Chess provides excellent learning opportunities for children. It teaches strategic thinking, logic and it’s downright fun too. Not only that, according to Wendi Fischer Scholastic Director of America’s Foundation for Chess and faculty contributor at John Hopkins University, it’s about “…quadrants and coordinates, thinking strategically and foreseeing consequences. It’s about lines and angles, weighing options and making decisions.” In addition, she adds, “Chess might just be the perfect teaching and learning tool.”
There are many great (and free) resources that you can create to involve students as young as six in the great game of chess. Our students made chess kits out of large cereal boxes. They covered their boxes with white construction paper and then cut the top flaps off to create a convenient opening.
Our students also made their own chess activity books complete with a coloring page for each chess piece, strategy boards, and rules of the game. The books, with covers made from a large sheet of construction paper folded in half, fit perfectly inside their activity kits.
Flash cards help introduce strategies (See above). Flash cards can also be used to teach vocabulary words such as: diagonal, equalize, fortress, horizontal, repetition, simplify, strategy, symmetry, tempo, triangulation, variation, vertical, and more.
Students also make their own practice boards and game pieces. They arrange 64 squares in alternating patterns of dark and light.
Activity Village has a kid-friendly PDF, titled, Chess for Kids, with rules and details about the game. It’s a great resource to add to your arsenal of chess play activities.