Does your child love Minecraft? He is certainly not an outlier. Minecraft is so popular that it has infiltrated school curriculums, whole YouTube channels are devoted to it, and even celebrities describe how much their children are into it. If your child seems to love Minecraft a little too much, he’s still not alone, but you are justified in wondering if it is good for him.
Minecraft may be one of the best games ever made for developing creativity and executive functioning, problem-solving, and computer coding skills, but your child can get too much of a good thing. By limiting himself to Minecraft, he is not just missing out on all types of other social, physical, unstructured, and creative play, but also on many other games that will challenge different parts of his brain.
Mastering new games and practicing new skills is not only helpful, it’s necessary. One of the best strategies making sure this happens is to introduce your child to other games that have similar features to Minecraft so that he is quickly engaged. Here are some of the games we recommend for kids who love Minecraft.
Eden – World Builder is a lot like Minecraft, in that players are given free rein over an in-game world with no rules and no goals. This touchscreen game is like a limitless set of LEGOS on your iPad, and unlike Minecraft each new world is completely randomized. Build your own or visit someone else’s creation. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
The Blockheads is another touchscreen Minecraft-y game for iPhone and iPad. Also playable on Mac desktops, The Blockheads offers friends and family the opportunity to build together. Like Eden – World Builder, The Blockheads starting gameworld is randomized.
LittleBIGPlanet has been a favorite since it hit the Playstation console in 2009. The puzzle platformer bears little resemblance to Minecraft, with high-definition graphics, realistic physics, and a fun story with clear missions and goals. Behind the main storyline, however, is the incredibly involved option to build entire levels that can be enjoyed, not only by the player who built them, but by anyone they are made available to.
Scribblenauts is another game with an engaging storyline and out-of-the-box twist. Rather than exist as a “sandbox” game in the traditional sense, Scribblenauts places players in situations with real goals and allows them to literally write-in their solution to whatever obstacle is in their path. Need to cut down a tree? Type in your tool of choice. Need to find ways to make a party fun? Enter your guests, food, and entertainment and see what happens.
Speaking of sandbox games, there’s The Sandbox, a game for Android and iOS devices where players create worlds from the bottom up. Players are given simple but specific tasks and allowed a plethora of materials with which to complete them. From boiling water to making a volcano erupt, players will have to think creatively and strategize to succeed. The Sandbox is the rare game that almost encourages mistakes, and these snafus can easily be erased.
Read more about what’s so great about sandbox games, why danger and video games are great for kids with ADHD, and how games like Minecraft can help kids with autism. You might also be interested to learn about why kids love to play video games.
Featured image: flickr user Miia Ranta