When is a Good Time to Teach My Kid to Play Chess?

A few questions you may be asking yourself…

What are benefits to teaching my child to play chess?

When is a good time to teach my kid to play chess?

Your situation could be…

  • You are a parent who wants to see their kids unplugged from a device and having conversations over a chess board. 
  • You home-school and are looking for a game that offers fun but tons of educational benefits with a lifetime of value.
  • You want to find an activity that will engage your children for 1-2 hours so you can get some work or chores accomplished.
People in chess school learning the game

Regardless of why you are ready to teach your child chess, the question still remains – at what age should you introduce the game of chess to your kid?  When is the best time for them to start to learn.  The answer is now!  

Chess Made Fun recommends the following activities for these age groups:

0-1 year:

Read a chess book to them.  Your child may not understand but they will be learning the words of chess

1-2 years:  

Purchase a chess set (we recommend a silicone set) with soft but sturdy pieces.  Do not leave your child unattended with the pieces.  Use the chess set for 15 minutes per day, and let them play with the pieces.  Your child may set them on the board.  Teach your child how to say the names of the pieces.  It’s okay if your child doesn’t know which name belongs to which piece. 

2-4 years of age:

Introduce mini games from “Chess is Child’s Play”.  This book will teach any parent how to teach their child chess even if they do not know how to play.  Play these mini-games 10-15 minutes per day until your child conquers the lesson.  

5-10 years: 

Introduce the pawns game.  Once your child is winning – move on.  Introduce the knights game. Once your child is able to collect more than 50 beads – move on.  Introduce checkmate so your child will understand the object of chess. 

Be sure to check out our YouTube Channel for instructional videos on how to play these games. 

Once your child can consistently win 3 games, introduce the rest of pieces that comprise a full chess game.  The book ”Chess is Child’s Play” has awesome mini games that engage your child with a fun and easy way to win. 

Two boys playing chess laying on the floor and thinking hard

If you live in an urban area you already know chess is making a huge reemergence in the US. There are chess clubs popping up all over the US.  If you are teaching your child how to play chess visit your local chess club to find other players in the area.  The age difference will not matter because chess will give your child something to talk about.

The benefits of playing chess have been researched by top scientists all over the world. The game of chess is proven to raise Math and English scores while teaching good sportsmanship to all players.  There are many more benefits that will impress you.  If you introduce chess in the right manner your child will be having fun, and not even realize they are learning.  

How to Play Chess Through Social Distancing

Has your local chess club stopped hosting chess play or tournaments?

Do you feel lost playing chess online with random opponents?

Do you miss playing chess with your family and friends?

There are lots of websites and mobile apps to play chess online. Playing random opponents does take away from the personal interaction over the board play offers.

Chess Made Fun recommends playing chess over the board with your family at home. Intergenerational play is important to help foster mentorship. If kids are only playing with other kids online they sometimes miss out on valuable lessons. 

We recommend the below mobile apps and websites to play on with your family, friends or players in your community online.

Chess.com is a loved website and mobile app in the chess community. Some of the benefits include

  • Free account or Paid Subscription Plan
  • Online learning through lessons, puzzles and puzzle rush
  • Chat and message other players
  • Setup a Club for your local club members
  • You may also choose random opponents from around the world to play chess with
  • Allows you to play timed games or gives up to 14 days to make a move

ChessKid.com is run by chess.com but only for coaches, parents and younger players. Some of the benefits include

  • Free account or Paid Subscription Plan
  • An app designed for kids to safely play kids from around the world
  • Solve puzzles to improve your game (paid subscription)
  • Watch video lessons from chess masters (paid subscription)
  • Battle bots to become a champ
  • Parents have full control over kids account
  • Parents/Coaches can setup a club for local members to play each other (You can have matches, a leaderboard, and send messages to your students within ChessKid.)

Chess with Friends is a mobile app that can be downloaded and linked to your Facebook account. Some of the benefits include

  • Free mobile app (Paid ad free version)
  • Find friends and family on Facebook to play chess with
  • You may also choose random opponents from around the world to play chess with
  • Play multiple games at the same time
  • Chat with your friends or opponents
  • Must be 13+ to play

Chess Made Fun recommends these mobile apps by age group.  These apps are made for kids to learn how to play chess.

0-4 years:

We do not recommend children this young to play chess through a mobile app. Invest in the book, Chess is Child’s Play, for mini games to play at home with your kids. This age range is perfect for chess-themed toys, books and cartoons. Checkout this YouTube playlist for some cartoons we hope your kids will enjoy.

5-10 years:

Dinosaur Chess (Paid App)

  • Is a fun way to learn and play chess
  • 11 lessons
  • 20 mini games and puzzles

Fritz and Chesster (Paid App)

  • Join Prince Fritz and his cousin Bianca learn how to play chess, then test and increase your knowledge in a whole range of exciting games and situations.
  • Promotion of memory, math, verbal reasoning as well as the development of critical thinking, creative thinking and socialization are among the many benefits of playing the sport of kings.
  • 18 Standalone mini-games
  • Multiple players can log in with different names and play independently

10-15 years:

Chess+ (Really great for older kids and adults as well)

  • The most advanced chess training mobile app. Improve your skills, learn tactics and strategies
  • Hundreds of levels
  • Thousands of exercises
  • Is free to play but you can purchase some optional in-game items
  • Can also connect to Facebook

We hope during this unique time for us all with Social Distancing chess can become a fun family activity for everyone to play at home. If you don’t know how to play chess check out our YouTube channel for some mini-games you may start with. Look to see if your kids may join their local chess club online, reach out to their coach for help.

