Does your child love to play Minecraft? Or ask to play it? My kids love it too, and they don’t even realize all the educational benefits of Minecraft.
It’s seriously the best when they learn without realizing it simply because they are doing something they enjoy!
While there are games that tend to drive me crazy (I’m looking at you, Roblox), I believe kids can learn a lot while playing video games.
Even super adorable games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons have educational benefits!
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Learning With Minecraft
Minecraft, now the best selling game of all time, is perhaps also one of the most creatively striking games of all time.
The game is simple in design, but the open world offers endless possibilities. It is a unique way to engage kids in STEM learning too.
Players have access to block based worlds where they must survive, build, and craft to make their way in a completely randomly generated world.
If survival mode isn’t for you, then you may enjoy creative mode. There, players can choose to spawn into the world with a near infinite amount of resources to build whatever they want.
Minecraft truly enables players to open up their imaginations and create extraordinary things.
As such, the game can be easily adapted for educational purposes and can provide many benefits to students of all ages! We are even using Minecraft in our homeschooling this year with this DIY Minecraft curriculum.
Following is a list of the many educational benefits of Minecraft for any student.
It is essentially a bucket of virtual pieces to engineer whatever you want. However, Minecraft provides a near-infinite amount of every one of its blocks and objects.
Players can really build whatever they want while letting their imagination go wild. They aren’t limited by the number of pieces or by physical space for building.
Creativity is essential in the classroom, and few games stimulate creativity like Minecraft.
Virtual Learning Opportunities
Many students are visual learners, but it can be hard to procure visual aids for many subjects. Sometimes, flat 2-D pictures don’t cut it either.
However, with Minecraft, parents and teachers can create 3-D models of nearly anything for students to explore.
Geography, biology, science, and even history can all be explored through Minecraft.
For example, my son built a castle while looking at pictures of castles in Scotland. He’s also spent time looking up the flags of other countries and creating them in game as well.
You can also find many pre-made maps and items available to download for use in education, such as human anatomy. How cool is it to virtually tour the inside of the digestive system or an eye?
Another idea is to build historical events and architecture for students to explore, such as the Statue of Liberty.
You can also use Minecraft to explore scientific concepts such as atoms that students can walk around and study.
Minecraft also allows the creation of books that can be given to students as handy guides for whatever they are learning about. You can also use the books to ask questions or even take students on a fun scavenger hunt.
Use Minecraft to Show Knowledge Retention
While teachers can create all sorts of stuff for students to use, kids can also use Minecraft to demonstrate knowledge of certain concepts.
For example, they can create and act out a scene from a book they read or a movie they watched.
Not only will this be a fun activity for kids, but it shows what they are learning in a creative way.
Rocks and Minerals
Whether it’s through regular play or with a specific educational purpose, kids can learn about minerals from Minecraft.
There are lots of real world rocks and minerals represented in the game. Iron, diamond, stone, emerald, quartz, gold, obsidian, and cobblestone, just to name a few.
Players mine and gather these items for crafting and building. Though in creative mode, they can easily access items without gathering them from the world.
This has led to my kids recognizing these items outside of the game and researching them too.
Weather Cycle and Biomes
Minecraft has a very detailed weather cycle which can be useful for educational purposes.
Depending on the biome you are in in-game, the weather will act accordingly. For example, while in a rainforest you are likely to experience heavy rain.
Use the Minecraft weather cycle to teach younger kids about weather and even natural disasters. The 3D nature of the game allows students to experience the weather in a safe environment.
You can also task students with creating weather resistant builds, or acting out what they should do in the event of a weather emergency.
Kids will also learn about biomes and develop an understanding that certain animals, plants, and weather are found there. For example, they will find polar bears in the snowy arctic areas and cactus in the desert.
Resource Management and Organization
In Minecraft’s survival mode, players are tasked with gathering resources in a plethora of ways. Agriculture, mining, hunting, fishing, and even trading are all ways to get the supplies needed to thrive in their world.
It can be a great tool to teach students about resource management, both in-game and in the real world. You can also set up plenty of activities for students to do, such as creating a flower garden, the best farm or the most efficient mine.
Not only will students learn to manage their stuff in-game, but they can learn about such concepts as recycling, reusing, reducing waste, trade, and efficient agriculture from the game.
Minecraft can also be a great tool to teach kids about object organization.
For example, younger kids can take colored blocks and sort them into chests by color. Or build walls following a pattern. They can also learn about where items go, such as food in the kitchen.
For older kids, Minecraft can teach them to organize their resources for better access later. You can even turn organizing resources into a game by asking students to create the most efficient organizational systems.
Socializing and Social Skills
Minecraft can be played solo, with another player at home, or with other players online. It can be a great multiplayer gaming experience, and this can be easily adapted into the educational environment.
Minecraft can be used to teach students about economics, trade, and good samaritanism.
Minecraft also lends itself greatly to role play scenarios, making it a great way for kids to act out a virtual play. (They can even build the stage or virtual movie set.)
Younger students can act out certain social situations and learn about manners and other social situations. For example, you can create a Minecraft restaurant where players must order food, use their manners, and be patient all at once.
Minecraft can also be used to teach students about conflict resolution in a variety of ways. Perhaps students must compromise with one another about who gets to mine in a cave.
Additionally, Minecraft can be used to teach responsible online conduct. Their world can be used to create a safe-space where players learn about cyber-bullying and how to behave online.
Simply allowing students to play the game together promotes social responsibility and teamwork, especially in survival mode.
Players will have to trade with one another to get materials they need, and will more than likely want to team up to accomplish certain goals.
In fact, the game’s final boss promotes teamwork and strategy to defeat it. The multiplayer aspect of Minecraft can have many direct and indirect positive effects for kids.
Minecraft is an international phenomena, but it can be more than just a fun video game. There are many ways for kids to learn while playing Minecraft!