We are looking at Minecraft today. I get asked about this software all. the. time. So I thought I’d give you a quick cheat-sheet. As parents, it’s good to know what our kids are up to – so we can talk to them about their online worlds – soooo important ;0)
What is it? – Minecraft is free software (you pay once you want to download the full version). You download it to your computer and then play offline. You can play online with others but I wouldn’t recommend this for younger/primary school aged kids. Tell them ‘single-user mode only’!
Once you’ve got the software, you are in a virtual world. You ‘spawn’ – appear in the world – and then you can start building your world. You MINE (hence the name!) for ore and then build/create all you need to survive. Build houses with electricity, or towns with streets, or maybe underground or underwater worlds! It’s a really creative game that’s a lot of fun. You get an idea for a building – but then you have to work out what minerals you’ll need to mine/find. Then you look up a kind of ‘recipe’ to see what needs to go with what to make, for example, a table or a fire. Kids love the creative side of this!
Who uses it? -From my experience, it’s kids from about age 10 up to about age 13 – although my nephew and niece (8 and 10) love the app on their tablets too! They are always so proud to show me what they’ve built.
Why is it so popular? – Interestingly I think it’s because our kids can create whatever they like. I’ve used it in science and history lessons (they build worlds or homes that are historic or reflective or energy saving…) and kids love being able to build what’s in their heads. They get to make something of their own, rather than just play on a game that’s already been built and created.
Isn’t it just for boys though? – Hell, no! But really – NO. Girls and boys love Minecraft – it’s creative and personal to them and boys and girls engage with it in similar ways, from what I’ve seen.
Also, we need to encourage our girls to learn science, tech, engineering and maths subjects (STEM) – these are the biggest growing areas in the real-world. The more our girls learn in these areas, the better the opportunities they will have when they leave school or uni! Start them young and let them explore all sorts of learning!
So that’s my Minecraft cheat sheet. Any tips to add or share? Are your kids obsessed with Minecraft too?