Chess is often regarded as the game that is most commonly associated with intelligence and strategy. That’s why the game of chess is loved all over the world. We also have global chess competitions for different ages.
But have you ever thought of using chess as a way to boost the development of your child’s brain? Let’s explore some significant benefits of playing chess to children’s development, and some ways to encourage your child to play chess.
Is playing chess hard for children?
It is well-known that young children have a huge capacity for learning! In their first years of life, toddlers acquire many various skills and abilities. They are able to learn multiple languages as well as various physical competencies like walking, jumping, climbing, …
Chess is a complex game with billions of possibilities and many rules. So it might be difficult for children at the first few times, but with practice gradually, they will improve and develop many skills from playing the game.
Below are the benefits of playing chess to children, and if you save time to play with your child, you will also develop these brain skills for yourself.
Fosters logic, critical thinking, and creativity
Playing chess requires children to think and analyze a lot about “if this, then what?”. In this situation, children have to imagine all the potential moves, alternatives, and outcomes of each possibility. This flow of thinking helps them foster their logic, critical thinking, and enhance the capability of creativity.
In order to demonstrate the benefits of playing chess to children’s development. Researchers at a school in India tested the creative thinking skills of two groups of students. One group was trained in chess-playing, and the other was not.
The tests asked students to come up with alternate uses for common items and to interpret patterns and meaning in abstract forms. Students who played chess scored higher on tests. Researchers concluded that chess increased the students’ ability to exercise divergent and creative thinking.
Improves concentration and memory
According to studies done at the University of Memphis, playing chess significantly improves children’s visual memory, attention span, and spatial-reasoning ability. In order to play well, children have to sorely focus not only on their object but also memorize past moves, and reactions from the opponent. As children constantly visualize the board, its pieces, their moves, and their opponent’s every possible countermove, their power of concentration grows. As their concentration grows, it becomes easier to memorize past games and classic strategies. Perhaps that’s why the development of concentration and memory go hand in hand while playing chess.
Develops planing and problem solving skills
During the game, children need to contemplate and observe every single change on the board, in order to create certain plans for their moves, possible combinations- capture the opponent’s king. These steps require the prefrontal cortex to work because this part of the brain is devoted to planning, security, self-control, and judgment. As a result of this habit of mind — careful contemplation and planning — are two of the cognitive health benefits of playing chess to children’s development.
Besides developing planning skills, the game of chess is also a game of problem-solving. Being able to think through changing variables and formulate a plan based on various possibilities are invaluable skills necessary for the game, and more importantly, for life!
Improves Reading Skills
It sounds like reading skills is not really related since children mostly think, imagine, anticipate during the game. In fact, reading is one of the most common benefits of playing chess to children’s development.
One researcher, educational psychologist Dr. Stuart Marguilies, suggests that playing chess can help children improve their reading skills. Because the game requires them to use cognitive functions such as decoding, analysis, thinking, and comprehension which are all skills required for reading. Studies have shown that kids who play chess have higher scores on reading tests versus kids who don’t play chess.
Improve the symptoms of ADHD
One of the benefits of playing chess to children’s development that we might not think about is the benefit of reducing ADHD.
Along with physical sport, chess is an excellent exercise to lessen the severity of ADHD symptoms in children. To arrive at these results, the researchers analyzed the effect of a weekly chess session for almost three months in a group of 44 children with ADHD, aged between 6 and 17 years. After this period, the scientists found that almost half of the participants who played chess had experienced a 30% decrease in their most pressing symptoms such as impulsivity and hyperactivity.
Chess can also develop self–control and anticipatory capacity, which has a positive impact on the behavioral development of children with ADHD. With parents who have children with ADHD symptoms, chess can be included as a game at home to enjoy quality time with the family, while children with ADHD take advantage of its advantages.
Build connection with others
Unlike other online games where play can play alone, chess requires children to have a partner to play with. So by this way, children will build connections with others around them.
In a survey, people who enjoy playing chess said that they had warm, positive memories of when they learned chess as a kid. Teaching a child to play chess not only builds a healthy brain but also reinforces positive relationships.
So how to encourage children play chess?
With so many benefits of playing chess to children’s development as mentioned above. The obvious question to ask is what’s the best way to teach a child to play chess?
The first way we recommend here is playing chess in front of your child to ignite their curiosity. They love to imitate the adults in everything. So when they see their parents or elder siblings playing chess, they would definitely pay attention to the game.
The second way would be to spend some quality time with them while playing chess. Whenever you have time, invite your children to a game of chess. Children love to get attention and when you play with them, they would be more eager to learn the game to have more opportunities for interacting with you.
Another way to encourage your child to play chess is by rewarding them. You can reward them verbally or with a tiny prize like a cookie or chocolate,…When they make the right move, or implement the strategy you taught them. They would also be more willing to learn new tactics.