Dance Mat Typing: Free Online Typing Game for Kids below 12
Dance Mat Typing, run by BBC, is an introduction to typing with age-appropriate cartoon characters and voices aimed at teaching kids aged 7 – 11 years old the correct hand and finger placement, proper ergonomics and speed typing.
Using computers in school for reports or in the classroom is inevitable. The new generation of kids will be exposed to the computer whether parents like it or not. Although the Internet holds tons of information to help students get education from a plethora of subjects, typing excessively and using improper typing techniques can lead to hand pain or even a condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. Dance Mat Typing teaches kids how to “touch type” properly, completely reducing the chances of suffering hand pain or developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Dance Mat Typing Levels & Stages
The website features four levels, each divided into three stages. Students begin at Level 1 and gradually build typing skills through Level 4. In each stage, two or more keys on the keyboard are introduced. All exercises can be completed in a full-screen version. When finished, students can also work on printable typing worksheets used as a guide when practicing on a typewriter or computer.
Except for Stage 1 that introduces the home row, stages 2-12 include a recap of the previous lesson as a “warm up,” introduces new letters to type for the left and right hands, practice new lessons learned with both hands. During each stage, a fun character guides typists throughout the stage and reward students with a song-and-dance upon completion.
- Stage 1: Called as the “home row,” students are taught how to positions both hands and type using the letters f d s a j k l ; g h.
- Stage 2 adds the letters e and i, while incorporating the home row.
- Stage 3 adds the letters r and u, while practicing the home row and typing letters e and i.
- Stage 4: After warming up with all Level 1 lessons, Stage 4 introduces two new letters – t and y.
- Stage 5 introduces the letters w and o.
- Stage 6 adds q and p into the mix.
- Stage 7: With 20 characters now included in your typing lesson, adding the letters v and m can be a bit tricky, but still fund.
- Stage 8 introduces letters b and n.
- Stage 9 adds the letter c.
- Stage 10 introduces the last two letters x and z, along with the apostrophe ‘.
- Stage 11 adds the slash (/) and period (.) to the lesson.
- Stage 12: The last lesson teaches all about shift keys and instructs how to make capital letters.
BBC Dance Mat Typing Development
This typing game was developed for a user’s hand to learn the location of letters on the keyboard through “muscle memory.” Once a child or even an adult masters the Dance Mat Typing, he/she will be able to type without the need to see the keys, a process called “touch typing.” It only involves eight fingers placed in a horizontal row along the middle of the keyboard, which are the ones used to reach for other keys.
The most important rule to follow when playing this game is “never look at your hands.” It’s okay to make mistakes and there’s no need to rush to stage 12. Make sure that your wrists are resting on the desk. If you get tired, relax your arms, shake your hands and rest. You can always re-start the Dance Mat Typing and play again.
If you like the review and want to try BBC Dance Mat Typing you can do it for free at http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/