Knowing how to use a mouse is a kindergarten requirement at many elementary schools, so many parents start teaching these skills to their preschoolers. Once your child learns basic mouse movements, reinforce these skills by letting her play mouse games. Online mouse practice runs the gamut from solving puzzles to creating illustrations.
Teach How to Use a Mouse
Demonstrate the three different ways to use a mouse: moving, clicking and dragging. Place your hand over the child’s while gently guiding her movements. Together make a circular motion, pointing out where the cursor moves on the screen. If your mouse has right and left click buttons, click on the left button when the cursor becomes a hand. Clarify that a single click tells the computer to perform a specific action, while a double click opens up a game. If the cursor moves off the screen, teach her how to pick up the mouse and place it back down.
Drag and Drop Practice
Once your child can guide the mouse without your help, let her play Luton Learning Grid’s simple mouse game. Suggest first clicking on the light switch, which makes the screen brighter. Since this game introduces a simple drag and drop procedure, explain that a mouse can be used to point at an object and drag it to a different location. Minimouse is a website that provides kids with plenty of drag and drop practice and reinforces clicking concepts. Allow the child to help Peter Pickle pop bubbles or Manny the monkey grab his lunch.
Number Mouse Games
Online dot-to-dot games reinforce dragging and clicking techniques. Tvokids contains several games in which children practice counting skills and create a picture. Tell your child to pick a level she is comfortable with or urge her to challenge herself at a higher level. Turtle Diary contains color-by-number games especially designed for preschoolers. Point out which colors are associated with each number. Watch the child click on the associated color, drag the paintbrush to the appropriate number and form the design.
Draw and Paint Games
Children can use their artistic talents while refining mouse skills through draw and paint programs. ABCYa offers coloring, painting and drawing methods for children through fifth grade. Have your child decorate a coloring page by choosing various tools, including markers, paintbrushes and stickers. But a youngster does not need to be online to practice mouse skills. Tux Paint is a free downloadable program that's used in both schools and homes. Tux Paint supplies the blank canvas and drawing tools, while children provide the imagination. Encourage your child to draw originals using the painting tools or to get help choosing background templates, stickers and shapes.
- Commonwealth of Virginia: Computer Technology Standards of Learning for Virginia’s Public Schools -- February 2013
- Luton Learning Grid: Tidy the Classroom
- Minimouse: Games
- Tvokids: Connect the Dots With Artt
- Turtle Diary: Color by Number
- ABCYa: Color, Draw and Paint
- Tux Paint: Open Source Drawing Software for Children
- Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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