At first glance, Minecraft may look like any other video game: a fantasy world where players gather resources, battle obstacles, and try to stay alive. But the sandbox nature of the game actually creates a learning experience for kids where they gain valuable skills that are applicable to real life through gameplay.
So what exactly are kids learning as they play Minecraft? There must be a reason that it’s been incorporated into classrooms and homeschool curriculum, after all! Here are five things that kids learn when they play Minecraft.
One unique thing about Minecraft is that it has five different game modes: Creative, Survival, Adventure, Spectator and Hardcore. We recommend Creative mode for kids because it allows them to use their imaginations. In Creative mode, kids have access to an infinite number of blocks and items to create buildings, castles, bridges, boats– anything they can imagine. The unlimited possibilities that Minecraft offer empowers kids to use and expand their creativity.
Teamwork and Social Skills
Although sitting in front of a screen may seem like an individual activity, multiplayer video games are a great way for kids to interact and work as a team. According to the American Psychological Association, 70% of gamers play games with friends. So although it’s possible to play Minecraft solo, most kids play in multiplayer mode, which allows kids to work together to build and protect their Minecraft world. Minecraft is a true virtual community for its players, uniting kids from diverse backgrounds through healthy competition and their love of the game. For kids that would rather play Minecraft than sports, this provides an opportunity for them to learn and practice teamwork.
Since Minecraft is a sandbox game, there is no specific end goal or way to win; however, players do achieve rewards when they accomplish certain tasks in the game. This forces kids to establish their goal, such as building a city or obtaining a better sword, then develop a plan to achieve it, and eventually to accomplish it. This is great practice for goal-setting in real life, either for their schoolwork, their future career, or any personal goal.
Math and Economics
Perhaps the most practical skill kids learn when they play Minecraft is applied math. There are numerous applications for math in the game: kids apply geometry concepts as they build structures, bridges, and other types of architecture; they practice cost-benefit analysis as they determine when to save vs. when to spend their resources; and they must be aware of physics as they build their structures.
The Bottom Line
Many parents are surprised to learn that Minecraft can help teach kids about all sorts of things, from math and science to problem solving, collaboration and life skills. Among popular video games today, Minecraft is a great choice for your kid, as you can be sure that it will help them practice many of the skills they’re learning in school and at home.