Naturally, parents get concerned when kids spend hours playing video games like Minecraft. We would much rather they spend hours learning. So get creative! Use the 10 ideas below to turn those endless hours of playing video games into summer learning activities for kids ages 5 to 11!
1. Addition and Subtraction – Teach addition and subtraction with Minecraft. Sit with your child during playtime and ask questions like, “If your wall is two squares high and you add three more squares, how many squares high will it be?” This is a great way to teach beginning word problems that your gamer will actually understand.
2. Geometry – Gamers are already building with 3D shapes while playing. Name the shapes your kids are using to build structures in Minecraft during playtime.
3. Multiplication – Grab a piece of paper and ask your child to draw a “wall” from the game. Then show your child how to use this chart to learn multiplication facts.
4. How to Make a 3D Model – This activity requires some supplies. Create 3D pieces inspired by shapes in the game and play real-world Minecraft at the table together. How? Find small wooden blocks or tissue boxes and paint them the color of the blocks in Minecraft!
5. How to Create a Diorama – Elementary students create a lot of dioramas in school. Use the video game to familiarize your child with this hands on project. Grab an old shoe box and gather small things that resemble the pieces used in the game like pigs, carrots, speckled eggs. Or create the Minecraft pieces with play dough! Your gamer can create his or her DREAM world, and use the diorama as room décor.
6. Blueprinting – Creating blueprints is a skill that will be great for school or professional futures. Distribute graphing paper and ask your child to draw a sketch of a structure from the game. After your gamer sketches the structure, he or she can build it in Minecraft.
7. Creative Writing – Ask your child write a story about his or her video game world. “Imagine living in your Minecraft world, what kind of adventures would you have?” Let the story stop at the first page, and then add to the story each day before or after playtime.
8. Communication – Children can learn how to communicate while playing together on Minecraft. This is very useful and helpful but, it’s recommended to monitor your child’s activity and know everyone that your child is friends with and playing with.
9. Hypothesis and Scientific Testing – Minecraft kids approach so many scenarios while playing. What if you added science lessons to playtime by writing down a hypothesis and testing it while playing. Let your gamer come up with his/her own thoughts about how different actions would affect the game; and then testing the hypothesis teaches them about the scientific testing process.
10. Computer Skills – Minecraft is one of the best games for children to learn basic computer programming skills. It’s also a great way to learn how to communicate effectively through electronic devices.
Want more Minecraft education? Check out the Learn to Mod Minecraft software that teaches kids ages 7+ how to code!
Amanda is an author, blogger, and mother of four from Central Illinois. She loves to play with her children and travel to new places.
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