Think there are no benefits of Minecraft? Think again! When my son first discovered Minecraft late last year, I figured it was just a way for him to waste time. So many people were calling it “mindcrap” that I thought “oh geez, am I a horrible mom for letting him play it?” Still, I bought him the full version on PC. For his birthday, he also got it on the tablet and XBOX. I’m pretty sure that covers all the platforms!
For those who don’t know what Minecraft is, take a look at the infographic below (like way below, it’s really long and I don’t want it to cut into my post! Call me selfish, but this is about me me me! Er, well, it’s about my son, but still). I want to talk about a few benefits of Minecraft that may surprise you if you’re not one that typically equates video games with benefits.
Benefits of Minecraft
- Confidence booster: This is a big one for us. Jacob built an amazing castle that received huge accolades from friends and other Minecraft users. I wish I knew how to take a screen shot from the XBOX. It was seriously awesome. Jacob was so proud of himself. He worked on the castle for months. Through that, he learned that he can pretty much do anything he sets his mind to.
- Memory skills- If you want to create something in Minecraft, you need the right pieces and elements. Some items require up to like 12 pieces! I’ve watched my son fly through the item menu to select just what he needs to make things like a diamond sword or other cool stuff. He remembers everything he needs for each object. This, in turn, help sharpen his memory in other areas of his life, like school.
- Hand-Eye coordination– Really, this is true of any video game. They all help develop hand-eye coordination skills. With Jacob and Minecraft, though, the kid flies through the building process! I decided I wanted to try to build a super-cool house too. It took me 25 minutes to clear the area, build a square house, accidentally dig to the center of the earth and get stuck. It took my son literally less than two minutes to build a gorgeous structure with windows, carpeting, a bed, a library and a secret area. His memory skills combined with insanely good hand-eye coordination beat my years of Sims-playing experience to dust.
- Basic survival skills– I’ve been told that this one is a stretch, but think about it: Minecraft teaches kids that you need to chop wood to build basic structures, smelt iron to build weapons and cook food before eating it. They also learn that how to seek shelter to hide from Creepers and other monsters at night. Considering how many people out there think zombies are going to take over the earth any day now, I would think they’d want their kids to start practicing! Personally, I just think it’s cool that my son knows what “smelting” is.
- It’s fun! What other benefit do you need? Honestly, it’s okay for kids to just have fun. Not everything has to come with some sort of educational benefit. We’re so obsessed with looking like the perfect parents who give our children nothing but educational games and experiences that we forget kids are just supposed to have crazy, goofy fun from time to time. They’re not going to flunk out of school just because they play a video game.
What is Minecraft? Take a look at this infographic, which I think does a good job of explaining it. I snagged it from Visual.ly.