Minecraft as Summer Learning

It is Day One of summer vacation. I figured that I could give my kiddos at least one gimme day of just hanging out and doing whatever they wanted to do, which pretty much means that they got to play a lot of Minecraft.

No worries though! It turns out that Minecraft is edu-ma-ca-tion-al.

In the three days since school has let out, I have witnessed my children use their obsessions with Minecraft to build on several very important academic subject areas:

Math: Sam and Quinn spent a substantial amount of time on Saturday doing extensive math problems to figure out how many…somethings they needed to…do something having to do with Minecraft.

See? Aaaallll kinds of math.

Reading: Quinn loves to read—as long as what he’s reading features big cartoon drawings. He briefly began a love affair with the Magic Treehouse Books, but then he discovered Captain Underpants and his non-cartoony chapter books phase ended.

Do you want to know how to get him to read big chunks of text on a page though? Make it a wiki about Minecraft.

"Mom, please can I read?"

Collaboration and family bonding: My kids spend a fair amount of their time acting like they want to kill each other. Yet if you put something interesting about Minecraft on the computer, they will all cram into one chair to pore over it.

IMG_0067Chorus: I wandered past Quinn and Jack playing at a computer today. Quinn was playing Minecraft and Jack was humming the exact same song as was playing on the screen. He does that all the time. It is one of my favorite things about him. No worries that he doesn’t have a weekly music class anymore; Jack is keeping his vocal chords primed and ready.

Art: Every single ding dang day my kids use reams of paper making Minecraft-themed drawings. These are some of Jack’s. He actually drew them at school. I was too lazy to walk into the living room to take photos of today’s art that was on the coffee table.


Also, these are in color and today’s are black and white, so I thought you might like these more.

Writing: The real coup d’etat is ‘Til the End, a group blog written by all three of my kids that they started today.

'Til the EndA couple of weeks ago, Jack said he wanted to write a blog about Minecraft and even though part of me was all, “nooooooooo,” another part of me was all, “Dayum, this is a fantastic way to (a) encourage Jack to write, (b) teach Jack to type more fluently, and (c) entertain the hell out of me.”

It will not, however, serve as a lesson in grammar unless I decide that my editing their work for proper punctuation is more important than their artistic integrity. I’m stuck on that one.

I mean, the kid capitalized “Bloggers,” for the love of God. Clearly he needs to learn a little something about bloggers and how we are most definitely a lower-case “b” group of people.

Jack eventually let Sam take over the typing and he took on more of a "creative mastermind" role.

Jack eventually let Sam take over the typing and he took on more of a “creative mastermind” role.

I figure that by the end of the summer one of two things will have happened: They will have lost interest and abandoned their blog almost immediately or they will be fluent in HTML.

They are welcoming comments over there, so if you like Minecraft, you’re welcome to hop on over. They are also looking for topics that you’d like to hear about in their future blog posts.

In the meantime, I plan on not feeling the slight bit bad about letting my children play hours and hours of Minecraft this summer because of the, you know, LEARNING. You all have fun with your summer homework packets though.

14 thoughts on “Minecraft as Summer Learning

  1. And guess what? They can play with MY kids, who will likely be reading your kids’ blog a lot. Andy is going to be SO happy.

    Yes, it is educational! They have to gather the materials to make the stuff. We’re going to be making a Live Minecraft World in my mom’s yard (yes, I’ll let you guys know when its ready), so Andy will be learning about handling tools and construction. And he’s been learning all about metal and alloys. The bad part is that anything yellow is called “butter” and he insists on only wearing “butter” (Quinn would be so proud). I have no idea why yellow is now “butter.”

  2. omg – my girls are obsessed… OBSESSED with minecraft! i believe this is a brilliant article! i cannot tell you how many drawing i now have of ‘creepers’ decorating my home… they even have one at ‘five guys burgers’! also… any pop music they listen to? yep, total minecraft spoofs of popular songs. *sigh*

    i must send them over to the blog – this way they can get a ‘girls point of view’!

  3. If you replace the word Minecraft with pretty much any other major PC gaming experience…or Star Wars, then this could be our house.
    And I’ve been trying in vain to get our boys to write a blog for YEARS.

    Also, we LOVE Captain Underpants! We have a photo of our youngest dressed as him for a dress-as-your-favourite-fictional-character themed day at their old school when he was wee. It is a challenge, let me tell you, to design a CU costume that is suitable to wear all day at school, is decent and still looks like a guy wearing only underpants and a cape.

  4. I’ll have to show their blog to Q. Especially if they discuss mods. Do you let them download mods? And can they download the mods themselves? Q really wanted one mod but we couldn’t get it to work. She asked me if I could get it for her. I took one look at the suggested method of download and told her to ask the computer guy — Dad.

    • We haven’t done mods yet, but I think it’s going to happen soon. The problem is that I keep asking them to ask their computer guy (also Dad) and he keeps punting back to me.

  5. One of the camps in our area has a “science of minecraft” week and we looked at it for Michael but it happens to be the week we are on vacation. You are so smart, because this is the same thing, but SO MUCH CHEAPER.

  6. And you can expect my son to follow your kids! He is obsessed with Minecraft too. And now I don’t feel bad about it either.. So thanks!

  7. This is so cool! I can’t wait to show my son. He watches You Tube videos of people playing Minecraft and whatever else goes on in that game. I have an iPad version for him. I think he will think it’s really neat that kids are in charge of the blog! Cool!

  8. My children have not discovered the world of Minecraft…yet. I keep waiting for one of them to ask about it. But I know that will open an entire can of wo—no, creepers. Right?

    Hope the Minecrafting and blogging and ed-u-ma-ca-tion-ing continue to go well!

  9. Minecraft has motivated my 8 yr old to start learning java so he can make his own mod’s….however mommy has been left administering the private minecraft server we set up so he can play with his friends ….next lesson networking :)

  10. “Thatssssss a VERY nice idea you have” I have a 10 (soon to be 11 yr old) AND a 6 yr old who is turning 7 July 13 and they are OBSESSED with this game!! SO much so that we are doing a minecraft party for the 6 yr old, and when I saw “minecraft” i mean MINECRAFT!! I have been working for MONTHS on this party. We have lifesize Stevie, a lifesize pig,lifesize creeepers (yes creeeperSSS plural)I’m in the process of a lifesize cow. Then I have been collecting boxes from EVERYWHERE so they can have lifesize levels outside and a minecraft scavenger hunt (with blocks that i’ve cut and taped HOURS worth of work but worth it for my little man) a ghast pinata, and Ive been cutting pink,black,white squares out of construction paper to make smaller minecraft characters on the walls AND TONS OF MINECRAFT FOODS! I’ve been on pinterest and used the everyones ideas and hope it will be all that he wants!! I will post photos as soon as the party happens and hope I can inspire others! (it winds up being pretty cheap which was nice!!!) I know it’s not all educational but just wanted to give you other moms some ideas because you seem to be in the same “minecraft” situation I’m in! Keep calm and creep on ladies!!!!

  11. So true, my 11 year old wrote a great poem about minecraft and published it on her blog! It made me look at the time she spends playing the game in a different way!

  12. Pingback: Transforming the Way We Learn: 4 New Ways Kids Can Learn with Minecraft » K12 - Learning Liftoff - Free Parenting, Education, and Homeschooling Resources

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