Chess for family fun is our most recent addition to Learn With Your Kids series. Chess may not be your first thought when it comes to family game night or connecting with your kids. I encourage you to read on to discover how this game has brought our family closer and learn about two resources that made it easier.
Games have always been a highlight of our week. Our family enjoys sitting down with board or card games, even jumping on Wii for some sports or dancing competitive fun. These special moments are highly anticipated and great ways to relax during our busy schedules.
Due to our activities and responsibilities, family game night does not always happen at night. Soccer practices and church events sometimes run until bedtime or beyond. When our week is packed with nightly activities, our family has to come up with alternative solutions.
During one of our homeschool morning gatherings, I talked about our packed schedules for the upcoming week. As much as my husband and I do not like to overload our schedules, life with five boys can mean more events than we ever imagined.
I told the boys that I was not sure when we would do family game night. After moans and groans, Smiley (8) suggested that we have a family game afternoon. Brilliant!
Since he was on a roll, Smiley suggested his favorite game of all time, chess. Cheers went up from the other boys.
Now, it was time for Mommy to moan and groan.
You see, I never learned how to play chess. I played all kinds of board games and such growing up but never chess. My parents did not own a chess board and my friends were not into it. I had always wanted to play but my adult life soon became filled with graduate studies, wedding, and babies.
My husband and his family are keen on chess. Yet, it was never a game that I asked them to teach me to play. My boys have been fortunate to learn the basics from my husband.
The boys declared that it was time for Mommy to learn-and they would be my teachers! A little bit of role reversal is great for helping one keep things in perspective, right?
Learn FROM Your Kids: Chess For Family Fun
I am not ashamed to admit that I was a wee bit intimidated when we started. The pieces all seemed to blend together. Never fear, for my boys are excellent teachers who really know how to break concepts down into bit-size chunks and use great visual examples.
We used two resources to help my boys teach me. These products have been absolutely fabulous in providing hands-on and visual learning and practice.
The Usborne Chess Book was added to our homeschool morning basket. The boys and I read and discussed a few pages each day. Bear (5) and I found it very helpful to have stickers to use to practice moves. I also greatly appreciated how each of the chess pieces and their allowed movements were explained.
Another book that we recently added to our chess collection is Starting Chess which is recommended for ages 5-7 and up (and has internet links!).
The boys had received a super cool Star Wars chess set. They play this game for hours! I wondered how in the world I would learn how to play with this set. I thought I would get confused with all of the firgurines.Well, after a lesson on Star Wars characters and their roles, I had a better understanding of why specific characters were matched with certain pieces. It actually made the chess learning process easier!
Conclusion: Learning Chess With Your Kids Is Fun!
I still struggle with chess. I try to learn something new during our matches. The boys are patient with me and I usually have a partner or two.
Overall, the experience has been wonderful. The boys have grown in confidence in their communication skills and teaching abilities. I try to keep the atmosphere light; less competitive and more about teaching Mommy something new. (I have a few boys who go cray-cray when bit with the competitive bug.)
When I have seen chess played in movies, it always seems quiet and pensive. That is certainly not the case in our house! The boys and I love to chat about possible moves and outcomes. We will talk about chess etiquette in the future but for now, I will just enjoy this bonding experience with my boys.
Have you used chess or other games to learn with your kids?
I had the good fortune to attend a Simply Fun party and find this ultra awesome chess set!