We received access to the Keyboard Town Pals web-based typing program for 30-days as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew Review Team.
When I first watched the demos for this, I was afraid that it would be too “young” for my 6-year-old in its presentation. (I wasn’t sure how he would react to the giant sun….!) He happened to see the demos as I was watching them, and he told me that he was interested in trying it.
From the Vendor’s website:
- Children proceed at their own pace
- The puppets, humor and music are very entertaining
- The children easily recall the storyline
- Children will want to view it again and again
- No fear of making mistakes
- No racing against the clock
- No testing
- No scoring
- No anxiety
and the pals:
From a parent’s perspective, I thought that this was a great little program. I’ve seen adults do the hunt-and-peck method of typing, and although they developed some proficiency with their method, it was painful to watch!
The Keyboard Town Pals (KTP) program starts out teaching the children about the middle row of letter keys being “HomeKey Street” where your fingers rest. The row above is called “uptown”, and the bottom row is called “downtown”.
Each letter on HomeKey Street represents a person’s house. Each character from Homekey Street talks about going uptown and downtown, showing which keys that particular finger would type. For example, Amy, who lives in the “a” house on HomeKey street introduces the “q” uptown and the “z” downtown. Your lefthand pinky would then practice pressing the a, the q and the z several times as instructed by Sunny.
You have a typing box under the videos where you can practice typing your letters. I love the little note under the box:
The delete and backspace buttons have been de-activated. Do not worry about mistakes. We do not count mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process.
They show a “helper hand” that demonstrates how your hand is supposed to move to type a particular letter.
I consider myself a pretty good typist, but I did learn something new – apparently your right hand thumb is supposed to type the spacebar – NEVER the left hand thumb. The left hand thumb does not have a job, when it comes to typing. (I do that backwards, apparently!)
I did notice that you have to be sure to click the mouse inside the typing box to activate it. The first time we tried it, my son was trying to type, and his letters weren’t showing up because we hadn’t clicked on the box first.
I liked that the program makes it easy for kids to remember where the keys are by giving them characters to remember in an otherwise seemingly arbitrary keyboard layout. When Sunny tells you a letter to type she (I’m making an assumption here….I think Sunny is a “she”!) also says the name of the person that lives in that particular house.
For the makers of KTP – I was able to “break” the typing box. I went all the way from the first through the last lesson, but I did a lot of extra keystrokes while I was going through it. Eventually I got to a point where I was still able to type in the box, but the text was no longer showing up. The only way that I could see it was if I highlighted the text area (clicked and dragged over the letters). I tried changing the color of both the font and the box just to be sure that wasn’t the issue. I’m sure this wouldn’t happen on a normal basis, and a simple refresh probably would have fixed it right away, but I wanted to let you know that it is possible.
From my boy’s perspective, I struggled to get him to do this program. He said that it was boring to him because it “didn’t have different games. It was just one game.” When I went through the program myself for the purpose of this review, he really enjoyed the different characters and their songs. (He really liked the letter “c” characters and their song!).
And in all fairness to the program, I purchased a web-based subscription for another program around the same time that we started KTP and he said the same thing about that – it was just teaching one thing (reading) and not giving him the option to play different games, etc.
This program is designed for ages 7 to adult. My son is 6, so it could be that when they’re 7 they understand that the purpose is just for learning typing and not playing multiple games? 🙂
Learn To Type In An Hour – Web Based
$39.95 for a 1-year subscription. After 11 months you will receive an invitation to renew for a discounted rate of $19.95/year.
Learn to Type In An Hour – CD-ROM
WEB BASED BUNDLE – Keyboard Town PALS Learn to Type and Little Hands Can Type
Learn to Type Web-Based Bundle with Coloring book, Concentration Card Game and Stickers
Learn to Type CD-ROM Bundle with Coloring book, Concentration Card Game and Stickers
Learn to Type and Little Hands Can Type Web-Based Bundle with Coloring book, Concentration Card Game and Stickers
Learn to Type and Little Hands Can Type CD-ROM Bundle with Coloring book, Concentration Card Game and Stickers
(Little Hands Can Type is a Readiness Program that introduces preschool age children* and children with learning difficulties to basic computer keyboarding concepts.)
And these are all available in English, Spanish or French!
If you would like to read more reviews on Keyboard Town Pals,, please check out TOS Homeschool Crew.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary 30-day subscription to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation in exchange for a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.