If you haven’t yet heard of Minecraft, let this post be your introduction. If your child is age five or older, you’re going to hear about it sooner than later.

I don’t even know how it happened. One minute Ben was watching Thomas the Train and the next minute he’s a superstar builder on this odd looking game. Not only does he play but he watches other people play on YouTube (of course, I set limits on all of this consumption).

What is Minecraft? It’s a game where you can create buildings using 3D blocks within a vast world. It’s kind of like Lego online. Except the days can turn into nights and you can encounter animals, spiders, and even zombies. As I’m learning more about it I realize it’s more like a toy than a game. But it’s also more than a game. It’s a passion or obsession…I’m not sure yet. Over the holidays, I grew a little concerned about Ben’s desire to play and watch other people play Minecraft. While I made sure he was watching kid-friendly content only, I wasn’t clear about the effects of it on his still growing brain! So I did a little research. Here’s what I learned:

  • Since 2009 Minecraft has sold over 70 million copies worldwide (whoa. So it’s very popular)
  • The game is being used in schools  across the globe as an educational tool.
  • Because Minecraft is an open-ended game, it forces players to explore on their own accord. I like this because it teaches kids how to problem solve, learn geometry, and use their imagination.
  • The game can be played with other people outside of the home BUT you don’t have to let that happen. Kids need to log onto a server in order to do this. I will only let Ben play on his own. He doesn’t know about the possibility of playing with others.

I do let Ben watch some YouTube videos on Minecraft but I have limits on how long he can watch. The only channels I allow him to watch are Stampy, Thinknoodles, and SethBling.

If you want more information about Minecraft for kids, I came across this great mom blog called MineMum.

Have your kids discovered Minecraft? How do you feel about it?