Would your kids love to play Minecraft nonstop this summer? While I would not suggest this as a recipe for a healthy and well-balanced summer, allowing kids access to Minecraft could help them practice and improve their executive-functioning skills. And in a summer where crowds, face to face interaction, and sleepovers are likely to be restricted, an online Minecraft get together might be a healthy alternative. Minecraft requires kids to think, learn from their experiences, and be creative, and the positive impact of Minecraft can be amplified when children play with other children, particularly when they engage in cooperative activities. It’s also an excellent way to sustain kids’ attention to specific tasks. Many of the projects and activities in Minecraft involve long-term planning and the need for sustained effort and attention.
Another way your kids might enjoy Minecraft for a limited amount of time with supervision is through our LW4K LIVE classes and camps on Outschool. These summer camps typically meet two to three times per week and allow kids to engage in ongoing projects with the same set of peers. Our teachers (known as gamer guides) coach kids to become better at Minecraft and, more importantly, demonstrate how to build executive-functioning skills with Minecraft by identifying and using these skills in the game. Our goal is to teach them how they can apply these same skills to the real world.
Before you set your kids free on Minecraft, I strongly encourage you to make sure they understand that screen time is only part of their summer days. It’s incredibly important for all kids, particularly those who might be alternative learners or have difficulty with attention or focus, to get outside, run around, and play. Play is one of the key ways that children learn, and that’s why using Minecraft can be helpful. Screen play is OK, but engaging in other forms of play helps children to be more balanced. Engagement in social, creative, and unstructured play builds their brains and bodies.
When they get back to Minecraft, there are a few ways they can get the most out of their gameplay. Here are a few summer activities and thoughts about how Minecraft can build brains and other talents:
Dear Kids: Your Parents Should Let You Play Minecraft – A letter kids might want their parents to read about Minecraft.
What’s So Great About Minecraft? – Describes some of the educational benefits of Minecraft.
Minecraft for Adults: How can parents and teachers learn about Minecraft – Describes some great tools so parents and teachers can figure out what their kids and students are doing on Minecraft.