Don’t Pour Juice on the Laptop: Computer Basics for Kids

If you’ve been to an elementary school classroom recently, chances are you’ve seen a big, black box on wheels plugged into the wall. What’s inside that black box, you ask? It’s simple: a whole collection of computers.

As the world gets progressively more digital, computers are becoming an essential part of every classroom. Students use them to type reports, do research, and play educational games. Computers are also pretty prevalent in the home, especially as some schools make the switch to eLearning. 

Chances are your child uses one pretty frequently. As such, it’s important that they know some basic computer skills so they can use this cool technology successfully. Strap in, because this post is going to teach you all about computer basics for children, internet safety skills, and much more!

How do you explain to kids what a computer is?

The first step of teaching your kids computer safety is, surprise surprise, teaching them what a computer actually is.

What are the three main functions of a computer? Well, here’s my best attempt at explaining computers in kid-friendly terms: A computer is a machine that accepts digital information, reads that information, then sends that information to other computers and devices. Sometimes that information is a blog post or newspaper article, and other times it’s something more fun, like an online game or YouTube video.

If your child responds well to videos, show them this video! It’s a great introduction to computers by Socratica Kids. It might be a little cheesy, but it’s very informative and uses language that kids will understand.

We know that kids are curious, and your child might ask where the word “computer” comes from. There’s a common misconception that the word “computer” is an acronym.That’s not true: computer just means computer! Computers were originally designed to compute equations, and that’s where we get the name from. So if you’re wondering, “what is computer full form,” the answer is just that: computer.

What are the basic computer skills for kids?

What are some computer basics for kids? There are four basic skills that kids should know when working with a computer:

  1. Keyboarding skills. Typing is essential when surfing the web or writing an assignment, so get your kids familiar with a keyboard as soon as possible! There are a ton of cool games online that make learning to type fun—like these games from Check out this awesome blog post to learn some more typing tips and tricks!
  1. Mouse skills. Perhaps even more important than the keyboard is the mouse. Show your kids how to hold the mouse, and model the basics of right clicking and left clicking. You’ll be surprised by how quickly your kiddos catch on!
  1. Software and application skills. Once your kids have a grasp on mouse and keyboard skills, show them how to use basic software like MS Paint. They’ll be able to use their newfound mouse skills to create some amazing masterpieces.
  1. Basic internet safety skills. The internet can be a dangerous place for kids. Check out this great article to learn more about teaching your kids important cyber safety skills.

To help your children understand how a computer works, I recommend introducing them to a family desktop or laptop before they use a tablet or smartphone. Using a regular computer helps your child learn how to use a mouse and keyboard, two essential computer skills.

And speaking of basic internet safety skills, if you’re nervous about your child’s relationship with the internet, check out Troomi! Our kid-safe, parent-approved smartphones feature a KidSmart™ internet browser that lets you decide how your kids surf the web. It’s safe, secure, and easy to understand. Click here to learn a bit more!

What are the 5 basic parts of a computer?

If your child is especially curious about computers, they may ask about how the machine is made. After all, computers are more than just a screen, keyboard, and mouse. Here are the basic parts of every computer:

  • The motherboard is the glue that holds the computer together. Every part of the computer is connected to the motherboard and communicates through it.
  • The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of the computer. It reads lines of code and follows the instructions that the code relays. Just like you or I read the instructions when we put together a piece of IKEA furniture, the CPU keeps the computer together and working.
  • The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), also known as a video card, is what makes your monitor show images. Higher quality graphics cards generate higher quality visuals, which is why so many gamers and engineers geek out over their new graphics cards.
  • Random Access Memory (RAM), also known as volatile memory, stores data for frequently accessed programs. It helps programs, games, and applications start up and close down quickly.
  • Finally, we have storage. Computers use either Solid State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD) to store data. HDDs are a physical disk that reads data, while SSDs are smaller and faster–the SIM card in your phone is a baby SSD!

Teach your children to care for their devices!

Now that your kids know what a computer is, how to use it, and some of the basic parts, it’s important to remind them to care for their devices. Electronics can break so easily, especially when kids aren’t careful with them! Remind your children to:

  • Carry their device correctly. Make sure your child knows to use both hands when carrying their computer or smartphone. Don’t sling it around or carry it with one hand!
  • Be gentle. A computer is a delicate object, and typing too hard or tapping on the screen too fiercely can really damage your device. Be gentle with it!
  • Don’t eat or drink near the computer. A computer is an electronic, so food and drink can really mess it up if something spills on it. Don’t pour juice on the laptop!

Click on this link for another great video that will help your kids learn to take care of their computer.

And don’t forget to keep an eye on the Troomi blog for more great tips and tricks in the future!