Kids nowadays are pretty tech savvy, and when it comes to touchscreen technology they seem to be born total whizzes, somehow inherently knowing how to slide, swipe, pinch and tap (and getting annoyed when this doesn’t word on old-school interfaces)! Yet the prominence of touchscreens in the devices they have regular access to is meaning that many kids are not getting a lot of opportunities to learn how to use a mouse.
Being able to use a mouse well is useful for many things, from playing games and navigating the Internet to creating digital art and potentially their future careers. However, using a mouse isn’t easy at first, as kids need to understand and develop good cursor control, along with clicking, double-clicking, right-clicking, dragging, scrolling, and so on. Kids often need some time to learn and practise these skills. Luckily, there are some great options available to help them do this!
How to use a mouse – Correct Mouse Hold
Learning the correct mouse hold is important for helping kids to be able to use a mouse quickly and effectively. It’s important to learn this early on because developing an unsuitable hold can become a habit that is hard to break later.
- To hold the mouse correctly, you should:
- Place your palm on the base of the mouse.
- Put your thumb on the side of the mouse closest to the computer.
- Put your index finger on the left button.
- Put your middle finger on the right button.
- Put your remaining fingers on the far side of the mouse.
- Your wrist should be straight, following the angle of your arm and not twisted to either side or higher or lower.
Here are some pictures to help demonstrate correct mouse hold:
Using the mouse
Here are some tips for using the mouse:
- When moving the cursor, look at the screen rather than your hand.
- To single click, use your index finger to press and release the left button.
- To double-click, press the same button quickly twice, without removing your finger.
- To drag an item, click on it and hold the button, then move the mouse.
- To drop an item, drag it to the position you want, then release the mouse button.
Remember when using the mouse to keep your wrist straight and to move the mouse with your arm not your wrist, as demonstrated in this photo:
Developing mouse skills
The best way of helping kids to develop their mouse skills is through practice. This means allowing them the chance to use a computer with a mouse. Rather than giving them extra screen time, you could consider swapping time on a tablet computer for time on a PC or laptop. Using the mouse to open files or navigate the Internet is a good way to get started. Kids also love using programs such as Paint, which is great for developing excellent cursor control and mouse skills, as well as being fun and creative!
Practising mouse skills
There are loads of great online resources and games available to help kids practise their mouse skills. Here are just a few you can try:
How to use a mouse – Instructional Videos –
How to use a mouse – Games to improve mouse skills
For older kids
With technology playing a bigger and bigger part in our children’s lives, check out our guide to avoiding screen rage attacks. It may start with basic mouse skills, but before you know it your Brisbane Kids will likely be surpassing you with their technology skills. Keep up to date with technology and find out more if your child wants to learn to code.