This is how!
I admit it, I love Minecraft. I love how I can create my dream house, have my very own rainbow sheep farm, and ride horses to random adventures. I love finding diamond treasures in dangerous caves and climbing super high mountains to see the views during the sunset. Minecraft was fun for me since I remember.
As a mother, I wanted to share my love for Minecraft with my four-year-old twins!
I wanted to show them, why I loved it so much! So, my husband & I created our very own family server which we used to introduce our kids to Minecraft. [If you like to create your own low-cost on-demand Minecraft server for your family, it's super easy, you can do it here ]
As soon as we showed our twins Minecraft, they went wild. They started laughing and thanking us for allowing them to play with this fun looking game. They realized that each one of them was a little human, and they have an entirely digital world to explore together, built, ruin, create, and destroy! They spend hours just flying around exploring. Sometimes, they were collaborating towards a common goal, some others, they were being cheeky bothering each other in the game, and some other times they were playing fun hide and seek games in Minecraft. But at some point, they wanted more.
My twins wanted to build tall Minecraft buildings from materials they liked in real life such as cobblestones and wool.
So they started asking me for help. They wanted me to find them the items they were looking for in the inventory and FAST! They were getting frustrated and bored in scrolling around the inventory until they find the items they wanted.
But for me, it was too time-consuming helping them. If every time they played Minecraft I had to sit there and help them find everything they wanted, it meant I could not do any household jobs. I couldn’t do the laundry, I couldn’t do the dishes, I couldn’t cook lunch! But I wanted to use some of the time they were playing Minecraft, to do the household chores. We needed a solution!
So, I thought of teaching them how to use the SEARCH property of their inventory. I would tell them the sound of the letter, and they would find the letter on the keyboard, just like the video here.
If they couldn’t find what they were looking for, just by the sounds of each letter, they would bring me a paper and pen to write the letters in the capital (just as they are on the keyboard) and I would also add a small drawing of what that word represents. For example, if they couldn’t write an apple just from sounds, I would write APPLE and draw a little apple! Since I am naturally bad at keeping things super tidy, I would lose my note every time, and I would have to make a new one every time the twins played Minecraft.
As time progressed, my kids were asking for fewer and fewer words but they were still using the “SEARCH” property of Minecraft inventory to find the items they needed. They will still use a variety of items, and they even started having more advanced experiences, such as taming and riding horses, breeding animals, and crafting! How did they do it?
They learned how to spell the items they wanted!
Yes, they were spelling their own words. They could write bucket, they could write eggs, they could write pumpkin, they could write wool! It was amazing to see them acquiring these skills in such a fun and independent way! In fact, I still remember one day, when one of my twins asked her sister how do we spell magma, as she wanted to use magma for a trap room in her house, and her sister spelled it for her! I saw my kids gaining skills from a game I love so much!
I saw my kids learning reading and writing unsupervised while laughing and living their adventures. Even more amazing, the started reading words in real life, and it all started from playing Minecraft and a mother who was too busy to actually help!
I wonder, how many more things can my girls learn from Minecraft and other creative games. Learning doesn’t always have to be structured and with a way we find proper!
Learning can occur in many unconventional and fun ways!
A little bit about myself: I am a scientist mum of twins. I create videos with quick STEM educational activities for young kids and parents/educators to watch and play together, in parallel to the video. My videos are design in a very unique and playful way, encouraging kids to feel happy and excited for science activities so they can have fun and learn:) Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/c/PausePlay/