top of page

Play-based learning idea: Chess

Sometime last year, we talked about how you can incorporate Scrabble as a play-based learning idea for your children. Incase you missed it, here’s a link to the article.


This time, we want to look at the game of Chess.  

Chess is a turn-based strategy board game, played between two players that simulates a war between two kingdoms.

Did you know that the chess game is a STEM activity? Yes! STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and the game chess cuts across these disciplines in a fun and engaging way. 

Before diving in, let us look at an overview of the board game. 

The chessboard is an 8x8 grid made up of alternating dark and light squares, creating a checkered pattern. It's often referred to as a "playing field". On this playing field, each player commands a set of 16 pieces, divided into two colours: white and black.


play-based learning: chessboard

Here's a brief overview of the pieces: 

  • King: The king is the most important piece on the board. The king's objective is to avoid capture at all costs and can only move one square in any direction: horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. 

  • Queen: The most powerful piece on the board, the queen combines the abilities of the rook and bishop. It can move any number of squares in a straight line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. 

  • Rook: Also known as a castle, the rook can move any number of squares horizontally or vertically but cannot jump over other pieces. 

  • Bishop: The bishop can move any number of squares diagonally, but like the rook, it cannot jump over other pieces. 

  • Knight: The knight moves in an L-shape, consisting of two squares in one direction and then one square perpendicular to that direction. It is the only piece that can jump over other pieces on the board. 

  • Pawn: Pawns are the smallest and most numerous pieces on the board. They move forward one square at a time, but on their initial move, they have the option to move forward two squares. Pawns capture diagonally, one square forward and to the left or right.

As players manoeuvre their pieces across the chessboard, they must anticipate their opponent's moves, plan their strategies, and adapt to changing circumstances — a process that makes chess not only a game of skill but also a fascinating exercise in strategy, foresight, and creativity. 

Just as we said earlier, involving your child in the game of chess as a play-based learning activity can help develop your child in many ways. A few of them are:

Cognitive Development

Just like Scrabble, chess challenges children to think critically, analyse situations, and make informed decisions. By navigating the intricate complexities of the game board and planning their moves strategically, children exercise their cognitive faculties and enhance their problem-solving abilities. 

Critical thinking skills

Chess requires players to anticipate their opponent's moves, come up with effective strategies, and adapt to changing circumstances. This process strengthens critical thinking skills. As you involve your children in the game of chess more, you can help them develop their ability to evaluate options, weigh alternatives, and make sound judgements. 

Memory improvement

Chess involves memorizing patterns, strategies, and previous games, which can enhance children's memory retention and recall abilities.

Other ways include concentration and focus, patience and persistence and social interaction. 

Children can start learning how to play chess as early as 5 years old. However, it is never too late to start learning.

If you need more ideas on how to execute play-based learning activities, get in touch and we would be happy to help.


bottom of page