A friend of mine asked for some chess resources to use with her after-school chess club (elementary-aged), and I thought I would share the ones that I was able to curate. If you have any other suggestions (other than sites where you can play chess online), please comment below.
The game that I like to use to introduce how the chess pieces move is Tic Tac Chec. I just did a search on my blog, and I can’t believe that I’ve never posted about this game before. I used to use it with my Kinder and 1st graders all of the time, and they quickly picked it up. The game board is a wooden 4×4 grid, and the two players each get 4 different chess pieces, one of which they can place or move during their turns. The object is to get 4 of your pieces in a row. If you are captured, you can use your next move to put your piece back on the board. It’s fun to watch the students keep capturing each other, and finally realizing no one can win if that’s all you do!
Solitaire Chess is another game for practicing chess movements without playing the actual game. This one-player game offers scaffolded challenges that show pictures of a 4×4 chess board set up with some pieces. Your goal is to figure out how to move the pieces so that only one is left. Each move must be a “legal” capture. You can also play Solitaire Chess online (make sure you have Flash enabled on your computer), and there is a video tutorial.
Here are some other online chess challenges:
UIL Texas has this printable packet of mini-games for teaching chess.
For videos, don’t forget the inspirational one, The Magic of Chess, that I shared a couple of weeks ago. Also, Kids Academy has a series of animated videos on YouTube, beginning with Getting to Know the Game.
Want to use chess for an integrated lesson, where students design their own chess pieces and/or boards? This is a great lesson plan from Scopes-DF.
If you aren’t convinced of the educational benefits of teaching chess to young children, this article may help you to learn more!