With the world relying ever more heavily on computers, it's important for children to get to grips with this technology as early as possible – and the best typing software for kids can give them a massive head start. Learning to type at an early age will not only enable them to complete school assignments more quickly and accurately, it can help them to build a broader set of computer-based skills, thus enhancing their future career prospects.
The best typing software for kids can offer a number of health benefits, too. Studies have shown that learning to type can help children living with ADHD, dysgraphia and dyslexia, while adhering to 'proper' typing techniques can also reduce the risk of developing things like repetitive strain injury (RSI) and lower back pain.
Apart from anything else, learning to type can be a lot of fun. All of the products in this guide are presented in an engaging, child-friendly way, with relatable themes, animations and mini-games often forming part of the experience.
Of course, it's not just children who can benefit from learning to type. No matter how old you are, mastering this skill can give you a real boost in your professional and personal life. To find out more about adult-oriented lessons, read our guide to the best typing software for grown-ups. We've also put together a list of the best online tutoring services, in case you want to develop other areas of your or your child's education.
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.com: Best free, browser-based option
Fun and easy to use, this online platform is ideal for anyone who wants to save some money. There is a premium subscription available, but that’s mostly aimed at teachers who want to curate and build lessons for their own pupils. For individuals, the free tier membership should be adequate. You do have to create a free Google account to be able to sign in and track your progress, but this isn’t too arduous an experience. You can also just opt to dive into the tests and games without creating an account.
We like that you can adjust ‘word difficulty’ on most of the games, challenging young learners to type and remember complicated spellings. Or you can pick games that challenge you to find individual letters within a set period of time, which helps students try and remember where keys are placed on the layout. Lessons are easy to follow too, with simple instructions and a handy graphic outlining where your fingers should be placed on the keyboard.
Our only slight criticism is that this has a fairly complicated interface for tracking progress, so it's best for older students (aged 11 and above) rather than really young pupils taking their first steps with the QWERTY keyboard. However, this is still a useful tracking tool for older students, offering an easy way to see your progress and track your typing goals.
Read our typing.com review
4. 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
5. 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
6. 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
What’s the benefit of learning to type?
Typing has become an integral part of the education system, as many schools now request that homework assignments be completed and submitted through online systems. And as eLearning has become a regular fixture thanks to coronavirus, being adept at typing helps kids communicate quickly with their teachers and classmates.
However, kids don’t necessarily have a lot of exposure to full-size QWERTY keyboards, as a lot of peer communication is conducted on smartphones and smaller devices. Helping them get acquainted with the full layout could make it easier for them to finish assignments at a quicker pace.
For younger students, you may also find that spending some time with these apps can improve grammar and spelling. That’s mainly because the apps incorporate word repetition and complex sentences. There’s little educational value beyond this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth investing time into valuable keyboarding skills, for the reasons outlined above.
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
As you can see from this list, there are lots of very good options when it comes to developing your child's typing skills. So, how do you choose which one to go for? There are a number of things to consider.
First up, you'll need to ensure that your preferred learning platform caters for your child's age group: if the lessons are too advanced, younger children could quickly become frustrated and lose interest; if they're too simple or rely on babyish themes, then older kids and teenagers may struggle to relate.
Pricing is another consideration. While none of the choices on our list are expensive, some platforms (such as Typing.com) don't cost anything at all. If you're not sure whether your child will stick with their learning, then you might want to consider one of the latter options as it'll mean you won't waste any money if your son or daughter does lose interest.
Speaking of which, your child may be more likely to keep up their learning if it involves taking part in fun challenges. This will all depend on their individual personality, of course, but if you find that your kids are always playing games on their console, then choosing software with similar features could be a good way of coaxing them off it!
When should kids start learning how to type?
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.