Holiday Break!

With the kiddos out of school, what is there to do? See what’s happening at the library:

All Daniel Boone Regional Library locations will be closed all day on December 24 & 25 and close at noon on December 31. Even when the library is closed, you can still visit us online and enjoy Tumblebooks and EZTales!

Websites We Love: ChessKid.com

chesskidI learned to play chess as an adult. Really. Last year. I am still a work in progress. Before I knew how to play chess, I didn’t think it would be a fun game to play, but I should have known better. I am a very analytic thinker. I like solving puzzles and looking ahead to see where things will end up, and this is why I think chess is a fun game. I wish that I had learned to play chess a LONG time ago! I now look at everything through a strategic lens, as if I am playing chess all of the time. Developing these analytic thinking skills is just one benefit of playing chess. Some studies* suggest that kids who play chess have better problem-solving abilities and higher reading and math scores.

ChessKid.com provides a fun way for you to learn or help your child to learn chess. The website has you choose a playful username, such as “AlabasterWolf,” “FlatCobra” or “SlimyWing.” If these aren’t to your liking, you can create your own. You also get to choose from a variety of avatars. Here is the cool part: as a parent, you create your own username and password to link to your child’s account so that you can monitor his or her online activity, friendships and more. You can even play against your kid!  You can play fast chess, slow chess or tournaments. There are tools that your child can use to learn how to play. One drawback: there are a limited number of features available with a “basic” free membership. The website gives you the option to “upgrade” (as a parent) for a fee. It gives your kid the option to “tell your parent you want to upgrade,” which can be kind of annoying.

Want real-life practice playing chess? Join us in Ashland on March 26 from 1-3 p.m. for Checkmate.  All skill levels and ages welcome.

*Mitchell, Deborah. 2006. “CHESS Is Child’s Play.” Mothering no. 139: 68. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 7, 2013)

Game on With the Million Minute Family Challenge

From September 1 to December 31 you can join in a national effort to encourage your family and friends to socialize through non-electronic games.  This extended event is all about turning away from a screen and toward real faces, interacting with the important people in your life and nurturing your human connections, using board games as the means.  You can go to the Million Minute Family Challenge website to find out all the details. You’ll have the option of creating an account so that you can log the minutes you spend playing board games and help all involved reach the million-minute mark (roughly 694 days worth of game-playing time!) together.

Although this site is somewhat commercial (it sells the games it promotes), it provides a lot of helpful and free information. For example, there are ideas for making game time into a more formal event by offering prizes or making game playing part of a potluck dinner. And there is a list of benefits of intergenerational play, tips on how to select games appropriate to  participants’ interests and abilities and a good explanation of the value of setting aside time to interact this way. I offer this book list that expands on the board game idea to include other family-oriented games and activities that promote spending “unplugged” time together.  Continue reading