How To Teach Chess To A 6-year-old

how to teach chess

Are you planning to teach your kids chess?  

Teaching kids chess can be daunting, especially if we cannot give our full time to our children. The most common problem is that their children are not interested in playing chess or their children get bored quickly.  

Some parents will enroll their children for chess training and even hire a coach for their child, but for some parents, they cannot afford to do that…   Some parents like me, who want to teach their children to learn the basics and advanced strategies of chess we try to do whatever it takes and give all our best even if we are not a chess expert or even a trained chess coach.  

For my 6-year-old daughter, I teach her chess with the resources available, and I try to make learning chess fun for her. Also at the same time, I am learning to improve my chess strategies as well. 🙂  

If you want to teach your kids chess and you want to have an idea of how you can make them feel excited to learn chess.  

I created a list below where I believe can help you make your kids feel excited and have more fun learning chess.

How can parents teach chess to a 6-year-old?

Don’t forget to check out this article:
Win chess games by using some of this ideas here!

1. Tell a bit of chess history

The history of chess is not easy to summarize for kids, but all you need to do is give them a bit of chess history.

When they come to understand or play chess well, they should somehow learn how chess began.   If you don’t have an idea about chess history, you can go to Google and search some articles to read or go to Youtube to find a fascinating chess history which you can share and watch with your kid.  

It’s a good idea that you should learn history first yourself then teach your daughter just the most significant part of chess history.

Also read: 13 Valuable History Of Chess You Should Know

2. Practice board set up with stories

Chess board set up can be taught in just 5 or 10 minutes…   Teach your kids how to set up board by using stories, the first thing I did to encourage my daughter to listen and see how I set up a chess board is by telling her some story that can be related to the chess pieces.  

For example, I told her a simple story about two castles having a King and Queen, and both castles have foot soldiers- and they are about to engage in a castle war.  

Something like that, where I play with her imagination, and it does catch her attention.   Just minutes, she was able to set up the chessboard by herself. You try it with your Kids! 🙂

3. Practice checkmate

Setup checkmate patterns for your kids to practice with.   Choose at least three checkmate setup example that you can teach your daughter.   Start with one move mate and then two moves mate and then the last one give at least a five moves mate setup. Let your child think of the possible answers – only show the answer when they ask.  

I do this with my daughter at least once or twice a week. It’s a good practice for both of us. 🙂

Also, you may want to read an interesting article about “how to think when playing chess

4. Practice the chess moves with your kids by building excitement

This may take, 1 or 3 days depending on own your time and if your kids are not busy with other activities.   The first thing I did when I introduced the chess moves to my daughter is when I arrive from office and saw her playing with the chessboard; I immediately ask her if she wants to learn how the Queen moves…  

Then…  

I told her that the Queen is a powerful chess piece in the board when your kids get excited they absorb every information you tell them and that is the best time to teach them more of the chess moves.  

When they do get bored, take it slow and then just let them play by their own for a while.   We cannot force them to learn; otherwise, they will feel it’s too boring and not interesting anymore.

Just be careful and be exciting when trying to teach the chess moves to your kids.

5. Watch interesting kids chess films

Kids love watching movies, cartoons especially…   With six years old, they would love to watch something that can relate to real life.

When I started teaching my daughter chess, she wasn’t that interested at first but then when I just started showing her trailers of movies related to chess that’s when she got excited to learn.  

I just searched for chess movies, and we watched the trailers first when she liked the trailer (she jumps and gets excited when she saw a chessboard in a movie…lol) we go ahead and watched it.  

I noticed after watching a chess movie, she gets her chessboard and starts playing on her own or even asked anyone of us to come and play with her.  

Watching exciting chess movies can ignite your daughter’s interests in learning chess game. Try it!

6. Don’t miss playing chess with your kids often

When you want your children to learn chess, there are times you need to sacrifice some of your minor activities to play chess with them.   Once your child developed an interest in playing chess, they will be the one to ask you to play with them. You should not miss that opportunity. Otherwise, they will get discouraged and feel they are being ignored and ultimately lose interest.  

If at times you cannot avoid being too busy to play chess with your kids, then ask somebody else to play with your child.  

And try to come and check out their game and be a guide, this will encourage your child and will be very interested to learn more.

7. Register with an online chess gameplay

Sometimes when we as parents are busy doing other activities, and your kids want you to play chess with them – we say that we are too busy or wait for a few minutes till your child is not interested anymore…   It’s not a good idea not to give your child the chance to play chess with you at that time, so what I did is I registered for several online chess games for kids and choose the best one.  

Whenever she wants to play, and we need to do something else, we can still let her play online, and your kid can always call you if they need help with some moves.  

You still need to watch what your kids are doing online, and it’s best if you can always guide them every game.   I register my daughter in chesskids.com although the platform is user-friendly, the plays are not that much helpful (I haven’t go through chesskids.com that much…) for a learning kid.

8. Buy them chess related gifts

We want to encourage our kids to learn chess; we need to buy them gifts related to chess.   Kids want to have fun always (we know that already), and chess can be fun for kids (some kids don’t know that yet). You need to buy chess related gifts, doesn’t need to be chess boards or chess books. I purchased a chess clock and gave it to my daughter; the purpose is to provide a different perspective on chess.  

