Classroom Tips

How to teach chess to kids | Chess set for kids & lesson plan

Chess grew in popularity by leaps and bounds during the pandemic. Because of a combination of the time spent at home, yearn for educational games, and release of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, The Gamer reports that members on the gaming platform increased by 27 million in 2020 and another 20 million in 2021. Likewise, chess board sales increased by 87% and chess books grew by 603%.

Therefore, it is no surprise that parents are becoming much more interested in signing their children up for chess classes. In fact, there was a 300% increase in membership on, a platform that helps kids learn chess. Sawyer’s Annual Trend Report also noted chess as being one of the most searched for activities on the Sawyer Marketplace for the first two quarters of 2021. 

If you are a chess pro thinking about starting a children’s activity business to teach kids chess, you will likely find a lot of demand. One of the best parts about teaching chess to kids is that you can run classes in-person and online, which is a great way to capture that large audience. 

Whether you are face-to-face or over Zoom, the most important part is creating lessons that set children up for success. In this guide, we’ll outline how to teach chess to kids, including a chess lesson plan template that you can utilize, as well as some of our favorite chess sets for kids.

How to teach chess to kids

Chess experts often say that chess is an easy game to learn, but a hard game to master. While the rules are fairly simple, the problem solving and forward thinking needed can make it somewhat difficult for children. With these tools and tips though, you should be able to teach chess to kids in no time.

Keep it simple

You might be thinking: chess has so many rules, how can I teach chess to a 5 year old or even a 10 year old child? The best tip is to start by simplifying the rules of the game. You can go through the rules with your students and then let them decide which ones to keep to start. Or, you can use a tool like Family Fun Chess to help. Printing out cards with the pieces and where they can move is also a helpful addition when teaching children to play chess.

Don’t play whole games

Children can get frustrated easily, especially when the games are long and they feel the rules are confusing. Therefore, experts recommend starting with small games that go through the rules in a more exciting and fun way. This will get your students more familiar with how pieces move so that they can take that knowledge and put it to good use when they get a bit better. Check out Chess Wizards for some chess mini games that you can include in your lessons.

Photo of how to teach chess to kids

Make it fun

In order to keep your students interested, they have to be having fun. Playing games enhances classroom learning and keeps the mood light while your students practice their techniques. Likewise, you can let the children in your classes tell stories with the pieces, act out battles, and even name each one to make it more interesting for them. 

Give individualized attention and help

If you are teaching 1-on-1 chess classes, once your student has learned the rules, they should spend time playing against you. Make sure you play down to their level and provide them with tips and helpful tricks along the way. Think of it as narration: Explain what and why you are making each move. Then, ask them to do the same thing so you can understand their thought process. If you are teaching small group classes, make sure you circulate and give each student the attention that they need.

Chess lesson plan

Success in the classroom comes down to an organized and well thought out lesson plan. Adapt this template for your own use and for more support, use our guide to learn how to write a lesson plan.

1. Lesson objective(s)

Starting with an action-oriented and measurable lesson objective is an important first step. Once you are able to determine what the goal of your lesson is, then you can begin to create the assets. 

Lesson objective examples

  • Get an understanding of all of the chess move rules
  • Play a full game of chess from start to finish
  • Determine a new opening sequence

2. Materials needed

What materials or supplies are needed to teach this lesson? Will you need more than one chess board, flash cards with rules, or another type of item? Writing down the necessary materials helps keep you organized.

Photo of chess lesson plan

3. Lesson activities

This section is where you will actually plan your lesson. What will you be doing during the session so that the lesson objective is met? Go through the activities step-by-step to stay on track.

Here are some examples of lesson activities:

  • Play two, 5 minute rounds of pawntastic.
  • Go through the rule flashcards and test one another.
  • Come up with a fun mnemonic to remember the movement rules.
  • Play a game of chess with a partner. Write down your moves along the way.

4. Timing

Adding time estimates for each activity is a great way to make sure you have scheduled enough activities for the time allotted for your class. You can err on the side of caution by adding a bonus activity to the end of your lesson plan, which can be done if time allows but is not necessary for achieving the learning objectives.

5. Assessment and evaluation

Assessment refers to your students: were they able to complete the lesson objective? Since you are teaching extracurricular classes, we’d recommend nontraditional types of assessments rather than tests or quizzes. Instead, watch your students play chess and see how they do. Then, you can evaluate your teaching. Did they struggle with specific activities? What could have been improved? This will help you understand what needs to be covered again and how you can do better next time.

Get your editable chess lesson plan template

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Chess sets for kids

If you are looking for fun and durable chess sets for kids, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite chess sets for kids that will make your classes more exciting for your students.

  1. Magnetic wooden chess set
  2. LEGO chess set
  3. Basketball chess set
  4. Lord of the Rings chess set
  5. Super Mario chess set
Photo of chess sets for kids

Teaching chess to kids is a great way to share your passion for the game while growing your business. If you are looking for guidance on managing and running your children’s education and activity business, the team at Sawyer is here to help. 

With our suite of tools, like custom forms to record allergies and t-shirt sizes, flexible payment options like gift cards and installment plans, and seamless scheduling and registration on any device, Sawyer saves business owners 28 hours per month. If you are ready to spend less time on admin and more time doing what you love, see how Sawyer can help with a free trial or demo

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