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We have a USB keyboard we occasionally use. When it’s not hooked up to the computer, my kids love playing with it! I’ve learned it’s a fabulous way for them to practice the alphabet.
They love that it’s different. It feels much more like play than learning. So, they’re willing to sit and “type” for a long time! I’ll let them free play for a bit, and then I engage them in a fun learning game or two.
Here are a few of our favorites.
Practice the ABCs in Order
I ask my kids to hunt and peck the alphabet, in alphabetical order. This helps them recognize letters out of order. It also improves their ability to recognize a given letter by shape.
As they search for each letter, I ask them to sing the ABC song, slowly. So they sing “A” as they hit the A key, and “B” as they hit the B key, and so on.
Once they hit Z, I ask them to do it again, a bit faster.
They keep practicing finding the alphabet whenever we get out the keyboard. The goal is for them to find each letter in the amount of time it takes to sing the ABC song at the natural speed.
Name the Letters in QWERTY Order
Using the non-alphabetical order on the keyboard is a great activity for ensuring your child knows each letter. I just have my child start at Q, and name all the letters in the top row.
Then we move to the A and do all those letters.
We finish with the last row, starting with Z.
Once again, this task works on identifying letters out of order. It also helps build a foundation for typing skills in the future, as they become familiar with this QWERTY order.
When we work on letter sounds, I can point to a letter and ask my child to say the sound. She’ll say the sound, and then type the letter.
We’ll typically do 10-15 letters each time.
Any sounds my child can’t automatically give, means I need to continue working on that letter. It’s an easy way to assess progress while the child thinks we’re playing! 😀
My kids love trying to spell their name on the keyboard. So, I’ll ask them to find all the letters in their name. And in my name. And spell Dad. With 10 people in our family, there’s always a name to practice!
Especially when you throw in middle names.
I keep index cards on hand, so I can quickly write names down. Then, the kids can look at the card and type the correct letters in each name.
We love to bring the keyboard out when we’re playing store. The cashier sits and pretends to type out several things:
- The names of customers
- Items in the store for sale
- The name of the store
- Prices on items
Even if they’re using invented spelling, it’s a fun way to practice the alphabet and letter sounds.
Do Your Kids Enjoy Using a Keyboard?
If you have an extra (or broken) keyboard lying around, try letting your kids practice the alphabet with it. It’s a favorite activity here (along with the old-fashioned typewriter!)
Of course you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any keys popping off, as that could be a choking hazard.
If you give it a try, come back and let me know what your kids thought!