- Washable and spill-proof
- Large, colorful keys
- Extra buttons distracting for toddlers
- Two button mouse
If you’ve got a tech-savvy toddler, you’re no doubt worried about the state of your computer. There are software packages to protect the contents, but what about the keyboard? Enter myPC Stage 1 Toddler Keyboard. This rugged keyboard is designed for sticky little hands, with large keys, an innovative spill-proof design and a dishwasher-safe exterior. Simply put, this keyboard is nifty.
What Parents Love
The Toddler Keyboard has large, color-coded keys to help toddlers learn the difference between the number keys, consonants, vowels and other special keys. There is no punctuation so kids can’t stumble across unwanted websites. It also comes with a toddler-sized mouse that’s just the right size for little hands.
The best thing about this keyboard is the overall design. The keys are protected from spills with clever engineering and some tiny holes drilled into the bottom of the keyboard. Rather than seeping into the underlying circuitry, liquids just drain from the bottom. Disassemble the keyboard (held together with a few screws) and pop the case into the dishwasher. Really… why aren’t all keyboards designed this way?
Both the keyboard and the mouse are USB plug-and-play devices that work with a Mac or a PC. The keyboards come in white, pink, green and blue and kids can quickly tell from the sturdy construction that it was designed just for them.
What’s Not to Love
My biggest complaint about the myPC Stage 1 Toddler Keyboard is a bank of four “special” keys on the upper right hand corner of the keyboard. They include “Delete,” “Caps Lock” and two special keys for loading Internet Explorer and Internet Favorites. Unfortunately, these colorful keys are a magnet for toddlers. My son immediately started pressing them randomly, causing browser windows to pop up and disrupt the activity we were doing. Since it’s easy enough to open an Internet browser and navigate with a mouse, these keys are more of a nuisance than a help.
The keyboard is intentionally designed without punctuation to prevent kids from inadvertently accessing inappropriate websites. This is a mixed blessing. No one wants their kids to stumble across pornography, but then again, how many toddlers are typing URLs into web browsers? More importantly, toddlers should not be browsing the web unattended and should still have adult supervision for even basic computer use. B y the time a child is old enough to work independently on the computer, punctuation becomes important.
The only other flaw with the Stage 1 Toddler Keyboard is that it comes with a two-button mouse. Toddlers and preschoolers don’t have the manual dexterity to use both buttons, so they would be more successful with one large button. The right mouse button is typically only useful for more advanced features that young kids shouldn’t be accessing anyway.
The Bottom Line
Your toddler doesn’t really need a keyboard of their own, but if you’re going to get one, this is a good choice. High quality kids’ software is designed to ignore commands from special keys like those built-in to the keyboard, so they aren’t a show-stopper. The spill-proof, washable exterior certainly outweighs any negative features. By the way, the myPC Toddler Keyboard is not only useful for actual computer time; a spare keyboard is a great distraction for a toddler who wants to be like mommy or daddy. They can type away on their keyboard (no computer attached) while you type on yours!
The suggested retail price for the myPC Toddler Keyboard is $69.95.