Like most Americans we have been social distancing and it’s been a few weeks now. My kids are busy with school assignments and this keeps them busy but there’s also a lot of downtime. I would like for them to use what I hope is a once-in-a-lifetime event to learn new skills but I don’t want something that will take up too much time and interfere with schoolwork. Story Time Chess is the perfect activity to get kids to play chess no matter what level they are.
Story Time Chess is a game that caters to all levels and all ages: from the chess-obsessed to those who will not even try to play it because it seems intimidating. The game has two versions: the classic version, on one side of the board, is a regular chess game and includes the checkered board and all the classic chess pieces. The second version is an incredibly unique and inventive way of teaching kids as young as three the rules of the game in a really fun and easy way.
The enclosed booklet provides all the information you need to start playing but it’s done as a story. In the story, there are two kings and they each collect tokens: the white king collects pizza tokens and the black king collects diamond tokens. Players take cards that tell them which pieces to move on the board and how many steps to move it. For example, the card might say “move one pawn twice”. What the cards don’t tell you is how to move. In order to find out how the pieces move you have to read the story. This is when it starts to get really creative.
The booklet that’s included tells a story of each piece (king, rook, pawn, etc.) and how those pieces ended up having their own special rule for moving. For example, the pawns are children in the story and when they tried to play and tumbled up in a pile the king decided they will each get their one lane on the checkered lawn. They decided to only move forward one space so that they wouldn’t get tumbled up in a pile again. So now we know how the pawns move.
Throughout the game you keep taking cards and moving and collecting tokens (pizza or diamond). For each card that you complete you get a token and whoever gets five tokens first wins the game.
This game is more about luck and less about strategy and it’s a perfect way to teach kids the rules of how to move the pieces and get them used to it as the stories help them remember why they move a certain way. Once kids are comfortable with the pieces then they can apply some strategy to the game it. Once they get better they can flip the board and play the classic chess game.
My boys tried both versions. My first grader is pretty new to chess so for him reading about the rules in the story was very helpful as it helped him remember how the pieces move. They had a lot of fun playing the Storytime version. After getting used to it for a couple of days they flipped the board over and played the classic version while still referring to the book to remember the rules.
I loved the inventiveness of the stories to help kids remember the chess rules. I also loved the option to play the classic game for kids and adults who are already familiar with the rules – so it’s really two games in one. I also love that the chess pieces are bigger so they can’t get lost easily. I don’t know how much longer we will be social distancing but for now I’m glad my kids can learn new skills while playing a classic game that’s also mentally challenging for them.
Click here to order Story Time Chess. Price is $49.99. Use discount code CHESSLANDIA for a 10% discount until April 30th.
I was not compensated for this post. I received a sample.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is a freelance writer and has written for several blogs, including The Huffington Post. She has been living in the New York City area for nineteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids, ages 13, 11 and 7.