What are your kids learning playing Minecraft?

With over 16,000 copies of Minecraft sold daily, what are your kids learning when they are playing Minecraft?  

It might surprise you the skills that your children are using when playing Minecraft. 

Video games are a controversial topic in my house. Why? Because left to their own devices, literally,  my children could probably play all day and all night.

Because of this controversy, I sat down with my daughter and asked her what she thought she was learning when she played Minecraft.  

Her answers surprised me, maybe you too.

My daughter is twelve years old and here is how the conversation started.

Mom: “So what do you think you are learning when you are playing Minecraft?”

Daughter: “Well, we use math to buy armor, equipment, and blocks. Addition, subtraction, and multiplication.”

Mom:  “O.k.”  “How do you determine what you are going to buy? Is it based on the amount of money you have and what things cost?”

Daughter: “No, it depends on what we need right now.” 

Mom: “So, there is some prioritizing and sequencing going on to make the best decision.”

Daughter: “Yeah.”

Here are some of the other skills we talked about including typing, spelling, planning, decision-making, researching, organizing, and developing strategies to win for her faction.

For those that are new to Minecraft or didn’t know,  a faction is an organized group of players that battle other factions to claim their land and ally with other factions to make themselves stronger for the next fight, a lot like Clash of Clans.  

I can hear you asking me now, typing and spelling?

Yes,  there is a chat box on the screen to text strategy with each other.  Who wants to misspell a text in front of their friends?  I am sure there is a little underlying peer pressure going on there as well.  

Typing is just a given in our technology driven society where most kids are using computers or iPads for every subject in school.  I felt like I was in the dark ages when I was teaching my children cursive handwriting.  If you like old school or just want to replace screen time, check out this post about getting the most out of using flashcards with your child.  #darkages #provenstrategy

So how are kids using decision making, researching and organization while playing Minecraft?  

I have seen all three in play when my daughter is determining which faction she wants to play in.  She researches which servers are the best and quickly organizes her play if accepted, much like her speed of organizing when she is on the soccer field.  

Speaking of soccer field, I have asked several friends if their children have the same video game obsession.  

I was met with a resounding YES!  

I guess that made me feel a little better that I was not alone in trying to understand the phenomenon. I mean have you ever just sat and watched the intensity at which children playing video games?

Better yet, children watching other children play.  

There are YouTube videos of people playing video games with millions of downloads!  

I think of it as a disconnect from what’s going on around them. I guess that is my biggest issue, being disconnected.  

When you think about the skills that I have listed, kids are using these same skills in school and sports. What’s the difference?

I go back to the disconnect.  

Maybe another reason is because,

When I was Growing Up, my mother would put me outside for the day to play with friends.

So now, our kids go online to play with friends? I mean everyone has a cell phone, right?  My daughter does not. I am often reminded that she is the only one on the soccer team that doesn’t have one. Chalk another up for peer pressure.

So what is the happy medium?  

I’ve identified skills that kids are learning while playing Minecraft, but how much screen time is enough?  

I’ve heard some say 30 minutes a day, or only on weekends.  I get it, just like adults, kids like to unwind and relax and enjoy playing video games.  

So, why does there seem to be this struggle for a balance? Maybe because I can’t see the ‘tangible’ after spending hours upon hours playing a virtual game? 

When my daughter plays a great soccer game, we can talk about it for days, not so much with a good round of Minecraft. 

I know educators and researchers say that kids learn through play, and I have just listed a lot of the skills that they are learning and reinforcing.

So what’s all the fuss about, right?  

I guess it is a family’s determination what is right for their child. Some families haven’t even gone down the path of technology in their homes. Some don’t even have a television.

Recently I asked my daughter where her brother was,  she said,

He’s outside playing with sticks.

Ah, it made this momma’s heart sing.  

If you are looking for other resources that will help manage your week and home be sure to stop by Mama Hacks Library, a resource for busy moms including printables and how to videos on everything from Never Loosing a Sock to Self Care.