Logic and strategic games have been a huge hit at Dawn & Dusk over the past few weeks.
One day, we decided to bring out the checker boards to cultivate this interest.
When we first brought out the checker boards, we noticed that many of the children were hesitant to play because they weren’t familiar with the rules of the game. Even though us educators offered to teach them, they usually turned us down.
One child took initiative to mentor and encourage the other children in this game, which sparked the checker and chess trend at Dawn & Dusk!
On the days that we spent inside, we noticed at least one game of chess or checkers being played. Funny enough, surrounding that game was a group of children intently watching. Even though another checker board was available, these checker and chess fanatics were content with just watching the game. During the game, they were discussing different strategies, predicting who was going to win, and declaring who was going to play the winner.
To expand this interest, we decided to give the children the opportunity to create their own giant checker board.
The next week, we assembled interlocking foam mats on the gym floor to resemble a checker board and used bean bags as the pieces. With a larger checker board, the audience members had more space to observe and assist with the game. One child even designated themselves as the commentator!
“I’ll crown the winner”
“I created a power circle!”
“Stop moving! I’m trying to recreate the game!”
The next day, a child suggested that we use circular pieces that resembled real checker pieces. We rummaged through our supplies and found colourful circles. Since the pieces were different colours, this challenged the children to really concentrate on their game.
That same afternoon, an educator had the idea to recreate the checker board on tiered steps. This challenged the children’s thinking even further since now they had to think about the different dimensions involved.
Lastly, we decided to increase the scale of the checker board AGAIN with the larger foam mats. Due to the enormous size of this checker board, some children decided to be one of the checker pieces!
Over the course of these weeks, we came across many different versions of the game of checkers. I asked some of the children to explain how they played the game….
“We start with three rows”
“You make a mini bot with your king that can be used during your turn”
“The blocks can be used to shield”
“If a king reaches the end, you get three”
“If a piece jumps a king, it only takes one away”
“You’re allowed three passes”
“You bump sideways”
I think that we need to make a Dawn & Dusk rule book for the game of checkers to include all of these creative ideas!
It’s amazing that something so small turned into something so big, LITERALLY!