Prior to April 2013, I’d never heard of Minecraft. Then one day, my 6 year old started talking about it. And since then, the word “Minecraft” has come up in conversation every day, multiple times a day. At first, like the attentive mother I try to be, I paid absolutely no mind to my son’s newly found interest. After a couple of months, though, I asked a friend if Minecraft was appropriate for a young child to play, and since it was, I purchased the game for my kid’s X-Box.
The result of that purchase has since had a life-changing effect on my son and our house.
By now, I have come to learn that Minecraft is nowhere near a new game but rather has been around for more than four years. Having said that, it seems to still be quite alive and new for a second generation of young fans. It’s everywhere: at school, on the playground, at Christopher’s house, at Amelia’s house, and on YouTube in huge volumes.
Through the conversations and tutorials my young son has given me, I’ve learned a lot about the game itself plus I’ve expanded my vocabulary, as well. Though I haven’t yet began to build my own world in Minecraft, both my kids have multiple worlds and dimensions, full of extravagant structures, wild and pet animals, pools, trains and so much more.
One day, my son started to tell me about a parkour. He spoke with such excitement about his plans to build one and what he would include. I’d never heard of the word and wasn’t sure my son was actually using a real word. I had to look it up. Then I sat down and looked at the creation that my son so proudly described to me. I was amazed. He’s six years old. How did he know how to do that?
He watches Minecraft Family on YouTube, which means I have to listen to it. Under supervision, I let him watch because from what he sees and learns, he is able to apply to his own worlds. The creativity that streams forth from this video game is astonishing, not only within the game itself, but in the real world as well, as the kids and their friends not only play Minecraft on the playground but also discuss among themselves how to build and create or how to thwart Endermen.
It’s truly wonderful to see the imagination that flows from our children’s minds, as they wonder themselves how life would be if they could dig for diamonds or debate whether an iron or gold sword is more durable than an emerald or diamond sword.
Recently, my son and I were in Upstate New York, enjoying a weekend away. We were outside admiring the Fall landscape and decorations on the grounds of the B&B. I mentioned that I thought the tree with the light-colored bark was a birch tree, to which he confirmed. He plants and collects birch trees for their wood in order to build crafting tables and underground bases in Minecraft.
There are so many more instances where my kid has wondered, created, asked, made a connection to, or questioned something due to his Minecraft exposure. Though there are times when we need to limit our actual Minecraft game time, I do appreciate what it has brought to my son… except for the time he asked me how animals really have babies…
About the Author: Ezra Melino is a writer for everything from science, technology, gaming and more.