The lockdowns and social distancing restrictions due to COVID19 have resulted in limited social interaction. Online games are a good alternative for social interaction during this period. According to the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA), “play is a vehicle for learning.”
Furthermore, CPHA recognizes “unstructured play”— the kind of play where children pursue their interests, instincts and ideas without a specific outcome as a critical component to a child’s well-being and development.
Minecraft is considered a sandbox kind of game. A kid can just jump into it and play. Sandbox games can be considered as unstructured play because it can be played without a preconceived objective or output and can help in your child’s development.
Key Points at a Glance
- Playing helps develop life skills
- Minecraft can enhance your child’s social skills
- Minecraft as a form of “unstructured play” can help in your child’s development
Is Minecraft Good for Your Child’s Brain?
Minecraft can provide both structured and unstructured play and support your child’s intellectual development in the following aspects:
- Hone social skills and teamwork – Depending on the setting, your child can meet different players or computer-generated players. They can learn how to run a store or run a village together.
- Develop self-awareness – Being able to do anything in the Minecraft world can empower your child to do lots of things.
Logic and reasoning – Encountering monsters or “creepers” along the way can challenge your child’s decision-making skill. Monsters come out during nightfall and kids can exercise their math skills in deciding if they can make it to the next village or shelter before the creepers come out.
Minecraft Offers Valuable Future Work Skills
In the world of Minecraft, project planning skills can be developed! Projects such as building a shelter can only be accomplished within a certain amount of time.
Your child’s character called an avatar cannot work 24/7. Avatars get hungry and sleepy too and can only work during day time! They teach kids to manage their time accordingly, one of the most important skills in project management and in maintaining a work life balance!
Minecraft Enhances Life Skills
In a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) article, it was mentioned that the World Health Organization (WHO) defines life skills as competencies and skills that “help people make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathize with others, and cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner.”
By playing Minecraft, social skills (communication), self-awareness (own agency), logic and reasoning (decision-making) are developed.
Minecraft Teaches Kids the Benefits of Teamwork
A parent can set up a Minecraft server for their kids, who in turn can learn how to manage their own village while playing. The latter will start to appreciate teamwork once they start their own restaurant. A particular child can act as the supplier for the other child’s restaurant. Both kids need to work together or else the restaurant would not have anything to serve to customers.
Parents can point out to children how teamwork can extend to the real world. Like doing their part in a group assignment to ensure that work is distributed among group members. If they work together, they can “serve” their assignment to their teacher.
Minecraft Can Improve a Child’s Creativity and Imagination
Minecraft is a safe and alternative place where kids can practice their creativity and imagination. A child can use it for both structured and unstructured play, with or without playmates. It is indeed a “sandbox” for countless possibilities.
Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA). (2019, March 12). Children’s Unstructured Play Position Statement. Canadian Public Health Association. https://www.cpha.ca/childrens-unstructured-play
Kiang, D. (2018, February 13). Can Minecraft teach team building? International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). https://www.iste.org/explore/In-the-classroom/Can-Minecraft-teach-team-building%3F
Life skills. (n.d.). International Bureau of Education – UNESCO. http://www.ibe.unesco.org/en/glossary-curriculum-terminology/l/life-skills
Stone, T. (2017, February 23). How To Minecraft. Minecraft. https://www.minecraft.net/en-us/article/how-minecraft