In recent years, we have seen the explosion of many video games but perhaps none more so than Minecraft. Not only are kids having fun building crazy castles and playing with friends, many teens and adults are also seeing the benefit of the game. When we talk about video games, there is often a negative perception and judgment that comes instantly but we have some key reasons why we think this shouldn’t be the case with Minecraft.
If you haven't yet seen or even heard of
it, Minecraft is a world created purely from blocks. Wherever you look, you
will see blocks whether it is the floor, the trees, and even the character that
you control. By using your hands, you can gather resources and progress as you
gather more valuable mining blocks such as stone, iron, and diamond. Over time,
you can craft more impressive tools and therefore structures. You can even play Minecraft online with other players by joining servers.
Since the game has been out for a few years, there have been some truly astonishing creations from huge vehicles to whole cities, and computers to massive skyscrapers. Furthermore, there are some modifications or ‘mods’ that can be added to the game to add more advanced items. As long as you have the imagination, Minecraft offers endless opportunities and hours of fun.
With this in mind, the first skill that players can learn is resource management. As there is only a finite amount of each material, players have to decide what is most important and choose a strategy to utilize each block that they gather. Should you use the block now to make a wooden pick-axe or wait to craft a better one from stone? Should you make more tools or save the wood to build a home?
As you can see, this means that kids are
learning all about saving and spending without even releasing it. Later in
life, this type of budgeting will come in handy. Suddenly, they will debate
whether to spend now on a new car or wait to put down a deposit for a house. Of
course, this is an extreme example but it can also be used for smaller
decisions each day. As the resources take a while to gather and earn, there is
no cheating and having both.
Additionally, they will learn the importance of picking themselves up and trying again if the first time fails. When building a house and it goes wrong, all those resources will be wasted but they will have to start afresh and just start gathering those materials once more. As well as solo play, Minecraft can also be played with others which teach children how to work as a team to create something special. Instantly, they will realize that, rather than building a small house each, they could combine their resources with others and make something awesome.
Finally, they will also learn that not all kids play nice and this is where parents should step in. If you are worried about other children or older kids, parents can set up a dedicated server where rules can be set and you can limit it to just them and their friends!
See this short video of how Minecraft can help kids with autism.