Chess, Sudoku and Lazy Summer Days

I haven’t thought much about unschooling, records books, my
blog… in a long time. We’ve been far too busy enjoying lots of lazy hot summer days.
But I know a time will come when we will be ready for new challenges. After a
few weeks of rest, we will want to do more than potter idly through our days.
We will be keen to dive into some serious learning. I must admit I could quite
happily continue in this lazy lifestyle for some time yet. But the girls are
starting to look around for something challenging to stimulate their brains.

This morning I asked Sophie what she was going to do today
and she shrugged her shoulders.
“Do you want me to organise a few activities?” I asked.
To my surprise, her face lit up and she said, “Yes please!”
“I could find you some maths to do,” I teased.
I expected Sophie to tell me she didn’t need my help after
all. She had a million more interesting things to do. But all she said was, “Maybe… Do
you remember that Sudoku game we bought while we were on holiday last year? I
could play that except no one will want to play with me…”
“I could look online for some Sudoku puzzles,” I offered.
“Yes please!”
So I did some browsing and I found a very interesting
website called Kids Maths Games Online. I printed off some Sudoku puzzles
before discovering some online Sudoku games. I explored the site more fully and
found online board games, videos, and other activities which all look fun.
So Sophie and Gemma-Rose have spent the morning playing
maths related games. Gemma-Rose wasn’t interested in Sudoku and instead chose
to play chess. (The online game solved the problem of our chess set having a few missing pieces.) The girls looked busy and happy. No need for me to feel guilty.
I curled up on the sofa with a good book and resumed being lazy.
An idle thought passed through my mind as I was watching the
girls: Surely chess and Sudoku have great value in the education of a child? I
did a quick bit of research, and yes, many people agree: logic, critical
thinking, problem solving, concentration… the girls have been working on all
these skills and more this morning (without realising of course). Here’s an article
called The Educational Value of Chess if you are interested.
There are a lot of chess for kids books. We have two which I hunted out for Gemma-Rose: Chess for Children and More Chess for Children, both by Raymond Bott. Unfortunately these books seem to be out of print, but there are other books available on the same topic.  I know there are also lots of children’s chess websites. I might go and find out more about them. But not today… 
Today I am still in
holiday mood. Maybe you are too. But if your kids are looking for something challenging… How about a game of chess or Sudoku? 
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