I should have known what was going to happen. I’ve been
addicted to… um, IN LOVE WITH Minecraft myself for years, so it shouldn’t have been a shocker for me when I introduced it to my then 5-year-old that he’d go bonkers for it, too.
I’m a gamer. My wife is not.
So, when we first discussed the question of video games and our son, I knew the conversation might be set to Hard Mode. I explained that Minecraft was basically like playing with LEGOs on a computer, and it was something I really wanted to share with him, teaching him and playing together. So I won her over.
He LOVED it immediately, though he started out just watching me play.
He was hooked, constantly asking when we’d play next, begging for more time. My wife was a bit taken aback. It was the first thing he’d ever been so wildly obsessed with.
When he watched me play, he’d scream and laugh when we were attacked. His eyes would become little moons when we discovered gold or diamonds. He asked a million questions at my side, and finally started bossing me around enough that it was clear it was time for him to take the keys.
At first, I controlled his movement while he controlled where we were looking, until finally he was playing by himself.
Something started to happen, though. He started becoming a bit of a jerk after too much playing. And it wasn’t like he was throwing tantrums more than normal, it was that before Minecraft he really didn’t EVER turn into a nasty little monster. Needless to say, my wife was very much not a fan.
We started rationing screen-time, of course, and I had an idea about how to make Minecraft more than just gaming, to make it educational.
I created a world for my 5yo, building a Minecraft replica of our house. Here’s a side-by-side walkthrough video (no sound).
Once completed, but before I let my little Minecraft lunatic loose in the world, I created a bunch of “adventures” for him; quests to find hidden chests loaded with treasures.
He was a beginner at reading and math, so I set up signs he had to read himself, that then led to other signs, some with basic addition problems, which finally led to the chest.
After he was done being blown away by the house, I told him where to start his first adventure.
He was almost trembling with excitement and worked really hard to read the clues, worming his tongue around in concentration, until finally he squealed with delight when he found the chest! He opened it up with Christmas-morning fever and…
IT WAS EMPTY! I’d forgotten to load it with prizes!!!
At which point I totally lost it, laughing hysterically at my exquisite fail, after so much work! And, thankfully, he started laughing, too.
There were plenty of other adventures (with actual treasure at the end of their quests), but we were chuckling for days at my anticlimactic flop.
Since then, we’ve spent countless hours playing together as father and son Minecraft
addicts, ehem, I mean fans. Good times!
Just one more block…