If you want someone to push a button...make it stand out!
After posting my blog about my daughter D. playing Starfall I was asked "How she learned how to operate a mouse?"
It was very simple, 100% my wife K.'s idea and made great use of some stickers.
We helped our daughter using visual controls -
It was really simple for D. to learn how to use a mouse/touchpad by showing her where to click.
K. and I originally thought about getting her a child's mouse that only has one button but we realized that wasn't going to solve the root cause.
We put a containment measure in place
Problem - D. didn't know which button she should click to make her games go.
Containment Measure - K. took one of D.'s stickers and put it on the left mouse button (see image above) and said "When you get the arrow where you want, just click the smiley face." She picked up on it almost instantaneously thus empowering her to use the mouse.
Things we did and didn't do as containment measures
Originally we enlarged the size of the arrow and slowed down the pointer speed to make it easier for her but now she can operate the system at normal speed.
We did discuss changing the pointer icon from an arrow to a smiley face or dinosaur however we wanted her to be able to use any computer anywhere so we left it as the standard "arrow shape".
D.'s current status is that she doesn't need the smiley face anymore so we've removed the stickers, however they are really cute....I put mine back on!