Teaching our kids to master a keyboard is more important than ever, and using the best typing software for kids is a great way to do it. While it’s perfectly possible that the next generation will interact with their computers via voice-control, or merely by thinking about it, we don’t think the humble keyboard is going away any time soon.
Therefore, as computers become more and more tightly integrated into our lives, the ability to type quickly and accurately, as well as form proper sentences and use punctuation properly, are essential skills for teenagers and younger kids to develop. The best typing software for kids includes features that make learning fun, such as familiar cartoon faces and minigames. Many are aimed at the very youngest users, just starting out with a keyboard, while others are almost adult in their outlook.
None of these apps is particularly expensive, so you’re improving your child’s skillset for a modest price. And there’s more going on here than just eye-to-finger coordination, as the ability to form sentences and punctuate is one that filters through to all forms of communication.
1. Mavis Beacon Keyboarding Kidz: Best typing software for kids overall
The colorful, animated Mavis Beacon Keyboarding Kidz is a fun way for your child to learn to type, and it‘s also reasonably priced. Mavis Beacon has clear, concise instruction and encourages you child throughout each lesson.
Keyboarding Kidz is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, and you can purchase it on a CD-ROM or as a digital download. Mavis Beacon covers all the basics and includes beginner lessons that explain how to type using each hand. However, there are also timed typing tests for kids who are more advanced. This software stands out because it has more than 300 lessons and can host more than 20 user profiles.
The program’s ten games have a variety of themes, including outer space, road racing and even a shark attack. They all work the same: type fast and accurately to win. Your child can choose either Mavis, a girl, or Dex, a boy, as their typing tutor.
- Read our Mavis Beacon Keyboarding Kidz review
2. Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum: The most fun software
Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum takes your kid on an adventure while teaching them to type quickly and accurately. With 160 lessons and 30 games, it's a comprehensive program your child will genuinely enjoy.
Tobo Typer and Lafitte the talking parrot act as tutors, teaching your child the premise of every game and lesson and encouraging them toward the ultimate goal of capturing the castle. Supplementary features, including adjustable fonts, personalized word-per-minute goals, and room for up to five players, round out the software. You can even change the sound that plays when your kid hits an incorrect key – a fun addition most typing software lacks. Along with the fun games and features, it includes basics like speed and accuracy tests.
Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum shows you in-depth data about your child’s progress by finger, hand, key and row. If they are doing well, you can print out certificates of achievement so they have tangible rewards. Typing Instructor for Kids is effective, but more importantly, it's fun. This software works on Windows operating systems. If you run into problems, you can contact tech support by phone or through the manufacturer’s website.
3. Typing Quick and Easy: Best for mini-games
Typing Quick & Easy teaches students to type to music to build rhythm. It includes over 50 tracks, but it’s missing some of the more common features we found in the software we tested.
For example, there’s no virtual typing tutor, and words of encouragement don’t pop up during the lessons. Also, Typing Quick & Easy doesn’t have as many games as programs like Mavis Beacon Keyboarding Kidz, but the quality of them is way better. Still, it includes all the critical features we looked for like word-per-minute goal customization and plenty of stories and passages to practice on.
Based on our testing, we think this product is best suited to older students. Although it’s easy enough for a young child to navigate, the software’s no frills, music-based training might suit a more mature audience a little better.
One upside is the program only requires a one-time payment of $14.99, making it the cheapest software we reviewed that you buy outright. However, only one person can use the software – unlike other programs, you can’t create multiple user profiles in Typing Quick and Easy.
- Read our Typing Quick and Easy review
4. Mickey's Typing Adventure: Best for younger kids
Mickey’s Typing Adventure is made by the same company that produces our top pick, and it has all the key features of the best kids typing software.
In this program, Mickey and his friends have been enchanted, and it’s up to your kid to master typing to save them. At each level, the software introduces a new key or row, and your child saves a new character when they master it. A virtual typing instructor helps students learn hand placement and healthy typing posture.
The inclusion of Mickey and his friends makes the software feel more youthful than others we reviewed, and we worry that the Disney magic might wear on older kids. All the program’s writing samples are pulled from Disney films and stories as well, so there’s no escape from the theme. While we think the software’s enchantments will appeal to younger users, the developers don’t recommend it for kids under age 6. Up to five people can increase their speed and accuracy using Mickey’s Typing Adventure.
- Read our Mickey's Typing Adventure review
5. All the Right Type: Great for school learners
All The Right Type 4 has more than 300 lessons, and you purchase it as a monthly subscription. Also, you access this typing program solely online, so you don’t need to download anything. All these things contribute to it being the best kids typing program for classrooms.
The software’s typing lessons take place on a campus of sorts. While its graphics aren’t amazing, they also aren’t cartoonish and childlike, so older children will still find the program engaging. Kids navigate the online campus to find timed typing tests and more than 20 multi-level games, all of which help improve their speed and accuracy. Teachers can also create individualized lessons for their students.
