Minecraft looks like just another game – you sit in front of a screen and not blink for hours. Your kids get addicted, they ask when they can get back on, you get annoyed that they do not socialize. Sometimes, though, it is not a bad thing.
Research has gone so far into proving all the positives that can be gained from playing the game.
How the Economy Works
It might not seem like it when they are clicking away at the mouse to lay down blocks, but the game can have a big impact by teaching them that items are not infinite, and that they can and do run out. Some materials in the game never grow back. If you cut down a tree, and do not replace that tree, then it is gone, and that is one less tree in the world. Keep going at that pace? You have to look further and further for trees. Plants are the same – pull them up and forget to replant them, and you are left with a lot of empty soil patches. It teaches them to be sensible, sustainable and forward-thinking. Use only what you need and replace what you use, so that you do not struggle in the future. It is a lesson that all kids should be able to receive and get a feel of the repercussions of it before it is too late.
The game seems never ending, forever expanding outwards, and even when you have explored the whole of your land, you have the whole of the Nether dimension to go – a second dimension to the game. However, when your child is building in the game, they have to know where to place things, and understand how a partial building will look as they are going along with its construction. Both of these facts encourage them to be aware of what is going on around them, placing blocks and items where they need to be and being careful about just throwing down the blocks.
It might not seem like it, and you might be wondering how exactly a game can show this – as games are inherently limited by the restrictions programmed into it with parameters of what is possible and what is not. Minecraft, however, is unique in the sense that there are no limitations on how you can play. If you want to run around and hide from your friends, climbing the highest mountains and watching them from a distance as they try and find you? Awesome, you can do that. If you want to dig around in the earth and look for hidden caves, pretending you are the next great explorer? Yup, it has that too. If you want to build things, and imagine worlds surrounding where you live – in a castle, with a pet Ocelot? It’s all possible.
Whatever kids want to do in the game, whatever they want to experience, they can do it. Minecraft becomes their own little world that they can run however they want, and practicing that control gives them the knowledge that they can do anything – this carries over to the real world, too, and is a very important skill for your child to have.
With a game world as big as the one in Minecraft, it is impossible to start from the beginning without having an aim in mind. Even if that aim is simply what the child wants to build, or how they want to play the game, they are forced at the very start to set a goal and aim for themselves in the game. It does not matter if they deviate from that, and if as they play, they find that their aims and goals change, great! What matters is that they have had the experience of making a goal for themselves, and working to achieve them. Goals changing is a natural part of life, and it is important for a child to learn that just because they planned something a specific way, does not mean that it won’t change and morph into something else that they need to adapt to.