Teach Your Toddler The Chessboard

Teach Your Toddler the Chessboard

Download PDF Files – Teach Your Toddler to Play ChessTeach Your Toddler to Play Chess – Part 4 – Teach Your Toddler The Chessboard

This article is to show you how to teach your toddler the chessboard. It is Part 4 of our free course “Teach Your Toddler to Play Chess”. The course teaches children as young as 2 years of age how to play the game of chess.

Here the article is written by National Master Stephen Colding, or Mr. C as he is known by his students. Master Colding has over 50 years of experience teaching chess to children and now for the first time he is bringing to you the proven method that he has used to teach tens of thousands of youngsters how to play the game of chess.

If you would like to catch up on the previous articles the links will be below:

  1.  The article – How to Teach Your Toddler Chess – Part 1 – Introduction
  2. This article – How to Teach Your Toddler Chess – Part 2 – Setting Up a Learning Environment
  3.  and this article-  How to Teach Your Toddler Chess – Part 3 – Setting Goals and the Stuff You Need.

The PDF files for this article can be downloaded here.

Chess course videos can be accessed here.

Teach your toddler the chessboard – Goals

It is best when teaching the very young to never assume that they know anything.  This does 2 things: shows us the skills they have and the skills that they don’t have. The goals of this lesson  are to test the child’s proficiency in:

  1. Language 
  2. Shapes
  3. Colors
  4. Counting
  5. & Patterns

We will introduce to our children:

  1. Good Language
  2. Shapes and Colors
  3. Counting
  4. Introduce Patterns
  5. Our Points System

Giving praise to our children is a necessary part of the process to build their self-esteem whenever they conquer a milestone. Don’t be stingy!

The Points System

It is of tremendous value to set up a points system as an incentive for our students. It gives them the motivation to get to the next level. Included in our PDF file are our point tokens that you can print out here. You can use these or come up with your own. It is also great to tell the child that if they reach a certain point level they will be rewarded. Please don’t make the reward elaborate, make it small, children just like the challenge. 

A motivated child will make your task much easier and it will be more enjoyable for both your child and you.

Patience is Needed.

Always remember that you are dealing with little ones. You cannot force them to learn on your timetable. They will learn only on their terms. Your choice is whether or not you are going to make it fun for you both. Teaching your toddler the chessboard will be very rewarding only if it is not a chore for you and your child. Keep it light and if they are not getting something don’t make it a big thing because it’s not!

The Chess-board – Shapes and Colors

This is the section for very young children. They may not be totally familiar with shapes and colors. Older children should speed through this section with little trouble. It is good to go through it to build self-esteem and make sure that there are no problems in this area.

The Idea: 

A square is just a little box that is colored light or dark. The squares are colored light and dark so we can tell them apart.

The colors game: 

Cut up several colored pieces of paper. Set your child down and ask them to tell you which color is which. When they have achieved this give them points and give them praise.

Take 2 pieces of colored paper and ask them which one is lighter than the other. Try this several times, when they have achieved this give them points and give them praise.

Color the Chessboard:

Get the PDF file Coloring Chess-Board which can be accessed here.  Make copies on your printer. Take out 2 colored crayons and ask the child to color the chess-board paying close attention as to whether they follow the pattern correctly. If they get it wrong keep giving them new chessboards until they achieve the desired result. When they have accomplished this give them points and give them praise.

The Shapes Game:

Take out the Shapes PDF file. If you do not have it it can be downloaded here. Print out a copy of the file and cut out the shapes. Ask your child to identify the shapes, when they have succeeded give them points and give them praise.

Teach your Toddler he Chess-board – Lines

The goal of this lesson is to introduce the concept of lines on the chessboard. There are 2 types of lines on the chessboard they are straight and diagonal lines. The chess pieces, like Dorothy on the yellow brick road, follow different types of lines depending on how they move.

What is a line?

The following poem will describe to the child what a line actually is. It will express that a line is just a row of squares linked in a certain direction.

A line is just a row of squares, a road that leads us here to there.

Tell your student that the lines are roads that lead all around the world of the chessboard. Once we explain to the child that a line is a row of squares, we now have to explain the directions that the lines take and the different types of lines on the chessboard.

The following poems will express the different types of lines there are and how they move.

On the chessboard, you will find straight and diagonal lines.

Straight Lines:

Up or down and side to side that is how straight lines do ride.

Diagonal Lines:

A diagonal is a slanty line that rides one color at a time.

Color to color, tip to tip, that is how diagonals sit.

The line Game:

Pull out the chessboard. Go to Squares PDF it can be accessed here. Cut out the individual squares. Give the child the squares. Have them take the squares and set them in a straight line going up, and then in a straight line going down. Have them then try it sided t side when they have accomplished this give them points and give them praise. Repeat, except now have the child line the squares up diagonally and down diagonally. If they have a problem have them do it while repeating the poem color to color tip to tip that is how diagonals sit. When they accomplish the task give them points and give them praise.


When following this method systematically and with a nurturing spirit your student will now have firm control over the lines of the chessboard. It is well worth it to spend the extra time to have no doubts about the child’s proficiency. Slow and steady is the buzzword here. If the child does not have the skills it will definitely show up later.

 On behalf of the Chess for Children family and myself, thank you. I hope your child and you had as much fun working through this lesson as I had in making it. I hope to see you all next time for our next lesson : 

Next Lesson: The Pawns

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