Today's young children are a generation of computer-literate whiz-kids, in which computer technology is becoming more and more a part of their everyday life--and at an earlier age! The basic skill of "keystroking" is a fine-motor bi-manual skill.
Keystroking while screen watching (which is a kinesthetic ability or the ability to make positional changes without the aid of vision) will be the required skill for years to come. Here are some activities you can do with your child at an early age to develop the skills he or she will need to become "keystroke" efficient.Keystroking Activities
- Reproduce a keyboard layout on posterboard or use the keyboard pattern provided. Enlarge the keyboard pattern on the photocopier to real size and glue onto a piece of cardboard. The "Home" hand position is the middle row of the keyboard as shown. Have child trace the keyboard onto another piece of paper and color in the "Home" keys.
- Now have child position his or her right hand on the keyboard. Let's learn the first four letters in the "Home" position: Pointer--J, Middle--K, Ring finger--L, Pinkie--;.
- Position the left hand on the "Home" keys. Pointer--F, Middle--D, Ring finger-- S, Pinkie--A.
- Now have child position both hands on the "Home" keys and practice keystroking these eight characters by your calling out letters and having child tap the appropriate letter. Keep practicing. Then have child tap the letters while keeping eyes closed.
- Let's learn the next two keys: H and G. Use the pointer finger of your right hand to tap H; use the pointer finger of your left hand to tap G. Practice keystroking these letters. Practice with your eyes closed.
- "Pinkies" are used for the SHIFT keys. You can create an upper-case letter by pressing SHIFT-letter (hold down shift key while pressing the desired letter). Practice.
- Repeat these activities using the keyboard pad. Child watches the screen while typing a given letter, instead of closing eyes. Continue in this way to learn all the "key" positions on the keyboard.
- Now practice pointing and clicking with the "mouse."
- Variation: Learn to play a musical instrument such as a recorder, flute, or guitar!
Excepted from Ready-to-Use Fine Motor Skills & Handwriting Activities for Young Children / Joanne M. Landy and Keith R. Burridge / The Center for Applied Research and Education / 1999