The pandemic gave education a paradigm shift, with teaching and learning no longer tied to a physical location. Online learning has become the best option for the continuity of education despite social distancing restrictions.
With this new normal, it is important to guide children on the platforms to use online, including the games or apps they utilize, and to ensure that these would be beneficial to them.
- Minecraft is a great way to introduce STEAM (Science, Technology, Art, Math) to children
- Minecraft supports a curious mind
- Life skills can be developed through play
Researchers from the Radboud University in the Netherlands reported that playing video games has a positive effect on children. Scenarios encountered in games help develop “life skills” needed by children as they progress through adulthood.
According the World Health Organization, there are five basic areas of “life skills” that are relevant to develop among children across cultures, these are:
- Decision-making and problem-solving
- Creative thinking and critical thinking
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Self-awareness and empathy
- Coping with emotions and coping with stress
Playing with others, be it online or in real life lets children experience social scenarios that will hone one or any of the life skill areas mentioned above. How can a game such as Minecraft further your child’s development?
Is Minecraft Educational?
Yes. Minecraft provides an educational experience for kids. The education direction now is focused on STEAM — the intersection of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. A game like Minecraft is a great way to introduce STEAM education to children.
You can help your child appreciate Minecraft better by helping them identify the STEAM aspects of the game. In a Lifehack article, Minecraft was likened to “a limitless container of Lego blocks.” You can build anything with it!
If your kid builds a structure, that’s a STEAM lesson in itself! If your kid builds a house, they need to determine how many blocks to use, how to stack them so the house will be structurally sound, how the structure will look after and if it will serve its purpose as a shelter.
Why Minecraft Is Good for Kids
Minecraft is a good environment for kids to experience life skills. In the game, there are giant spiders called “creepers” that feed on avatars. This kind of situation challenges a child’s decision-making and problem-solving skills. Will they run or hide? Creative thinking and critical thinking will kick in next, if they chose to hide, how or where? Will they find a shelter or build a shelter?
This kind of situation will build a self-awareness in them that they can do things to prevent things and they can develop foresight. In the event that they think they have done everything to save their avatar but it still got eaten by creepers, be sure to help them find the lesson from that experience.
That scenario can teach children that sometimes, mistakes or failures are inevitable and they should just see those as lessons and not as a dead-end or as “gameover”.
Does Minecraft Make Kids Smarter?
Online games such as Minecraft can make kids “smarter” in the sense that they are encouraged to learn by building and not by just memorizing. Being able to build something can help children to be more self aware and empowered.
Minecraft Develops Career Skills
Life skills are important in career building. Self-awareness — a life skill — is important to know what one wants in a game or in any situation. Conversely, the game provides situations that require teamwork. It offers kids an opportunity to learn how to balance their wants and needs and at the same time strike a bargain or compromise with a team as needed.
Minecraft Supports a Curious Mind
Minecraft is a game that is recommended for curious young learners. It offers a platform for kids to learn how to create and share boundaries. By giving the youth the opportunity to develop essential life skills, Minecraft offers kids a door to endless possibilities.
Alton, L. (n.d.). 10 Reasons Why Minecraft Is Beneficial for Your Kids. Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/10-reasons-why-minecraft-beneficial-for-your-kids.htmlDepartment Of Mental Health Social Change And Mental Health Cluster. (1999). Partners In Life Skills Education – Conclusions From A United Nations Inter-agency Meeting. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/mental_health/media/en/30.pdfInstitute for Arts Integration and STEAM. (n.d.). What is STEAM Education? Arts Integration. https://artsintegration.com/what-is-steam-education-in-k-12-schools/Vitelli Ph.D., R. (2014, February 10). Are There Benefits in Playing Video Games? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/media-spotlight/201402/are-there-benefits-in-playing-video-games