is no way to go through life
  • Make sure your learners have the right equipment and setup.  Check their chair, keyboard, mouse, and monitor for fit
  • Add adaptations if learners need them to be successful
  • Be vigilant that students are actually learning the lessons, not just trying to beat the game or win the tokens. I have seen so many students advance in lessons, then end up too far ahead of their knowledge
  • Educate students and other professionals about the importance of touch typing.  Make this a priority in their education.

There are so many typing programs for kids out there!  It is really overwhelming when you start doing research.  The programs have come a long way from JumpStart Teaches Typing, which my daughters used in the early 2000’s.  Prioritize what is most important for your students in a program.  Price?  Graphics?  Adaptability for special needs?  Whichever you choose, no cheating!

Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

Typing Activities for Occupational therapy

typing activities occupational therapy

One way that occupational therapy providers support students is through assistive technology and using typing activities in occupational therapy is a tool for functional performance. In this blog post, you’ll find typing activities occupational therapy professionals use. You’ll also find a great printable booklet at the end to use to support typing in OT.

typing activities occupational therapy

Typing Activities Occupational Therapy

Children who struggle with handwriting may benefit from accommodations in the classroom including use of the computer and typing to complete written communication.  I’m also sharing strategies and tips on how to implement a keyboarding club to teach keyboarding and computer skills.  A keyboarding club can be used as an accommodation to written work, or a necessary functional skill.

How to Implement a Keyboarding club for kids



Occupational Therapy and Typing

Handwriting can be a difficult and stressful action for many children.  What happens when no matter what interventions are attempted, the child simply can not function with the details and cohesiveness of completing all of the “parts” of written work?  

There can be a point when kids would be better off just typing as an accommodation in school work.  With the use of keyboards and screens available in classrooms, homes, work places, and communities, there is more of a need for independence with keyboarding skills than perhaps in our past generations.  

The biggest point to recognize about typing and occupational therapy is that even when typing is used as an assistive technology tool, the OT practitioner is not the typing teacher. Working on typing in therapy sessions won’t lead to functional use. Rather, typing practice needs to occur daily at home and in functional tasks like assignments. Read about carryover of functional tasks for a better understanding of this point.

Children begin computer use when they enter Kindergarten.  Children are using computers in the classroom and at home at a very young age.  So, when the accommodation of using keyboard skills over handwriting is approached, it can be an easy flow into function.

With modern technologies, keyboarding is as common place as handwriting in the development and growth of a child.

One strategy that can help with improving speed and accuracy as a handwriting modification is the use of a Keyboarding Club or group.

How to Implement a Keyboarding club for kids


It is suggested by researchers that keyboarding instruction with correct finger placement begin in the third grade. Developmentally, this is an effective time for using finger dexterity skills, visual motor integration abilities, attention and focus, and visual perception needed to shift the vision from multiple planes.

Using keyboarding instruction curriculum can be a viable option for kids who struggle with handwriting.  When required to compose thoughts onto paper, underlying handwriting issues may prevent creativity, construction, and fluency of written composition as well as legibility when performing these types of tasks.

A keyboarding program can and should be an intervention to accommodate handwriting needs AND a strategy for development in typical and modern educational needs.  Keyboarding is an effective accommodation for struggles with the fine motor, visual perceptual, or sensory needs of handwriting that can be used in the classroom.

While there are many free keyboarding instruction programs available, it can be difficult for parents and teachers to find time within schedules to try and maintain participation in a keyboarding program.

With after school activities, graded homework, and other factors limiting time, participating in activities like a keyboarding program fall in priority.  A keyboarding club can be the intervention needed to allow kids to learn the skills needed as an accommodation to handwriting as well as learning keyboarding skills needed for classroom tasks.

Using a keyboarding program can be a helpful alternative to written work, allowing for efficient communication, legibility, and composition of thoughts.  Using computer work as an alternative to handwriting may be a necessary intervention in the classroom.

How to Implement a Keyboarding club for kids


Response to Intervention (RtI) and Keyboarding Skills 

As with other educational and functional skills performed in the classroom, Occupational Therapist practitioners may approach treatment with a Response to Intervention (RtI) approach.

Response to Intervention is an approach that addresses each individual student’s learning needs and adjusts education to meet the needs of the student.

Using RtI in a keyboarding program:

Children can first be identified as potential candidates to participate in a keyboarding program.  These might be students who would benefit from keyboarding as an accommodation to handwriting.  Students should show an interest in participating in a keyboarding program as well.

A keyboarding program using Response to Intervention in the school setting would involve screening, assessment of skills, small group instruction, and progress monitoring.  Following instruction and participation in a keyboarding program for a period of several sessions or weeks, students can be re-assessed to monitor progress.  When progress is limited, there are other keyboarding programs that can be of help.

As with any instructional program, keyboarding can be a novel and fun concept at first.  However, after repeated trials of practice and quizzes, it can become boring for children.  Without a drive to learn to type correctly, kids may quit, give up, or balk at participation.  Keeping that in mind, keyboarding programs should involve creative ways to practice skills such as speed, finger placement, and accuracy.

