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Chess & Mental Health: What the Kids Are Saying!

Chess & Mental Health: What the Kids Are Saying!

Chess & Mental Health: What the Kids Are Saying!

At Story Time Learning, we’re acutely aware of the dilemma facing parents today: how to help kids excel in life without pushing them so hard it damages their mental health.

Our goal in creating board games for kids is to strike just the right balance between challenges that help children grow and story-based fun that nourishes their imaginations. But can a chess set for kids actually help their mental health and deliver life lessons they can apply outside the classroom?

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we recently sat down with some of our amazing chess kids to learn about how chess makes them feel and what effects the game has had on their mental wellness and resilience.

To kick things off, we asked the students: How does chess make you feel?

Adam (age 8): It makes me feel, like, very calm. 

Eden (age 6): Um, excited…I was a little nervous [to play in a tournament] but I was excited.

Julian (age 6): Happy…I like playing chess, the game.

Harper (age 9): It makes me feel more energetic than I actually am.

Next we wanted to know: Has chess helped you make new friends?

Harper (age 9): I think so. Once, I played at school and, um, I played against this girl I didn't know that well and it helped me, like, become closer to her.

Julian (age 6): Yes…Like, Jason, I'm teaching him how to learn chess a lot. When I was six, I teached him how to play chess when he was five—at first grade. I teached him…put your pieces close together.

We were curious about any takeaways that might benefit them outside of chess, so we asked: What has chess taught you?

Mae (age 5): Not giving up.

Elisabelle (age 6): [The character Emiko is] brave and she likes trying new things.

STL: Was there a time where you didn't give up in real life and you thought, oh, chess has helped me do that?
Eden (age 6): When I was first learning how to do the monkey bars. 
STL: And do you think chess helped you keep going even though it was hard? 
Eden: Yeah. 

Harper (age 9): It helps to remind me [sports are] just about having fun. 

Adam (age 8): And also things can always get worse. 
STL: What do you mean? 
Adam: Oh, one time, somebody…King Shaky said…at least it can't get any worse. And then, and then a rook nearly collapsed on him. 
STL: So is that something you learned, that things can always get worse? 
Adam: Yeah. Well, I already knew that, but it was in one of your stories. 


Last but not least, we asked: What's your favorite thing about chess?

Adam (age 8): And…well…the stories! They want to help me get better at chess.

Julian (age 6): The Queen…because she moves everywhere! I like moving [the queen]…because I'm so excited for everything!

Elisabelle (age 6): Well, I kind of do like the Fool’s Mate.
STL: The Fool's Mate! Why do you like The Fool's Mate?
Elisabelle: Because every time I think about it…it's kind of like I'm doing April Fools', which I actually like. 



If you can’t tell, we’re super proud of all of our kiddos and very thankful to them and their families for letting us interview them. It’s a true privilege to pass along the joys of this amazing game and to see kids gain resilience, adaptability, positivity, and self-confidence through playing. Story Time Chess may be a chess set for beginners, but it’s already having a lasting impact on the kids who use it.

Interested in starting or continuing your child’s chess journey? Head over to our chess page to browse the full suite of Story Time Chess products or check out our sister company, Chess at Three, for live chess lessons, online or in-person (in select cities).