The online Minecraft game continues to be the most popular thing going in our Sandwich Generation homes this week! My grandkids are currently building tree houses and, WOW! They look GRAND! With the fun, comes new cause for sparring, though. And, as always, that leads this grandma to research educational uses to nudge them in positive play activities.
It's not that easy. They'd rather do free play in their worlds than directed play. But if it's a choice between NO Minecraft time this afternoon or directed, they will usually choose the latter.
One idea I had this week was to have them listen to their homework, including the timeline they are working on, and pick something from those subject to build online.
Since we are studying the major events preceding the Civil War, with that topic coming next week, one grandchild chose to recreate Abraham Lincoln's one-room home in Kentucky where he was born. Then he and his brother each started working on the much larger home President Lincoln lived in many years later, complete with a three-hole outhouse. He did a great job and we ALL learned new facts about homes back then (I had never heard of an outhouse having multiple seats – had you? ).
One of the grandchildren tried to put a "burning fireplace" in his but his house "burned down." That gave us the chance to talk about fire safety in the real world, as well as learn the tricks to building a fireplace that burns safely in a Minecraft world.
The youngest grandson decided to work on the various types of an ocean floor. It was very simplistic but we discussed the different types as he worked, and hopefully helped to cement the information into his brain a bit tighter.
These turned out to be fun projects for all of us, though I doubt we'll do them more than once a week. And frankly, I always prefer one-on-one for something like this. It makes for fewer distractions and getting sidetracked. Still and all, I was quite pleased with our first "educational foray" into the fun world of Minecraft.
How about you? Have you tried using Minecraft for educational purposes? Got any helps, hints, tips, or links to share with us? We'd love to hear!