Only a few video games stand the test of time and capture players year after year, and Minecraft is one of them. Since the game’s release over a decade ago, Minecraft has experienced steady growth and sales officially topped 200 million last year with an estimated 126 players a month.
The unique game allows players to create their worlds out of building blocks either by themselves or with friends. And while the concept seems simple at its core, the game can also be used in the classroom to help kids of all ages learn important skills. Here are a few of the educational benefits of Minecraft that your kids can experience this year at summer camp.
Computer Programming Skills
Perhaps one of the most tangible benefits of Minecraft is that it introduces children as young as 10 to computer programming. Younger children are technology natives, meaning they’re incredibly comfortable using computers. However, it can still be difficult to keep them engaged in learning new technology skills.
The experts at Tech.co explained that Minecraft not only gets kids to try coding, but gamifies it so they continue to learn and even master this new, and often advanced skill. Kids become comfortable building worlds in Minecraft with the available resources, but can also take things a step further and make changes (known as modifications) to the game. As kids learn simple coding, they can give their characters, objects, and landscapes unique characteristics that make their landscapes one-of-a-kind.
For many kids, Minecraft is their first introduction to computer programming and coding. As they create their own world, they can imagine and see firsthand how their custom mods improve or change the game, which can inspire them to be more focused and engaged with these skills in general.
Strategic Thinking & Problem Solving
Minecraft is an incredibly engaging and fun game so many times kids don’t even realize the lessons they’re learning while they play. Other skills kids can learn through the video game are strategic thinking and problem-solving.
Minecraft requires players to overcome challenges and use their creativity to build their own world. The sandbox game is truly dynamic, and kids must strategically choose between different tools to reach their goal. There’s no one right way to do things in Minecraft, and players must use their experience, knowledge, and creativity to create their ideal world, no matter what that looks like.
As kids advance through school, they gain a better understanding of how everything they’ve learned fits together in real life. For instance, they can see how at a grocery store their math and language skills are of the utmost importance as they purchase food that fits in their budget and check out. Another benefit of Minecraft is that it helps players learn how all pieces of the game can fit or can be fitted together.
Microsoft Educator Center explained that players can see how their actions fit into the bigger picture, not just the individual. Kids use blocks and tools to create entire landscapes and worlds and they can see how making one choice can influence many others further down the line. Systems thinking can also help children understand how their actions in life and school can affect their surroundings and the bigger picture.
How can a virtual game connect us? The Journal reported that many teachers have observed that playing Minecraft during class positively impacts their students’ decision-making and communication skills. While the video game can be played individually, having kids work together to build worlds and gather resources can help them learn the value of teamwork and they can start to build empathy skills.
As students acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to play Minecraft, they also learn how to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, and show empathy for others. Educators can use Minecraft as a team-building activity for students to help teach their peers new skills. Having a common interest can also help kids establish and maintain positive relationships at school and make responsible decisions while keeping other children’s emotions in mind.
Flexibility and adaptability can be skills that are hard for children (and even adults for that matter) to comprehend. Students can often feel like they’ve failed when something goes wrong or don’t know how to stop a minor problem from snowballing into a larger issue.
As we said, there’s no right or wrong way to play Minecraft. Players can choose to build their own worlds, complete challenges, or participate in mini-games, but at the end of the day, it’s an open-ended game. There’s no pressure to win or lose and kids can experiment with all kinds of building styles along the way. They learn to be flexible, patient, and adaptable as they work in the Minecraft universe.
Minecraft at Summer Camp
Summer camps are a great way to ensure your child has a fun summer diving into their favorite subjects while avoiding brain drain. Summer at Buckingham Browne & Nichols Schools offers students of all ages an opportunity to learn more about coding, math, and more.
Our Specialty Camps for students in grades 5 through 12 are dedicated to a specific academically inspired activity for a week of focused learning with some of our own BB&N faculty. Summer camp is incredibly engaging, as we use interactive and fun games to help students learn while making new friends! We even offer a Minecraft camp!
Contact our team today to learn more about our summer camp programs for children of all ages.