I am always looking for great ways to interact with my kids and in the process of searching for some fun games I came across Chess. Once upon a time, long long ago, when I was a child, I played chess.
I remember chess to be a really fun game that required some thinking and a bit of strategy. I love games that are based on skill rather than just luck, it is a lot more rewarding isn’t it? Well if you win and I do remember losing to my older sister a lot, it was a lot more fun to play against my younger sister.
So on my to do list now is to buy a chess board so I can start teaching my five year old daughter how to play. My son is only three so I suspect he might need to be a little older to learn.
My daughter loves puzzles and working things out, so I am sure she is going to fall in love with playing chess.
If you are looking for a board game to teach your kids that you can play with them that is more gripping than say Snakes and Ladders then I suggest you think about chess.
Here are some reasons why your children should be playing chess:
1 Playing chess uses the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain
The right side of the brain uses logic and the left side of the brain uses creativity. Chess makes you use both sides of the brain making this a great activity to keep our brains tuned. Not just your children but for you too.
As we get older we use our left side of the brain more and the left side of our brains get used less and less. Exercising both sides of the brain is really good. This means that playing chess with your children will be a huge benefit to you.
2 Chess requires high levels of concentration
When a child gets absorbed in a chess game it is excellent practice for teaching them how to concentrate. I’m not sure about your kids but mine often appear to have the attention span of a goldfish.
They can actually concentrate but they need to get captivated by something, which is why I think chess is going to be a brilliant game to get for my family.
Chess is not a short game, it will take some time so it will help them to pay attention and concentrate for a decent period of time.
The fact is that if they are doing something fun and enjoyable they will be able to concentrate for longer. If they can concentrate longer on chess they are learning how to concentrate, they will then in time be able to concentrate on other things for longer too.
3 Chess involves strategic and logical thinking, planning and foresight
Yes when a child first starts playing they will probably just wing it and not think ahead to their next moves at all, but with time they will learn that they can plan ahead and even trick their opponents into certain moves that will be to their benefit.
The more they play the better they will get at playing strategically and planning their game.
4 Chess helps develop problem solving skills
When your child starts thinking beyond his next move he will start to also develop problem solving skills. When he understands that certain moves he makes will have consequences he will start having to look at all the options available and what the ripple effect could be for each one.
5 Chess improves memory
It will take some time for your child to learn how each chess piece moves and the rules of the game which will help your child improve his memory. In addition to that when your child starts with strategical thinking he will have to remember a few moves ahead and what he has planned in each possible move his opponent makes.
The more chess he plays he plays the better his memory will become over time. This is an excellent way to help your child with memory skills and not even make it seem like a chore.
6 Chess will teach your child the importance of competition and how to lose well
Children need to learn that there is going to be competition in almost every aspect of life and that they need to learn to do things to the best of their ability to succeed.
At school children will be competing to get the best grades, in sports they will be competing as a team against other teams or as an individual against other individuals.
Then when they are adults they will be competing against thousands of other people for a place in university or college. When they apply for their first job they will be competing against loads of other capable applicants.
Although obviously the goal of playing a game and being in competition is winning, loss is at some stage inevitable.
I’m not sure about your kids but my five year old screams and curls up into a little ball on the floor when she just thinks she may have come off second best in anything. She needs some serious practice at how to lose without falling apart at the seams.
Losing is not just about not being a sore loser, it is about looking at why you lost and seeing what you can learn from it so you can come back bigger and better next time.
It is also important for children to learn that it is a fact of life that sometimes no matter how hard you try sometimes you will lose anyway. Then you need to pick yourself up and just get on with life.
Looking at all these above points it is clear that there are many benefits your kids will get if you teach them how to play chess. Teaching your child how to play chess will really help your child with his intellectual and personal development in a way that not many other games can compete with.
If you don’t know how to play chess yourself, you can even learn chess online and then teach your kids. It will give you a wonderful opportunity to learn something new and bond with your children.
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Also published on Medium.