Learn to Play, Play to Learn: How Minecraft can Become an Educational Tool
- July 7, 2020
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Kids Tech Camps
Minecraft has been around since 2009 but was officially released in November 2011. Since then, it has grown to be a very popular game across all ages. With mobile versions of the game available since 2017, Minecraft seems to be here to stay, especially among younger players. As more children spend their time playing this game, more parents find themselves wondering if they should start getting worried. Is this game really all that it’s cut out to be? Is it helping your child as much as you hope?
You might have some idea of what Minecraft is if your children are playing and talking about it constantly. But besides words like “Enderman” or “blocks” and a vague concept of zombies, what is Minecraft really about? Minecraft is essentially a building game. There is no elaborate storyline or plot that players follow with their character. There aren’t levels to beat or missions to accomplish. What’s the point of the game?
The point of the game is to create! Minecraft drops players into a randomly generated world where they can use tools and materials to build whatever they want. Whether castles or skyscrapers in a landscape of mountains or endless skies, Minecraft players have the full freedom to see their dream worlds come to life.
There are two modes in Minecraft: Creative and Survival. Creative mode allows you to focus on building, giving you all the supplies and tools you need to create. In Survival mode, players have to look for building materials and can make tools like weapons to protect themselves from enemies like zombies. Survival mode also means you have to think about feeding your character and defeating the boss characters, the Ender Dragon and Wither.
Build Life Skills
How does a game like this be beneficial for children? Besides the usual boosting of creativity and imagination (think of Minecraft as a virtual and more complex way to play with Lego blocks), there are other skills that your children learn from playing Minecraft that can help them in the future.
Minecraft helps improve your child’s creativity but it does so in a structured way. By using blocks that have to fit in the game’s 3D grid and layout, players are pushed to think outside the box to fully execute their ideas. For example, creating round shapes with blocks provides an extra challenge for young players. This type of 3D gameplay also lets children develop their spatial skills and teaches players to see things from different perspectives.
By playing Minecraft, your child will also develop problem-solving skills that will be helpful later on in life. Survival mode drops players in environments where they need to build shelters, find materials, and defend themselves against enemies at night. Thinking of strategies to succeed in Minecraft can help your child figure out how to survive not just in the virtual world, but in the real world as well.
Because there’s no one way to “win” in Minecraft, children are taught to discover and explore their own reasons for playing. Perhaps your child finds enjoyment in building a world that is their own or wants to develop different strategies to survive against night-time enemies. Whatever their reason is, Minecraft provides a space for them to do what they like. This can help build their self-confidence and also give them more self-awareness. Learning about the self is important to see where they want to go in the future, and Minecraft can help with that.
Develop Social Skills
Though many players play Minecraft by themselves, this is still a game that can foster collaboration and teamwork. By setting up servers, players can band together to defeat enemies or build a community. There’s not a lot of guidance given to players in-game, therefore many players build forums and groups to trade tips or resources about Minecraft. Your child will then learn social skills in a relatively safe environment (always be there to provide adult supervision) and be able to communicate with others even outside Minecraft.
Refine Communication Skills
Minecraft also develops reading comprehension and writing skills. Minecraft players communicate via the chat section, so if their written communication skills are poor, they will not be able to make the most out of the game. Children also have the motivation to improve their writing and reading skills to keep up with the older players in the server, therefore unconsciously learning while playing.
Learn the Importance of Research
The different materials and tools found in the game can also inspire children to learn more about the world around them. Children will be curious about things like gemstones, medieval weapons, and other elements found in Minecraft that come from the real world. This will help them learn about history and science should they do more research on what these materials or tools do or where they come from. By instilling a drive to research early on, children are prepared through Minecraft to think more critically and curiously about the things they are exposed to.
Enhance STEM and Business Skills
Minecraft can also boost maths and geometry skills as players learn to count time, allocate resources, see how much food is needed before starving, and estimate how much space is needed to build anything. Seeing visual applications of math can help make the world of numbers easier to understand for some children.
Playing Minecraft can also help your child develop business and technical skills that can shape their future career. Hosting a server on Minecraft can teach your child about management, marketing, and systems administration. Minecraft can also inspire your child to go into game design or coding especially if they are curious about how modifications work in the game. These are all important skills that adults get paid or go to school for, meanwhile, your child can be learning about it on Minecraft!
Help your kids get the most out of their Minecraft experience by letting them join in any of Q Academy’s Minecraft camps. These camps were specifically designed for children and provide a safe, structured environment for them to explore their Minecraft potential. Explore the camps, courses, and programs offered at Q Academy here.