Minecraft Basics for Moms
You have heard your kids talk about it. You have seen the t-shirts and toys at the store. Minecraft is everywhere and I don’t see it going away anytime soon.
Minecraft is an interesting game in several ways. It is described as a sandbox game. A sandbox game means that they can build whatever they want and play however they want. It means the player can roam the Minecraft “world” they are in and build, dig or change things however they want to in the game. This is different from most games that have defined rules.
So now what? You buy the game for your children and don’t know where to start or what to do.
There are basically two modes in the game. Survival and Creative mode. Survival mode means just that. You have to survive. You need to fight off the monsters and get food and shelter to live through the night. Creative mode means you are invincible from getting hurt by monsters and can fly. It is meant for the players to build their own creations, and they have endless supplies to do it with. It is like playing with virtual Lego’s. They can build whatever they want.
There are things called realms and servers.
Realms are through Microsoft and are a safe way for kids to play with their friends. You pay a small fee each month to host a realm and invite players of your choice to join the realm. These are usually real-life friends that also have the game. They can type back and forth or talk over Skype and build things together. The great thing about realms is that they aren’t complicated. You don’t need to know how to run a website or a server to have one. Microsoft does it for you.
Servers are hosted by someone else and are usually public. Picture it like a playground. Most of the kids there will be totally fine to play with but then you have some that you aren’t sure about. There are some creepos over by the swings you want to avoid, and the bully by the slide you might think twice about talking to. Some of the servers are family friendly but most are not, so you should watch out for swearing and cheating.
If you are just starting out I would really consider a realm if your kids want to play with their friends. You as a parent can monitor what is going on and can decide who they play with and enforce rules, like no swearing and no destroying each other’s “builds”
Minecraft can seem overwhelming to learn but I think the best place to start for more in-depth information is Minecraft Wiki It is loaded with information on everything you would need to know to actually play the game.
Minecraft has its own language.
You will come across different terms inside the game that with sound completely foreign. Builds, Griefing, Skins, Worlds, Creepers, Mobs and so on. You just need to know the basics. Familiarize yourself with some of these terms so that you know what your child is talking about. If they start talking about creepers you will want to know that they are the bad guys in the game not a scary person online. I think the first time I heard my son mention that, I almost shut down the whole game. You can Google terms online but I found a glossary on minemum.com that was super helpful.
There is so much that you can do with Minecraft. There are servers dedicated to learning just for that reason. Kids learn math skills because they have to do multiplication and adding to figure out what they need to build and craft different things. They learn to type with their friends in the chat box. This was my secret weapon to help teach my dyslexic son to read and spell. He wanted so much to be able to communicate with his friends that he really picked up on a lot of words through playing the game. Words he struggled to spell before “chatting” became easy for him.
It gives them opportunities to be creative.
I have seen my youngest son build some amazing things in Minecraft including a virtual piano. It actually plays music! So, let them get creative and explore. You don’t have to let them play on the survival mode or even online. Minecraft can be played alone as well. You even have the option to turn off the chat.
Minecraft has so much to offer. Even if you are a little hesitant, you should take the time to consider it. If you have questions leave them in the comments and I will try to answer them in upcoming articles.