When I bought the chess clock, my daughter started asking me about it and was interested in using it.   And just like that, I got my daughter interested and her attention…  

I just told her that we need to play chess and use the chess clock as a timer, and I even told her the features of the chess clock and let her tinker with it for a while.  

Afterward, she is the one asking me to play chess with the clock!:)   It doesn’t have to be a chess clock; you can buy something that you know can be interesting to your kids (as long as it can be related to chess).

9. Let them play other games or toys

Just let them play other games they want…   You can’t just force teaching chess to your kids all the time; they will get bored, annoyed or even lose interest if you keep on giving chess lectures. Let your kids play with other toys; they are just kids after all. I wouldn’t want to deprive them of playing different games besides chess.  

If you feel that your kids are going to lose interest from chess once they do other activities, watch a chess movie (read tip number 4) that is interesting and gives them more inspiration to play chess.  

Whenever I let my daughter play with her other toys, she sometimes is the first one to ask me to play chess with her after she is done playing with her other toys

10. Don’t give them a comfortable win

When I started teaching my daughter chess, I let her win an easy game most of the time…   My purpose was to keep her interests going by letting her win, but what I think is happening was that she is no longer thinking of her strategy to win the game.  

I was just giving her tips and an easy game to win.   When I started playing a bit serious and not giving her any tips or ideas, she began to complain at first, and I told her that she needs to think of her strategy to beat me.

Allow your kids to build their strategy in chess without expecting any tips from you and letting them win an easy game. It’s essential for them to experience losing a game and learn how to bounce back from it.

You may also be interested in learning more about “how to improve your chess ratings

11. Buy a chess book made for children

I bought my daughter a chess book for kids; I encourage her to learn more about chess by reading a chess kid-friendly book.   I purposely chose a chess book that has a lot of pictures and looks just like an ordinary children’s book. This can excite them, and they will be encouraged to scan and read the book. The best thing to do is to read the book together and go through it the first time.  

Once she understands some of the contents inside the book, then you can let your kids do it on their own.  

Then when your kids are done with the book, go through it again every other week so she will have another resource to rely on whenever we are busy as parents.

12. Buy a portable chess board for your kids

Your kids do need a chess board that is portable and is suitable for traveling; I found the best type of chess board is a magnetic chess board.  

But…  

It depends on your kid’s interests, a magnetic chess board works perfectly for my daughter, she can carry it with her, and she can just put up a challenge to any of her uncles or cousins. 🙂  

Another good thing about having a portable chess board is for traveling.   This way she can still gain some valuable chess playing time even if we are going to different places.

You don’t need to buy an expensive portable chess board; just buy your kids something small and easy to carry during your travel.

13. Teach them the chess pieces points

When my daughter and I first started playing chess, I told her immediately that the chess pieces have different points.   I told her that to give her an idea which chess pieces to exchange or not to trade. It’s essential to first say to your kids that the chess pieces are not of equal value.

They will develop a particular understanding of what chess pieces they should be protecting and which chess pieces can be captured.   The only downside I saw with my daughter the first time I told her the chess pieces points or value was that she was more into adding the points she has captured and does not pay attention to the strategies.  

Make your kids understand the points as well as the strategy they need to play. 🙂

14. Teach your kids the three special chess moves in a fun way

There are special chess moves that you can teach your kids in a fun way.   The easiest way to teach them this special moves is to tell stories…   Here are the three special chess moves that you need to teach your kids:

  • Castling
  • Queening
  • En Passant

Here are the stories I told my daughter so she can absorb or learn the special chess moves:  

Castling, I said to my daughter that when the King is in danger, the Rook will come to protect the King. And they do this particular move in the Kingside called castling.

Which you can also do in the Queenside, commonly called long side castling or Queenside Castling.  

Queening, we saw the movie Queen of Katwe, and there was a scene in that movie where Phiona (the main character) was being taught for the first time by a little girl about the Queening.

The little girl then said that she likes chess because the small can be significant. 🙂 I also told my daughter a story that pawns are small soldiers that when they reach the enemies territory, they can be promoted to a powerful chess piece like the Queen.  

En Passant, this is one was difficult…lol! I just told my daughter that pawns could capture opponent’s pawn in two different ways, the routine capture of one square diagonally forward and the one where the opponent’s pawn landed right next to her opponent from the starting square.  

We practice a few times and kids are brilliant they can easily pick it up especially if they are interested and you tell the story to teach.

Check out our chess recommendations here.

Wrapping Up

It’s fun teaching your kids how to play chess; it’s both fulfilling and exciting to see your kids learn from you.  

You can always send them to a chess training school of course and teach them at the same time when you are free. If you prefer teaching them yourself, then you can go through the lists above.  

The lists above are how I encourage my daughter to learn chess and make chess more fun and just let kids be kids.   I repeatedly said that we could not force kids to learn chess, even though we know that learning how to play chess can improve their strategic thinking and will in some way learn how to make plans and decisions both in chess games and in real life.  

So make it fun for them, if they see playing chess is both fun and exciting – they will learn fast and will be more excited to play chess with you.  

You don’t need to follow the described lists all at the same time, pick the one you can do today and implement it on teaching your kids about chess.   Have fun learning and teaching your kids chess!

Gary Flores

Hi there! I'm a dad with kids who loves to learn how to play chess by learning online - also, this is my way of refreshing my knowledge about this game of tactics & strategy. I created chessdelights.com to inspire people who are also learning, re-learning or teaching their kids the game of chess.

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