While there exist tons of benefits of chess for children, there are 5 major aspects to this ancient strategy game that can truly help enhance a wide variety of integral skills in young people. Chess sharpens the mind in a myriad of ways, regardless of the age of the players. For children however, many of these benefits can make a huge impact during childhood, and with regular play, the lasting impressions can reverberate throughout their adulthood.
Whether your child is looking for a new after school activity or you’re just interested in learning more about the ways that chess can help with your child’s mental and social development, here’s what you should know about the learning potential chess can provide.
5 Benefits of Playing Chess for Kids
Like we mentioned, the benefits of playing chess aren’t necessarily based on age, but that being said, they’re often especially useful for children who may struggle in areas like focusing or logical reasoning. With that in mind, here are five of the biggest benefits that chess offers for young players.
1. It improves math and reading skills
A ton of problem solving goes into playing chess. And, the cognitive processes involved in the game are quite similar to the cognitive processes used in math and reading comprehension, such as analytical reasoning, decoding, and critical thinking. So while chess might seem unrelated to reading a book or solving a math problem, the benefits of playing extend into these areas and can offer improvements a child might not pick up in standard lessons.
2. It improves focusing ability
Children often have a very hard time focusing—and for good reason. The developing brain struggles with attention span and spatial reasoning, and isn’t ideally suited for things like complicated instructions and long days in the classroom. By requiring intense focus and concentration however, chess helps strengthen these skills and allows children to practice staying on task.
3. It helps develop complex thought
Complex thinking depends on the ability to draw connections between different (and sometimes disparate) things, and this can be quite tough for young kids. Chess is a fantastic opportunity to practice complex thinking and to see the results of these connections in real time, with forethought turning into very real and easily identifiable outcomes.
4. It boosts creativity
Kids are inherently imaginative and creative, but they may not always know how to express it in productive ways. Because it requires original ideas and an exploration of various possibilities, chess works to improve creativity and help kids harness it for good.
5. It encourages hard work
There’s no denying that chess is hard work. And for a kid who’s invested in the outcome of a game, that means learning to see the difficult task ahead and put in the work to achieve it. That’s a skill that many children don’t have a lot of incentive to learn elsewhere, and one that extends into many other areas of their life.
What is the Best Age to Learn Chess?
Most chess experts agree that ages 7 or 8 provide the ideal starting point for a child, since by this age they usually have some of the very basic skills in place needed for the game. However, many kids do start learning the game younger, and while they might not be able to play at challenging levels, they’re still picking up plenty of benefits along the way.
Is your child interested in learning chess? Check out our amazing AI chess board for kids, which allows for regular instruction and connective gameplay with friends and family all over the globe. We also offer a variety of other innovative chess products that players of all ages can use to learn—and excel—at this beneficial game.