If something goes wrong, you can access tech support via email or phone or watch video tutorials to find answers. This is unconventional typing software, but it is worth checking out.
- Read our All the Right Type review
Should you use typing software to supplement school learning?
2020 is an extraordinary year for everyone in America. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and learn. If you're worried that your kids are falling behind with their learning, because their school time is restricted, or they don't have access to the same facilities as before, then you absolutely should look to things like the best typing software for kids to help them recover lost knowledge.
Some apps are more useful than others, so we should stress the benefits and disadvantages of typing software. Being technologically adept is increasingly important in modern society, so the ability to type quickly and accurately is a valuable life skill. These programs will also help with sentence structure, grammar, word recognition, and all kinds of other skills associated with writing and language, so these are the real benefits.
What you won't get here is knowledge in core subjects - this is purely skill-based. You don't learn massive amounts from typing software beyond language skills and the actual ability to type. There are obviously side-benefits, like hand-eye coordination, multi-tasking, problem-solving, and observation, but you won't discover who the 16th President was, or where in the world you'll find the city of Lisbon.
How we tested
We spent about ten hours evaluating kids typing software and even used some of the programs ourselves. As we compared the programs, we considered the number of lessons and games they have as well as if they have basics such as timed typing tests. In addition, we noted if they teach how to type on other keyboards like a ten-key numeric pad.
While we consider testing serious business, we also had a little fun. In our evaluation, we noted how high-quality each program’s graphics look, how fun its games are and whether it gave us encouragement along the way. Taking user reviews and YouTube video tutorials into account, we favored more intuitive programs that don’t require you read a user manual to get started.
As your children learn to type quickly and accurately, they also learn to communicate more effectively. Programs with engaging games and awards help kids of any age learn to type properly without making it seem like drudgery. Typing software gives children a chance to learn typing techniques, proper posture, language skills and the joy that comes from independent learning.
What to look for when shopping for Typing Software for kids
Lessons & Drills
No matter the target age, typing software for kids should start with the basics of proper finger placement and movement. The best software begins with lessons focusing on individual fingers and each hand. After your children learn proper finger placement, the remaining lessons boost their accuracy and speed. Keyboarding drills, timed typing tests, and engaging, multi-level typing games all reinforce the skills taught in each lesson.
The best lessons move gradually by focusing on a few keys at a time before building to letter chains, words and sentences. This can take a while, so it's important for software to have fun games to keep kids typing and practicing their new skills. The best software teaches children about good posture and proper hand and wrist positions while typing. This can help avoid future problems with carpal tunnel syndrome and various neck and back ailments.
Because each child learns differently, it's important to find typing software that gives you the reigns as a teacher or parent. Each program lets you customize features like challenge levels, word-per-minute goals, timed lessons, typing tests and more. Some kids keyboarding programs let you create custom practice material that allows children to write their own stories or practice with text from their favorite books. Features like this make learning easier and encourage your child to interact with the software. Other engaging features include audio dictation, keystroke sounds and virtual guide hands over the keyboard.
Beyond interactive features, the best software rewards your child for hard work with pop-up encouragement and printable certificates of achievement. These can help kids stay motivated and give them a sense of progress while learning how to type.
Real progress will be obvious when you watch your kids type, but progress-reporting features are essential to really measure how well they are doing. Words per minute (WPM) and accuracy scores are common metrics on progress reports, but some reports break these down further and produce data for each finger, hand and key.
Help & Support
At minimum, typing software includes a user guide or manual explaining how to use the program. Many keyboarding programs target home and school use, so you can find information online via FAQs and technical support. Email and telephone support are best for further questions. Some keyboarding programs have in-app support containing indexes, definitions and guides to using the software.
When should kids start learning how to type?
Typing is an essential skill that everyone needs to learn. Whether you’re typing up a paper for school, sending an email, posting an update on social media, or even drafting a report or memo for work – all of these require you to know how to type, so it makes sense that parents want their kids to learn this valuable skill as soon as they can.
And while young kids are sponges when it comes to learning new things, there may be a benefit to waiting until your child is between 7 and 10 years old (it can vary, depending on the kid) before introducing them to typing. While the task itself isn’t tough, there are myriad reasons – physical and intellectual alike – why kids should put off learning to type until they are this age.
Physically, kids younger than 7 lack the fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination or finger span to be able to touch type efficiently and effectively. Developmentally speaking, control over the body first starts with core muscles and large motor skills, then moves outward and becomes more fine-tuned over time. This is the same reasoning behind not putting your child in violin lessons before they turn 7 or 8. Kids can tinker with typing when they are younger, familiarizing themselves with the concept or keyboard layout, and it may help them improve their motor skills, but it’s best to wait until they are at least 7 to start teaching kids how to type in earnest.
This age also lines up with when children are learning to better express themselves using written rather than spoken language. Another reason to wait is screen time. If you’re concerned about keeping your young kids away from too much screen time for as long as possible, it’s best to wait until they’re older for typing lessons.