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Crafting New Worlds With Minecraft

A modern twist on classic block building

Crafting something new each week is always a fun challenge for me. I draw a lot of my inspiration from my kiddos. I pay attention to what they like, or sometimes I catch them making something on their own and ask, “Hey! How did you do that?” We create something new every day which means my house is currently overrun with kid creations.  

My kids learn best through hands on activities. So in an effort to keep my kids busy with hands on activities, we delayed introducing digital media to our kids until they were around age 6 and we gifted each of them their own tablet. They immediately fell in love with the fast action games and animated stories. And I was OK with it. But then they discovered something called, Minecraft. Ever heard of it? If your child plays this game I am sure you have heard of it 15 million times already. It seems to be an obsession for many kids. At first I resisted this game because I didn't see any educational value to it. But then a friend insisted that I actually play a game with my kids. 

Here is what I’ve learned:

The most important factor for me is that parents can control how their children play the game. My kids only play in creative mode with peaceful settings so there isn’t any violence. It’s just building and design. 

This isn’t traditional hands on crafting like with paper and glue, but kids are definitely using their imaginations to create. Players imagine a design they'd like to create and access their supplies through and inventory list. In essence, this is digital crafting.   

My kids are learning patience and cooperative play. It can take time to learn how to navigate this world and understand how to use all the different items in the inventory list. That takes patience. Kids also have to use a little patience when inviting their mom (who never plays video games) to play. 

Kids are using math in real time while they are designing their worlds. They need to count, add or subtract blocks to make sure everything fits together.  The cool thing is they don’t even realize they are applying what they've learned at school.

This game is essentially creating structures from blocks and it requires the same motor skills and hand eye coordination as hands-on block play. Thankfully without the danger of stepping on sharp cutting corners lying on the floor.   

There is no competition! This is great for two kids playing with a side by side split screen. In other video games if one kid reaches the end before the other things can get ugly. But playing along side each other means my kids cooperate and work as a team. 

Despite my resistance to allowing my kids to play this game, it truly has its merits. My kids are developing some positive attributes while improving a whole bunch of skills they fight me on at homework time. And my most favorite part is their creations are stored electronically and not hanging all over my house.  I call that a very big parenting win!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 

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