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by Early Math Counts

When we began playing checkers with the boys they were only really interested when they got to yell, “King Me!”  Otherwise, they never got too excited about Checkers, Chinese Checkers, or Chess.  I don’t know if this was because Checkers and Chess are played with only 2 players (and I would sometimes suggest that they play together – G-d forbid!) and Chinese Checkers frustrated them because one small bump of the board sent all of the marbles askew.

I think that Checkers is a great game for young children.  There is really only one move (diagonal) and there is really only one goal (to capture your opponent’s pieces).  The complexity is in seeing the upcoming moves and staying one step ahead of your opponent.

A traditional board (also called “Draughts”) is made up of 10 X 10 squares.  One player has light checkers and the other has dark checkers.  Players take turns moving their checkers around the board trying to find an opponent’s checker that can be captured.  If you are so lucky that you move one of your checkers to the other side of the board, you get to yell, “King Me!” and your opponent has to give one of your checkers back by piling it on top of that checker (Get it?  It is like a crown on top of a king.)

Ancient Checkers


I don’t really think that very young children can play a full game of checkers.  It is long and tedious.  I have no doubt, however, that if you introduce checkers and boards into your math center, the children will create their own games with the pieces.  They may even be more interesting than this ancient game that has been played for hundreds of years around the globe.

3 Replies to “Checkers”

  1. I played checkers as a child it was a good game to play with my siblings because that was one of not many games we had. My son likes to play if he wins but if he is not winning forget it.

    1. For many children, winning is the point of the activity. We had family friends when the boys were small and their son ALWAYS had to be first at everything. He would ride his bike ahead of the group, walk in front of everyone, and suffered terribly if he didn\’t win at any game we played. Part of this is egocentrism – part of this is temperament. Learning to be a gracious loser and a humble winner is a lifelong task for many people.

  2. Me and my family always played checkers and all of us enjoyed it. As for my boys they love to play chess and my youngest son is very good at the game of chess. My youngest son is fighting many disabilities so it really surprise me to know that he is good a chess.

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