Fun & Free Typing Programs

We begin the school year by learning cursive (we use Handwriting Without Tears) and end the year learning how to touch type in a short ten minute chunk each day after lunch recess. It's a great way to work on fine motor skills and develop the automaticity needed in both of these writing styles. Plus, I find that by the end of third grade, their hands are all large enough to spread across the keyboards of our class Chromebooks.

*Confession: I am *not* a touch typer. In fact, I only use the first two fingers on each hand and still move my eyes back and forth from the screen to the keyboard (Ack!). I do prove to my kids that I am not that accurate, especially when I can't look at the keyboard, so they enjoy witnessing that when I demo the importance of learning the correct way to touch type.

Our district has a subscription to Typing Pal, which is very helpful as kids move through the grades since it tracks their progress, but I am always on the hunt for additional resources that can help strengthen their practice. Sometimes one program doesn't work for every kid, and since I would love for them to practice three to five times a week for about ten minutes a day, I want them to enjoy the program they use.

I have tracked down a few free and fun sites, several that require no login and others that will require a parent's email, but I hope you find these helpful as you introduce touch typing to your own classroom of students.

Dance Mat Typing

This site does not require a login and is my students' top choice for an alternative typing program. It is hosted by a British rock-and-roll goat, so what could be better?! I have found it to be the most kid-friendly program, both in how it teaches the kids and simultaneously engages them. The only downside is, because you can't login, students will be required to remember what lesson and level they are on each time.

Typing Club

This program also received rave reviews from several of my students. While it does require an email to login, it provides a clear interface and tracks progress across all of the lessons. Helpful progress trackers are included, and you get points, badges, and stars along the way! It also unlocks upper levels only after you have passed lower ones, so it encourages kids to stay on track and not skip the foundations. The data provided on this program is also very easy to read and includes words per minutes, days practiced, and more. You can even replay typing sessions to see how the student did! There is a free and paid school edition that you can read more about HERE.

This is another site that is free (removing ads is a paid option) and requires an email login, but the instructions are clear, the practice is right on target. Kids can also move quickly through the levels as they complete them accurately. I love that they can jump to any lesson at any level because they will be able to use this as a supplement to our current program without having to start from scratch. Each level comes with clear instructions and advance into some amazingly challenging territory-- even medical terms to help learn transcription!

Kidz Type

For a wide variety of typing activities, I definitely recommend KidzType. They have lessons, exercises, practices, and (best of all) games! There are many choices for each and this is a great "free choice" site after kids have learned a chunk of letters, like home row. The do not require a login and kids can practice letters in a wide variety of ways, so it's a great break from a lot of the traditional typing practice they receive on the other sites.

Typing Arm Activity

One of the main reasons I encourage my students to learn to type is to build muscle memory in their fingers and to make typing much faster, easier, and more accurate. To prove that there are tiny muscles and tendons hard at work when they type correctly, I have them hold out one arm and "air type" correctly with their fingers (basically, just tapping all five fingers in the air). While doing this, they rest their other hand on the typing forearm and are in awe when they can feel (and sometimes even see) these small parts of their body at work. We do this for both sides. I then have them hold out their pointer finger and pretend to peck at the keys like a "non-typer" would. They feel their arm muscles not working at all, plus they are able to only do one letter at a time, with large arm movements. Definitely not fast, easy, or efficient!

Do you have other typing suggestions? I would love to hear them, so please leave me a comment below. Happy typing!

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