Nov 27, 2013

Chess is Child's Play - Book Review

I am so, so, SO excited to share this book with you!

I learned how to play chess at an early age, and I wanted to pass that along to my daughter. Since we've been learning about English kings and queens (who also played chess) in our Classical Conversations memory work this year, I thought this would be the perfect time to give it a go. 

Over the summer, I bought a chess set and kids' book from Hobby Lobby. The book was too cartoony and didn't give me good instructions for teaching Mary exactly what to do (I like scripted stuff). Just because I know how to play chess, doesn't mean I know how to teach it to my five-year-old! What to do?

Then I ran across this book:

Chess is Child's Play: Teaching Techniques That Work

Oh. my. goodness! Hallelujah chorus to the nines, y'all!

I contacted the author, Laura Sherman, and she quickly sent me over a copy of her book to try it out and review. Here's what she says about it on her blog:

Chess is Child's Play: Teaching Techniques That Work
teaches parents how to teach any child, of any age, to play chess. This is a personal passion project. I feel strongly that if we can teach our next generation chess, they will receive needed life skills. From personal experience and extensive research I have learned that chess helps children improve their problem solving skills, increase their self-confidence and focus, become more patient, and do better in school.
I learned to play chess when I was nine years old. Soon after I began playing tournament chess and became one of the top 50 US women players. Throughout my life chess has been a theme and an inspiration.
My husband and I have taught hundreds of children to play chess over the last few years. We have fine-tuned our techniques, creating a system that others can follow, even if they have never seen a chess board before.
I've been using this book with Mary for over a month now, and let me tell you, IT WORKS for us! Seriously, I am SO excited about this book! As I mentioned earlier, I like scripted stuff (I got spoiled using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons - love that book, by the way), and Chess is Child's Play: Teaching Techniques That Work is the perfect book for me to use with my kindergartner! Take a look:

And I love that the authors are EXPERIENCED. Their techniques work because they know children and have been teaching chess for years. Check out Laura's children in this video. Her five-year-old is reviewing the names of the pieces with her two-year-old:

How cute are they! Yes, two-year-olds can begin to learn chess! Check out the Table of Contents. You'll see a chapter of lesson plans for younger students, ages two to four (click on the pictures to enlarge):

Each piece is introduced in it's own chapter, beginning with the rook. After the child understands how the piece moves (from the step-by-step instructions which are practically scripted - LOVE!), a 'mini-game' is played.

These mini-games build confidence and get the kids playing.

The lessons in Chess is Child's Play: Teaching Techniques That Work are meant to be quick and enjoyable. It's a game, after all, and games are supposed to be fun family time! 

Chess, however, is a different kind of game. It's a game with rich history and rich benefits. I'm sure you've heard of the many benefits of playing chess at an early age, such as patience, discipline, etc. Studies show it boosts test scores, too! Click here for a look at more benefits of teaching your child chess.

During this Christmas break, I'm going to finish teaching Mary to play (we're almost halfway through the book). I'm going to make some hot apple cider, sit at the dinner table, and enjoy spending time with my daughter as I go through this awesome book. If you've been wanting to teach your child chess, I highly recommend Chess is Child's Play: Teaching Techniques That Work. I know that I'm practically gushing about this book, but I'm just so thrilled to have found something that is working for us! It's been so much fun spending this special time with Mary as we learn chess, and I'd just love for you to have the same experience with your children if you're interested!

I'm sure you've noticed the candy cane borders on the pictures and the ornament and gift overlays. Yes, I've become a picmonkey junkie (sad, I know), but, these holiday effects are also meant to get you in the mood for our big event:

Chess is Child's Play: Teaching Techniques That Work will be featured as a giveaway prize in my upcoming blog event My Favorite Things: A Merry Christmas Giveaway! This only makes sense since this book really is one of my favorite things! I hope you'll check back each day in December for a chance to win one of the awesome prizes!

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As mentioned in the post, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I love, love, love this book and would have bought it if I weren't given a copy. It's just awesome, and that's my honest-to-goodness opinion. This post also contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support, and have a happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I've been wanting to learn to play chess along with my children. Do you think this book would work for me, if I don't already know how to play myself?

  2. Yes it will, Christina! It's written for the adult beginner OR the adult master to teach their children. You can learn right alongside your kids! :)

  3. Melody, thank you so much for your kind words about this book! I really appreciate you.

    Christina, we really wrote this with YOU in mind. I know a lot of parents want to teach their children chess, but don't know how to play. You don't need any prior knowledge to pick this book up and teach your young child to play. You will learn the game, too, just as Melody pointed out.

  4. I purchased this book and both my children and I and excited to get started! Thanks!
    I love everything about your blog!

    1. Thanks so much for the sweet comment! We love this book; I'm anxious to hear how your family likes it! Please keep me posted on the lessons! God bless you, friend! :)


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