Which websites and games can my kid use if he can't yet use a keyboard and mouse?

Swipe-able screens, such as those on tablets and smartphones, are ideal for kids who can't yet use a keyboard and mouse. But if you don't own such devices, or your kid is eager to use certain programs that require a keyboard and mouse -- and her manual dexterity isn't quite there yet -- you know the frustration that can occur.

Make sure the apps and websites she uses are designed for her age group. Quality programs created for young kids are specifically engineered for typical motor capabilities of this age. For example, there's more leeway for cursor placement, no tricky keyboard combinations she needs to get right, narrated instructions, and even the ability for kids to speak commands rather than use peripheral devices.

A few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Avoid anything that relies on lightning-fast reflexes (such as some platform-style, time-management, or arcade games).
  • Stick to titles that have more click-and-drag-style actions (such as dress-up or matching games).
  • Consider storybooks and other programs with simple linear navigation.
  • Look for programs with multiple levels of difficulty.
  • Take the tutorial, if one is available. Many games designed for young kids walk players through the action so they feel comfortable with the style of gameplay.
  • Check Common Sense's "ease of play" rating on all our game and app reviews to find out exactly how difficult a game is.
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