This post on an Chess for kids is part of my 21 Challenge. I am taking The 21 Challenge to raise money to support homeless and at-risk young people in Australia. There are more than 32,000 young people who sleep on our streets every night and I blogging a kids activity daily to raise funds to go to Open Family Australia who support these youths.
My challenge is to blog daily an activity I do each day with my kids, using only things we have at home or use what we have on hand when we are out. You can see all the children’s activities I have posted as part of the 21 Challenge by clicking on the tag 21 Challenge here.
Chess is one of the world’s most popular games and it is game that can be played by all ages.
I never learnt to play chess as a kid. The primary school our kids attend offer lunch time chess, so we have chosen to pay for them to attend and learn the game.
My eldest son taught me to play and while I know in which directions the pieces can move and how far they can move, I really don’t know any strategy at all. Hence I really struggle playing with the kids, especially when it comes to try and finishing the game off with a victory.
Our six year old adores chess and wants to play pretty much every day, something which I can’t do time wise nor do I actually want to play everyday! He will play against his siblings but with homework and sporting commitments, they aren’t always available to play
My kids have started learning to play from 5 years old.
- Chess board and pieces.
- Optional: Chess clock. We have a chess clock which is super handy for a couple of reasons. It puts a definite time limit on the game and when the kids do chess tournaments against other schools they have to play with clocks, so it is good practice for him.
Opportunities for learning:
There are just so many ways that kids benefit from playing chess, like practicing:
- problem solving
- critical thinking
- planning and strategy
- decision making
There are some fantastic resources, if like me you need help when it comes to chess for kids!
- Helping your children with chess – this is an excellent PDF you can download which offers tips and rule explanations specifically for parents who want to play chess with their kids.
- Chess Kids – is an Australian company which offers Chess Coaching and Chess Lessons. They also have great free resources on their site, like these articles and kids can sign up to play online against other kids from around Australia.
- Local clubs – there are 100s of local clubs around the country. Like the Fianchetto Chess Club in Cranbourne which is run by dear friends of ours. The club operates Tuesday 4.30pm-6.30pm at the Casey Community House in Cranbourne. Club membership is only $50.00 per school term which includes:
- in-house club competition entry
- weekly raffles
- and families with more than one child attending, only pay $30 for the second child.
Check your local community house to see what they have on offer.
Chess Kids App
For some time my kids have played the free chess app from Optime. The screen shot above is from this game. It is a good app, it has advertising but it isn’t too obtrusive and it has quite calming music.
However as the 6 year old’s enthusiasm has increased, I wanted to find a chess app that was designed specifically with kids in mind.
This is how I found Dinosaur Chess ($1.99) and both the kids and I love it.
It has a ‘Learn’ section which takes the kids step by step through the game set up and the role of each piece in the game of chess.
A Scottish dinosaur takes you through a lesson on each piece and then there is an interactive mini game so you can practice the way that piece moves around the board. Once you have completed that game, the next chess piece is unlocked for you.
You don’t have to do the lessons, you can go straight to playing and there is a range of skill set based games to play. For example if you choose the ankylosaurus, you have 8 pawns and a king while your opponent has only 4 pawns and a king. If they choose the tyrannosaurus however both players have a full set of pieces.
When a child selects a piece to move, the game highlights the potential squares it could move to (see the white squares diagonally placed on the board).
You can even see their progress as well. The app will give me a break from playing chess everyday!
Do your kids like to play chess?
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