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Kiddie Keyboard Just the Right Type

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RALEIGH — When your pre-schooler sees you using your home computer, they often want to "play" with it too. That can be a problem, because young minds and fingers don't always understand how to use the keyboard. Now there's a keyboard made specially for young children.

"My First Keyboard"was developed a few years ago by a couple now living in the Triangle. As WRAL OnLine reporterTom Lawrencefound out, it's functional, colorful and different.

Victor and Kendall Maynard came up with the idea for a child-proof keyboard after their toddler crashed their computer.

Preschoolers often use computers, usually with only the mouse. The standard 101 key QWERTY keyboard is too challenging. "My First Keyboard" has half the number of keys, is color-coded and kid-safe.

"We also did a membrane surface, [it's] spill-proof, peanut butter-proof," says Kendall Maynard. "We also made it alphabetical."

The keys are large, better for small fingers, and they are color coded. There's also built-in protection.

"They have some options here, but nothing that's going to get into your system and make it so they can actually destroy your system," Maynard said.

The mouse is still active. Simple software in the $60 package helps little ones learn.

Maynard says any software works with the keyboard and the alphabetized keys don't hinder typing skills.

"They don't start actually typing, or what they call 'keyboarding', until later in elementary school," Maynard said.

The keyboard is available only for IBM or compatible machines. Growing computer popularity drives demand for the keyboard and for different software.

"We've had some requests for the Spanish version," says Maynard. "We've had some requests from overseas. We've had requests from all over the world."

"My First Keyboard" is available throughseveral catalogs.


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