My oldest two children used Mavis Beacon's typing course to learn to type a couple of years ago. It was a great program, and both kids can now type very well.
But we just discovered that the Mavis Beacon cd won't work on my youngest daughter's computer. So I did some research to find some online typing lessons that she can learn from instead.
I was able to find several online sites that basically constitute a free homeschooling typing curriculum when used together. I should add, of course, that you definitely don't need to be a homeschooling family to use these excellent typing resources for your children.
This is a full-fledged typing course for kids, systematically teaching them practically every key of the keyboard. The lessons are animated and fun, and while I think some time is wasted in the animated sections of the lessons, the step-by-step process is very thorough. The program is unintimidating and highly effective.
Once all the keys on the keyboard are learned, children can move on to Keybr.com. They have the choice to practice typing random words/non-words, to practice custom text, or to practice the text from any website or blog. Practicing typing real words is the best way to hone a child's typing skills, so I'd suggest using the custom text of website/blog option. (You'll need to click the button above the keyboard next to word Tutorial to change the text settings.)
Keybr.com shows the student's speed, errors, as well as the particular keys which are the weakest. This site is extremely well-designed and offers enough custom features to make it useful for a long time without getting boring.
3. Practice typing with free keyboarding games
Free Online Typing Games and Keyboarding Games For Kids both offer a variety of typing and keyboarding games that will help your children practice their typing skills in a fun environment. These games wouldn't teach your children to type, but they will definitely give them excellent opportunities to review and enhance their typing skills.
Do you have favorite online typing and keyboarding resources you'd like to share?