Let us know in the comments what websites and mobile apps you like to play and learn chess?

EP 2 About Chess – Did You Know?

Chess Made Fun is introducing a new video series with episodes coming to you each week. The series is called Did You Know in Chess… Each episode covers relevant facts that are helpful to beginning chess players. These topics are easy for the viewer to digest and use for regular play. We hope you find each episode informative! We will create a separate playlist, so that viewers may watch all episodes in one sitting if they wish. Sit back and relax, and…let’s talk about chess!

EP 1 About Chess – Did You Know?

Chess Made Fun is introducing a new video series with episodes coming to you each week. The series is called Did You Know in Chess… Each episode covers relevant facts that are helpful to beginning chess players. These topics are easy for the viewer to digest and use for regular play. We hope you find each episode informative! We will create a separate playlist, so that viewers may watch all episodes in one sitting if they wish. Sit back and relax, and…let’s talk about chess!

What Games Help Kids Learn to Play Chess Faster?

Chess is a lot for kids to learn how to play.  If your child is learning chess at a rate slower than anticipated there are a few things you can do that will not only motivate them to learn quicker, but will also build learning fundamentals known as meta-cognition (learning to learn).

  1. Begin with chess mini-games to help your child learn piece movement first, and build their confidence with chess
  2. Introduce a chess clock and play timed games, the clock will add excitement for your child
  3. Play checkmate puzzles, so your child will understand checkmate better
  4. Invest in chess books, so your child will study the game on their own to improve 

Whatever you do, do not get frustrated!  This could discourage your child from wanting to play.

What you do not hear talked about are games outside of chess that will support meta-cognition to help improve your child’s ability to think creatively for solutions.  Check out some options below for your child’s age.  These are independent thinking games that your child can play alone, or work with you to solve. 

Chess Made Fun recommends these games for the following ages:

2-4 years:

Bunny Boo – Not only will this game teach primary colors to your toddler, but your child will learn directions while working on motor skills.

4-6 years:

Camelot Jr – Chess-themed, and a fun, unique twist on puzzle games that will help develop logic and spatial reasoning.

6-8 years:

Laser Maze – Strategically place satellites throughout the maze game to guide the laser’s path, but watch out for space rocks that might get in the way.

8-10 years:

Walls & Warriors – Brain power is needed to protect your castle in this exciting game with 80 increasingly difficult challenges.

10-12 years:

Cube Puzzler PRO – Playing Cube Puzzler PRO stimulates the following cognitive abilities: planning, problem solving and spatial insight.

12+ years:

Solitaire Chess – Solitaire Chess combines the rules of traditional chess and peg solitaire to bring you a delightful and vigorous brain workout.

Remember, every child will learn chess at their own pace. These tools that we are discussing are meant to stimulate your child, so he or she does not grow impatient with learning. We hope this information will help chart a course for continued learning. Comment below to let us know what tools have worked for your children.

Playing Chess Online

As beginning chess players, how serious about improving are we when we sit down to play chess? What are the real benefits to playing chess online? In this video, we try to educate our viewers about this controversial topic. Chess Made Fun takes a “technology off” approach to make a case for playing chess over the board, and why the benefits to new chess players are found there rather than online.

Our trip to the World Chess Hall of Fame

Back in 2011 we came across an image online of the World Chess Hall of Fame in the city of St. Louis, MO. As casual chess players learning about this sport for the first time, we knew little about the history of chess in America aside from the famous Marshall Chess Club in New York City where Bobby Fischer played. It turns out that the city of St. Louis since that time has attracted chess Grandmasters from all over the United States. When we realized we were going on a trip 30 minutes from St. Louis, we changed our schedule, so we could visit.  With our 2-year old in tow, we couldn’t explore the exhibits as much as we would have liked, but had so much fun!

When we crossed the street and saw the largest chess king in the Guinness Book World of Records we were in awe!  The patio chess set with tables set up to play excited us.  

Our fantasy of meeting a Grandmaster and playing a game intensified as we approached the building. Seeing the boards made us think this dream could come true.  

Currently the museum has 3 exhibits. If you are a science fiction fan you will not want to miss Ground Control: A Journey Trough Chess and Space. They share the history of astronauts playing chess in space – so cool!

Visiting the gift shop was more exciting to us than the exhibits. Although the last thing we needed is another chess board, we’ve had our eye on this wobble chess set for awhile, and will definitely be adding this item to our website soon.  

We weren’t able to visit the St. Louis Chess Club, but have it on our wish list for the future.  If you are in the area, or visiting, they even have a beginning class for kids and adults on Sundays.

Beginners Learning Chess – Top 5 Mistakes

Most of us who learn chess early on are self-taught. Let’s face it – we all fall into habits without realizing it. Some of those habits can lead us down a path where it becomes difficult to see ourselves steadily improving, or finding more winning positions. In this video we examine some of the traps we fall into. These mistakes are easily corrected. All it takes is an awareness of these habits. Many people are able to overcome these challenges. We hope this video will get you back on the path to chess improvement as a beginning chess player.

Teaching Chess to Kids – Top 5 Mistakes

Mistakes are easily made when teaching your child to play chess. In this video we transfer our knowledge learned over many games played with children. Avoid the frustration that can come from overwhelming your kids. Follow these simple guidelines that will take teaching your child to the next level. If you can relate to this video tell us what your experience has been so far.

How to Play the Knights Game

Want to teach your child how to play chess? Don’t get overwhelmed with all of the pieces on the board. Learn how to play the knights game in this video. It is a simple game to learn and only takes 5 – 10 minutes to play. This is an excellent way to establish chess fundamentals for beginners.