Who would have ever thought parents would be encouraging their kids to play video games because there are valuable learning components included?!
I’m sure a lot of parents are thinking that right now. And yes, kids should be getting outside, exploring their world, reading books, and every else like that to live a balanced life. But right now, we are still in \”staying home and laying low\” mode thanks to the global pandemic that just seems to not want to go away. Giving the \”thumbs up\” to our offspring to go ahead and plugin for some gameplay seems counterproductive, however, there are games available that have STEM benefits. Minecraft is a perfect example.
In case you are not familiar with it, Minecraft is based on using 3D blocks and other objects to create (or \”craft\”) a brand new world from scratch. This \”world\” includes building an impressive home, outfitting it, and even attracting pets and farm animals. It went from being a small independent game to a massive enterprise in just a few short years.
Science and research are revealing more and more how helpful some video games can be in building a child’s cognitive development. Minecraft, for instance, helps with creativity, sharing, innovating, continuous learning, problem solving, craftsmanship, teamwork, interdependence, flexibility, storytelling…just to name a few. This game is also completely non-violent and is not explicit or graphic in any way.
Parents and educators have been slow to embrace this, but little by little, homeschoolers and educators are including this world-building game as part of learning and even curriculum. If you are worried about letting your kids play Minecraft in a safe environment SKrafty is a free Minecraft server for homeschoolers.
Getting Started with Minecraft as a Learning Tool
Unofficial Minecraft Lab for Kids: Family-Friendly Projects for Exploring and Teaching Math, Science, History, and Culture Through Creative Building (Hands-On Family is one of the many books available on the subject, but it\’s one of the best for creating a bridge between parents and their children.
Minecraft does not have to be just a kid’s activity…adults love it too!
This book provides six different quests that teach gamification, which is the process of applying game principles to real life. Parents, you will learn about the world of Minecraft, while also bringing your children out of it. You’ll learn the lingo, the levels, the different things that you can do within the game, and you’ll come to realize why your kids love it so much and how beneficial it is to them. But having this book, showing your kids how the skills they are learning inside the game are relevant in out-of-game experiences, is a wonderful opportunity for family bonding and for crafting and creativity!
How you can Gamify these quests:
Quest 1 – This quest is all about taking inventory of your resources. That’s easy. Together, your family can take an inventory of something in your house: the pantry, the refrigerator, your movie or book collection, etc.
Quest 2 – Textures, Patterns, and Landscapes, which talks about cooking and gardening. Do we really need to explain this one? I think you’re getting the hang of it!
Quest 3 – This is about architecture, so this gives your family a wonderful excuse to take a neat vacation to some city with unique architecture. Road trip to Charleston, SC or New Orleans, LA. Going abroad? Well, basically all the cities over there have interesting architecture! Have some fun!!
Quest 4 – Here, we look into the arts: the colors, textures, and styles of a museum. So obviously, you need to find a museum to day trip to! Even if your town, or the one next to you, doesn’t have the equivalent of the MET or le Louvre, that’s okay. All museums are great experiences.
Quest 5 – Game making; think how fun this could be! Each of the family members making up their own games and then hosting a family game night to try them out. Sounds like a good time.
Quest 6 – is the culmination of all the skills you have learned previously–you’re making a city. Maybe before you jump head into the game, you and your child can write about your city, make up people, laws, specific places or activities that go on there. Help them create their world both in and out of the game!
Happy reading and learning!