Yesterday and today my 10 year old daughter and I played Minecraft for at least six combined hours. What fun we had together!
Playing Minecraft as we did is absolutely a “flow” experience for me, and likely for her as well. We lose track of time, as we are so engrossed and engaged in what we are doing. My 16 year old son has played Minecraft a little with me in the past, teaching me some basics, but that experience was very different from playing with Rachel this weekend. Rachel and I are both very new to the game, while Alexander is an amazing expert. Our engagement and enjoyment in playing the game together stems from multiple factors, including:
- The excitement and danger of playing in “survival mode” where we’re periodically threatened by monsters (MOBS) and have to cooperate to survive.
- The fun of learning new “recipes” (using the Minecraft wiki) to build new objects
- The fun of creating new buildings together, like our house
- The excitement of discovering and exploring a new virtual world together
- The challenge of constantly solving problems to overcome challenges and reach goals we set for ourselves
- The fun of teaching each other new things and building new items/structures together (neither of us are “experts,” we’re both novice learners)
- The fact that we periodically had to “start over” (almost) since we got killed by hostile MOBs
Alexander had taught me how to make a crafting table, a furnace, how to create basic weapons and tools, how to mine, and how to build. I’ve spent some time in “creative mode” building with and alongside my students in MinecraftEDU, but this weekend was the longest period of time I’ve played in “survival mode” in regular Minecraft.
Here is a partial list of some of the cool things I learned to do in Minecraft for the first time this weekend with Rachel:
- How to make a bow and arrows
- How to make different kinds of armor from iron and leather
- How to use the Minecraft coordinate system (viewable by pressing function F3) to navigate back to a point of origin (this is a HUGE thing, given other items on this list… overall, my general sense of situational awareness in the virtual world of Minecraft really improved, and I was able to do MUCH better not easily getting lost as I have in the past!)
- How to change my Minecraft player “skin” (I’m currently playing as “wolf boy“)
- How to make glass
- How to tunnel through a mountain to make a speedy shortcut for later use
- How to create and label a custom sign
- How to make paper
- How to make a compass and a map (though we didn’t make the map just yet)
- How to create a fast shelter when you’re caught out after dark
- How to go to bed to avoid night when the monsters come out
- How to prepare the ground and plant seeds
There were undoubtedly more things I learned, but those are some of the highlights. I learned a lot more about Minecraft earlier this semester from my son in getting ready for a series of lessons at school in my STEM classroom using MinecraftEDU. I definitely feel WAY more savvy / literate / fluent / capable in Minecraft after this weekend’s series of playing and building times with Rachel.
Gaming with your own kids can be a lot of fun!
Now it’s time for REAL bed!
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