Parent Tool Box: The Unofficial Parent's E - Guide to 'Minecraft'

Minecraft is a sandbox game across all platforms. First released for PC in 2011 by Mojang, it quickly morphed into a household name. Proof that game play can trump graphics.

Minecraft creates endless possibilities with ways to customize the map to your specific goals. There’s even an education edition!

Yes! You can use the game to teach almost anything, including social skills! We’re going to talk about some of those possibilities, and how you can use Minecraft as a tool in your Parent Tool Box.

I also created a Free 10 page Unofficial Parent’s E-Guide to Minecraft you can download here. In it I talk about each of the game modes, different ways to play them, and our favorite Minecraft resources! Note: This is NOT a beginner’s guide to Minecraft and Microsoft and Mojang are not affiliated with this guide in any way.

[SEE ALSO: Minecraft: The Exhibition Gets Its World Premiere at MoPop]

Screen Time

The American Pediatrics Association recommends a max of two hours for screen time a day, although new studies suggest it’s less about time, and more about interaction. Minecraft can be used to interact with your child and work on a variety of skills, even if they aren’t old enough to use a controller. It is complete customization to your child’s age and development level.


The brain is the most important muscle in your body, and the imagination is important to creating new ideas. Knowledge can be regurgitated, but imagination takes that knowledge and creates something new with it.

credit: Fearless Motivation

credit: Fearless Motivation

Minecraft is great for building imagination. I recommend your child’s Minecraft journey begin with a flat world, all creative options on, and let them go! Ask them what they are thinking, and work on reverse engineering their idea.

Executive Functioning

Executive Functioning has to do with seeing tasks through from idea to completion to over simplify.

I strongly recommend an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist if your concerned about any development delays.

Trains are a hyper focus in our house, so our first project with my six year old was an Amtrak Train. I had NO idea how to build one, so I found a tutorial online and we followed it together. We counted the number of blocks, named colors, hunted for pieces we needed, and had a blast doing it.

Reading / Typing

Signs are amazing. They’re great for finding your way back home, communicating things to people visiting your realm, and working on alphabet skills with your kids!

My kid loves making signs, and finding all the letters she needs with the controller. She’s interested in words and isn’t quite ready for reading, which she’s four so I’m cool with it. My six year old taught himself to read at two and comprehension is an issue.

One is learning letters, the other is learning reading comprehension.

Same game.

Warning: making signs in co-op mode will cause the whole television to be a keyboard, which may or may not upset the other player.

Growing up as a gamer, I always wanted my parents to meet me where I was at, and video games were a great way to do that. Now as an adult, I look for ways to help parents bridge the gap, and reconnect, not only with their child, but their own love for gaming and all things nerdy.

If you’re looking for a super basic beginner’s guide to playing Minecraft, I like this one.

To learn more about using the specific game modes in Minecraft to foster real world skills, download the unofficial guide here.

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