How to Teach Kids to Play Chess

Have your kids or grandkids been wanting to learn the game of chess? Have you been wondering how to teach kids to play chess, but you’re not sure where to start?

In this post I’m sharing our family’s journey with chess – starting with those early days when our older kids first started learning the game.


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Child's Hand on Chess Board - Moving Chess Piece

I’ll never forget sitting down with my oldest son and trying to begin teaching him how to play chess.

We were learning together, because I had never played!

I simply had a feeling he would love the game, and I was determined to teach him.

Honestly, I’m more of a checkers girl, and I never turn down a game of Uno!

Chess was going to be a bit of a stretch for me, but I really wanted to introduce him to the game.

Chess Books for Kids

We started with some great teaching books!

We had these Chess Books from Usborne Books that I thought would be perfect for both of us as we got started.

They’re perfect for learning the names of the different pieces, how the pieces move, and tactics for how to play the game.

After just a few pages, my son took off and his love for the game has only grown since!

It wasn’t long before his younger brother joined him in the game…

…and they both very quickly left me in the dust.

I’m back to my favorite board game, checkers (and playing Uno, of course), while truly enjoying watching them have this shared interest.

In addition to these books from Usborne, my boys discovered a few other great books they also really loved.

Stack of Chess Books for Kids

My younger son came across this book at a bookstore and the title drew him in right away!

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess is all about teaching you how to beat a stronger opponent, and my husband will tell you, this book works! ha!

Here are some other great chess books for kids:

Ideas for Finding Great Books:

  • Shop used chess books on Thrift Books.
  • Discover what non-fiction as well as fiction chess-themed books you can request from your library system.

Online Chess Classes

Have you ever heard of Outschool?

It’s an online learning hub, and it has been another fantastic option for our family!

My kids have tried a variety of different online classes available on this learning platform: music, chess, art, creative writing, etc.

While I do encourage families to choose their teachers on Outschool wisely, there are some amazing instructors on there as well!

For chess instruction, CarreiraChess can’t be beat.

As you can see from the reviews, many parents agree that he is a fantastic chess instructor for young kids as well as older kids.

My kids have loved his chess lessons.

If you want to give Outschool a try, here’s a link that gives you $20 toward your first classes! It also gives me $20, so if you sign up – THANK YOU!

Chess Websites

The content available on some of these websites allows students to learn from some of the world’s greatest players!

I love the global perspective this had provided them as some of their favorite chess experts live outside of the United States.

Chess Camp

We use the summer months as an opportunity to attend high-interest camps that will provide our kids with opportunities that extend beyond our regular homeschooling curriculum.

That first summer after the kids started playing chess, they were over the moon about attending a local chess camp!

Check your local area to see if something like this is an option where you live.

Child's Hand on Chess Board - Moving Chess Piece

Chess Play at the Library

A free opportunity we’ve taken advantage of is playing chess at our local library branches.

This has been a fun way for my kids to grow as chess players!

Local Chess Center

Do you have a local chess center? We have a couple of these in our area!

This can be a great option for taking classes, engaging with players of differing levels, etc.

Or maybe your child’s school offers a chess club?

These interactions are a great way to not only build chess skills, but math skills, problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, decision-making skills, and social skills – so many skills they can apply to different aspects of their life.

Shop Chess Boards and Timers

Don’t worry! Your child’s chess journey doesn’t have to begin with a custom chess set.

They can get started with very simple resources available just about anywhere.

Gift Ideas

Many of the things mentioned in this post have made for the perfect gifts for our kids: books and resources, online classes, website memberships, summer camps, chess center access, etc.

Even the grandparents have joined in to gift these things to our kids over the last few years, and that has been lots of fun.

Clutter-free gift ideas that teach – Yes!

Homeschooling Resources Just for You

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