More Giant Keyboarding

A game one of my kids and I made up with my keyboard mat (a gymnastics mat with masking tape on it in the shape of a QWERTY keyboard)…

Pick up plastic letters and run, leap off the trampoline, and land on the key on the mat for the letter you have picked up!

This goes with my ongoing theme of using gross motor skills to learn and motor plan where the keys are on a keyboard. People learn things better when their bodies move while they are learning them, and they learn things better when they learn with big body movements before they try small body movements. Kids learn how to form letters best when they first learn with big movements, like by drawing huge letters on a vertical surface (chalk on a wall, paint on an easel, etc), or tracing out the shape of letters with their whole arm and moving at their shoulder, before they try to ever replicate those movements in tiny form by drawing with a pencil on a paper. And kids’ handwriting usually starts out very large as they’re moving with their whole hand, wrist, or elbow to control their movements before they learn how to control with the small fine movements of just their fingers and their handwriting size gets smaller. In the same way, I have a theory that learning keyboard letters and where they’re at with whole body movements and play first, before simply trying to memorize a QWERTY keyboard, will help my OT kids — especially the ones for whom typing would be an incredibly powerful tool to bypass their intense handwriting struggles, but for whom the frustration of learning where all the keyboard keys are is also intense!

So: we pick up a letter, we identify where it’s at on the keyboard. Left, right, top row, bottom row, middle? I make sure to use all these words out loud with the kids as well as verbally identifying other letters it’s near.

[Image description: A picture of my setup: a gymnastics mat with a QWERTY keyboard layout made on it out of masking tape and several plastic letters placed on some of the keyboard tiles. More of the plastic letters are in a box behind a trampoline which is aligned with the space bar side of the giant keyboard. Other things from my room, like pieces of large butcher paper on the ground and part of a crawl-through tunnel, are also visible in the background. End description.]
“Oh, you’ve got the G. That’s right in the middle next to H.”

“The P, that’s going to be a biiiig leap all the way to the top right!”

“M, that should be an easy one. That’s right there on the bottom row and right next to N, too.”

Plus, all the running, jumping, crashing, and laughing is so regulating because that’s how children are actually supposed to learn!