By now you might be familiar with the game that has children and adults alike, creating, building, surviving and learning, around the globe. The game, Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the United States with over 100 million registered users. Set in a land where everything is made of virtual building blocks, the only limit is the player’s imagination. Players can build just about anything, grow food, play with and help friends as well as fight off evil.
I have watched our boys play and I’ve learned the ins and outs of the game. I was disturbed by some of the darker aspects of the game, but before long realized that we could turn this game into something incredibly educational, without even trying. I still have a love/ hate relationship with the game. One minute I am amazed by the magnificent castles and rides the boys are creating and the next I’m wishing it never existed. Major guidelines and time restrictions are needed, as with all games, however Minecraft seems to have an especially strong pull on the kids.
From imaginative play to critical thinking, the lessons children can learn from Minecraft are many. I was pleasantly surprised to find even Biblical aspects to the game.
Children learn through trial and error to build shelter on rock instead of sand, just we are instructed to build our lives and homes on rock . (Matthew 7:24-27)
Good happens in the light and evil exists in the darkness, however players can use light sources in the darkness to get rid of the monsters, conveying the importance of light in a dark world. Light provides safety.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
Players can also work to build armor and a shield that protects them from the enemy.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)
With thousands of servers, Minecraft enthusiasts can play cooperatively online. Some of these servers are dedicated “Safe Zones” that have been created by parents for their children and friends to play in. There are also homeschool servers that offer educational classes with weekly lessons that combine history, science, literature, art, math and reading comprehension. The only servers I allow my boys to play on are ones moderated or built by friends or one listed below.
Kid Safe, Family Friendly Minecraft Servers & Resources:
Homeschool with Minecraft – Homeschool with Minecraft offers children a weekly a lesson that includes pictures, facts and video links. All the information is laid out “textbook” style. Students also receive weekly building assignments on the server and full access to playing with the other students online. Some of the Homeschool with Minecraft classes include the following:
- The First Americans – Native Americans of North America
- Explorers in North America
- American Presidents
- US Geography
- Animal Habitats
- Magic Tree House Classes
- American Legends and Tall Tales
Minecraft Homeschool – Minecraft Homeschool offers action packed 5 week classes, full of out of game learning and in game application of the covered material. A bonus 6th week helps kids “say goodbye” to the server to have a more gradual transition out of the class. There is no curriculum in week 6. Below are just few of the online classes children can choose from.
- 7 Wonders of the Ancient World (Ancient History/Architecture)
- Castles and Cannons (Ancient History)
- Poverty Project (Science/Economics) *ALL enrollment fees donated to 20 Liters.
- This Amazing World (Geography/Science/Archeology)
- Build Your Own Adventure (Creative Writing/Videography/Public Speaking/Research)
- Voyage to A New World (American History/Geography)
- Build it BIG (Math- Area & Volume/Architecture)
- Biomes of the World (Geography/Science)
Skrafty – Skrafty is a Kid-Safe Minecraft Server with fully functional survival and creative mode. Skrafty also has a fully functional homeschool curriculum section that is used in Minecraft. Skrafty also has an Adventure Zone. The Adventure Zone is where you will find several popular Minecraft Games. Skrafty’s Adventure Zone has the following games for members to play:
- The Hunger Games
- Insanity Run
- Capture The Flag
- Free For All (Battle Arena)
- Paint Ball
- TNT Run
If you want to keep up Math skills this summer, A+ Homeschool offers FREE Minecraft Themed Math Sheets for your Minecraft fan.
Whether you choose to join a class or simply allow unstructured creative play, your child is bound to learn a few things with Minecraft. Encourage your child’s creativity and enthusiasm for the game. Asking open-ended questions about their creations, if nothing else, will offer another opportunity to connect with your child and find out what they are learning from the game.
Do your children play Minecraft? If you know of any other family friendly servers, please share them in the comments!
Great insight – I also have this “love/hate” relationship with games.We have not allowed our children to play online games – only in the security of our home.
I also understand the whole love/hate thing with Minecraft… It does have some educational aspects to the game. I remember teaching my boys their science lesson about mushrooms – and I was trying to pronounce “Mycelium.” They not only knew how to pronounce it, they completely understood the concept. I’d never heard of such a thing… so I asked them where they’d learned about it. They said, “In Minecraft!”
I think it’s a neat game, as far as video games go… just wish boys didn’t get addicted to video games so easily. It’s definitely a battle!