As a parent, you’ve no doubt heard of Minecraft.
It’s a unique computer game. But did you know that it can also be a great learning tool? From academic to social skills, Minecraft can help children reach their full potential.
Read on to find out how Minecraft can be educational for your child, and how FunTech is using it to create exciting learning experiences.
What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a child-friendly computer game that combines exploration and survival skills. It tests children’s imagination and creativity.
In simple terms, it’s like digital LEGO – your child can create anything from a small hut to a huge, sprawling metropolis. When you throw in monsters and other challenging characters it begins to get really interesting. The player has to quickly learn how to survive and adapt in the Minecraft world!
Is Minecraft Educational?
Yes, we believe it is! But it’s not just us, research suggests the same. We’ll look into that later in this guide.
Some schools in the UK have started to use it in the classroom. According to this 2016 BBC News report, more than 7,000 classrooms around the world already use Minecraft in some form.
Here are our top 11 reasons why we believe Minecraft is educational, and why you don’t need to worry if your child loves this game.
Is Minecraft safe for kids?
Yes, if used correctly and responsibly. Minecraft is perfectly safe for children, providing the correct parental controls have been set.
Children can write their own story, team-up with friends, and build whatever they want to do in a safe and secure environment.
We do advise that you read this guide from the NSPPC. It tells parents what settings and modes to set, plus the versions of the game you should let your child have access to.
#1: Minecraft helps kids learn problem-solving techniques
The ability to problem-solve dictates how well a child can navigate obstacles, both hypothetical and in real life. Minecraft can encourage and expand this type of thinking.
As an example, we can look to the game’s “survival mode”. In it, the player must maintain their hunger and health levels in the face of dangerous monsters and other obstacles. They’ll have to quickly figure out how escape, find cover and learn to survive in these quick 10-minute scenes.
This can encourage critical thinking and teach your child how to react quickly and efficiently to solve real-world problems.
#2: Minecraft can support reading and writing skills
So why is Minecraft already being used in school classrooms?
It is commonly understood that children best learn when having fun, and with Minecraft that’s exactly what they do.
If a child is motivated to advance in the game of Minecraft, they’ll need to have a good understanding of the written guides that appear on-screen.
If they’re also playing with classmates, they’ll need to use the chat function to read and write messages back and forth as part of team play.
#3: Minecraft supports a curious mind
After a Minecraft session, you might find that your child gets a lot more curious. Maybe they even want to research things for themselves.
Part of the game requires children to overcome challenges. To progress, they’ll need to find hints and tricks to help them.
That could mean online research, such as Wikipedia or YouTube, or even a trip to the local library! There are many books on Minecraft tutorials out there. Your child will have to analyse it all to find the best information.
It almost sounds like the kind of thing you’d do for a school project or paper, doesn’t it?
#4: Minecraft helps kids with maths problems
Minecraft is already being used in classrooms to support learning in maths.
Here’s just one example from a teacher in the United States who used Minecraft to give his students a boost. This is what he had to say about the educational benefits of Minecraft:
“I was teaching third grade that year in inner-city Los Angeles and was determined to teach math with Minecraft. I was glad I did. Over a span of six months, my class’s benchmark test scores shot up from 18 percent to 84 percent in math and from 24 percent to 81 percent in English.”
When playing Minecraft, children develop complex shapes, tackle geometric problems, and manipulate blocks. All of these are key mathematical concepts that will form part of your child’s curriculum.
#5: Minecraft teaches children how to manage resources
In Minecraft, children learn how to calculate how much things cost, and the time required for certain tasks.
For example, they could have to gather wood to build part of a dwelling. They could do it by hand, but using an axe is quicker… The only problem is that the axe will need to be paid for and will eventually become blunt.
Learning how to pay for and use resources efficiently is a key aspect to a child’s educational and practical development.
#6: Minecraft teaches kids the benefits of teamwork
Minecraft games involve collaboration with other children and teammates. In fact, sometimes it’s the only way a player can achieve certain goals.
By pooling and sharing resources whilst they plan together, children will learn to rely on each other. They’ll have to work together positively to achieve their common goal!
#7: Minecraft can help to improve a child’s confidence
There’s every chance Minecraft could help to improve how confident your child is. Once they’ve learned impressive Minecraft skills they can share this with friends and forge new friendships!
#8: Minecraft can help kids learn about history
Reconstructing famous and historical landmarks in Minecraft is a popular educational use of the game.
Children can complete tasks involving a huge amount of research into history. This includes understanding the major points in human civilisation, mapping locations and recreating famous events.
Your child will need to understand maths and scale as they populate these landmarks with the experiences that took place over time.
For example, in 2016 the Museum of London used Minecraft to recreate the Great Fire of 1666. You can see how they did it on their website and this YouTube video for a walkthrough on the scene.
#9: Minecraft can improve a child’s creativity and imagination
Minecraft truly excels in the limits of the game – there are none!
If your child wants to build an amusement park, then they can do it. Or perhaps they want to build a 100-foot high version of their grandma… it’s all possible – the Minecraft world is an unlimited one.
The Minecraft platform lets children imagine and build anything that they want, real or not. The only restriction is that it needs to be created with small building blocks.
#10: Minecraft can help a child learn to code
At FunTech we’re huge advocates for educating kids on coding. Check out our 13 reasons why parents should encourage coding if you haven’t already!
Minecraft contributes into this potentially key learning skill with its huge degree of customisation. Children can edit the original Minecraft code as mods to make the game behave in different ways. This can be as small as altering the weather or as huge as creating an invincible flying squid! This is all possible using Minecraft’s command blocks.
If they want to take it further, your child can modify the program using Java code. They can also develop further coding skills such as de-bugging. Once they’re finished, they can share those mods with their friends and teammates for a totally unique, sharable experience.
#11: Minecraft offers valuable future work skills
All of the educational aspects we’ve spoken about will no doubt put your child in good stead for their future employment prospects.
The elements involved with Minecraft can help to teach not just technical skills, but also simulate business skills including trading and relationship-building.
Used the correct way, Minecraft could help give your child a solid background in core STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects; all of which are critical in the 21st century workplace.
When you also consider the social skills that Minecraft can help develop, your child could also become very proficient at negotiation, project planning and teamwork. These are all skills which employers today, and in the future, will always be looking for.