At the start of a keyboarding program and before beginning instruction, students should be assessed in speed of copying a sentence using handwriting, typing speed, and accuracy on a keyboard writing assignment. It has been found that students whose typing speed equaled or exceeded their handwriting speed showed greater competence in the content
of narrative writing when using a word processor than
when handwriting.

Related Read: Try these handwriting accommodation strategies to address a variety of handwriting challenges. 


Occupational Therapy Typing Activities

During OT sessions where the occupational therapy typing goals are addressed, there can be a schedule of activities that guide each activity.
Some ideas to use in OT when addressing typing include: 
Warm-Up Exercises
Warm up with bilateral coordination exercises, hand warm-up activities, finger isolation exercises, tendon gliding exercises, and opposition exercises. 
Organizing Activities
Proprioception tasks and core facilitation exercises including chair push ups, wall push ups, and heavy work tasks
Letter Placement Instruction
Any new letters should be covered with proper finger placement. 
Review of any previous lessons should be covered. 
Use of multi sensory and motor instruction in letter placement including gross motor activities.
Posture Check and Self-Assessment
Use of a posture self-assessment checklist 
Skills to Monitor
Hand placement
Finger placement
Typing accuracy
Typing rhythm
Typing speed
Ease of bilateral coordination 
Typing Activity
Use of a keyboarding program should be implemented and maintained over a period of several weeks and sessions with progress monitored.

Other tasks that may be included in a keyboarding club include:

  • Computer component identification
  • Supply organization (including folder with practice sheets, etc)
  • Ability to turn on, re-boot, and access, start, and shut down software programs
  • Storing files on a computer
  • Accessing stored files on a computer
  • Composing emails, letters, and filling in forms
  • Proofreading and editing
  • Completing writing prompts without copying from a text
  • Assign a color to each finger. Color the blank keys according to the corresponding colors.

  • Fill in keys on a keyboarding worksheet in a timed test.
  • Working on typing speed
  • Working on accuracy of finger placement in a skilled manner- addressing needs impacting skills
  • Identifying a typing program that targets underlying areas that impact functional performance
  • Setting up a home program so the child gets adequate typing practice. 

A big part of typing is the underlying components and this is an area that the occupational therapy provider will address. The areas that impact typing include:

  • Finger isolation
  • Touch pressure
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Cognition 
  • Executive Functioning Skills: Direction following, attention, impulse control
  • Motor skills
  • Sensory processing
  • Visual motor skills
  • Motor planning
  • Range of motion

Bilateral coordination in particular can impact typing. Some ways to address that in OT include: 

  • Both hands placed on the keyboard.
  • Right hand on right side of keyboard.
  • Left hand on left side of keyboard.
  • Does not use one hand predominantly over the other.
  • Noticeable attempt to use both hands appropriately on the keyboard sides.
  • Ability to motor plan appropriate finger placement to reach individual keys.
  • Ability to use a mouse or touch mouse.
  • Ability to manipulate paper, text, notes, or copy material and maintaining use of both hands in a coordinated manner.

How to Implement a Keyboarding club for kids


Details of a Keyboarding Club for Kids

A keyboarding club can operate on many different levels.  It can be a daily activity for a short term such as two weeks, Monday through Friday or it can operate 2 or 3 times a week for 4-6 weeks.  
Because of the tendency for repetition, it is beneficial to keep duration of the club to a limited time.  There is the potential for additional sessions of a keyboarding club.
Children who are participating in a keyboarding club should remain on the same lesson each session.  Sessions should be limited to 20-30 minutes at a time.
Involving several children into the act of learning new skills allows use of group dynamics in the learning process. 
How to Implement a Keyboarding club for kids


Keyboarding Club Typing Programs

We cover specifics about typing programs for kids in our recent blog post. There are many different curriculum out there and the one that works for the individual may not work for everyone.

  • The website Learn To Type is a great tool for practicing lessons that are broken down by row, upper case, and punctuation.  There are tips for practice and each test that account for accuracy and speed. 
  • Another online typing program is Sense-Lang.  This site provides interactive tutorials and games to engage students.
  • TypingClub– This free online typing curriculum moves kids through lessons.  Kids can master each level and receive badges of completion. This program seems more like a game than lessons.
  • Typing Club Google Chrome extension– This is a free program. Kids can learn touch typing and work toward increasing speeds of typing.

Try these typing games when kids seem to be board with the programming of your Keyboarding Club:

Mahan, T.  (2002). Flying Fingers Keyboarding Club: Building Keyboarding Skills Through the Response to Intervention Approach. OT Practice, 17(3), 14-20. 

Rogers, J., & Case-Smith, J. (2002). Relationships Between Handwriting and Keyboarding Performance of Sixth-Grade Students. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56(1), 34-39.

How to Start a Keyboarding Club

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    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.