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Are you interested in creating a Minecraft unit study or including some Minecraft-related activities into your homeschool? I’ve got you covered with some fresh ideas and a free Minecraft Unit Study Printable in this post.
Whoever says that homeschool kids are “unsocialized” have clearly never seen my son out and about wearing his Minecraft creeper jacket. That kid can strike up a conversation with just about any other child about their common love of this phenomenon called Minecraft.
Video games sure have changed since I was a kid! (Back in the day…) Minecraft especially has become quite popular, and widely used not only for entertainment, but also for education. If you have a son or daughter that loves the game, you might have wondered how to use Minecraft in your homeschool.
I’m honestly blown away by the creativity and critical thinking my kids have displayed while collaborating in this “game”. And if your kids love Minecraft too, a Minecraft unit study or activity might be just the thing to get them excited about what you are studying!
What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a game where players create their own worlds using different materials they find within the game.
Minecraft is tough for me to play because…there are no rules (I like rules). My Lego-obsessed son picked it up quickly, probably because it’s a bit like building with virtual Lego (but no bricks to step on – bonus!). Kids can explore their creativity in the game and build pretty much anything they want to.
They can also play alone, or on a server with friends. There are two main modes to play in: “creative mode”, where you have access to anything you need to build to your heart’s content, or “survival mode” where you have to build a shelter and make weapons to survive mob attacks.
Before I knew much (ok, anything) about Minecraft, I was worried it might be a violent game. But, it’s really not. Creative mode is great for all ages; Survival Mode is rated for ages 10+ but kids slightly younger might be fine with it as well.
Benefits of Incorporating Minecraft Into Your Homeschool
Even though it’s a video game, there are many valuable concepts your kids can learn while playing that they will take into other areas of their lives.
Without even realizing it, your kids will be developing planning and organizational skills. They have to problem solve, especially in survival mode, if they want to figure out how to build a mob-resistant shelter and survive!
My son has learned how to research and look up how to do certain things in the game. And Minecraft has got to be great for his memory – the amount of things he has to remember in order to build or make something astounds me (I can’t even remember how to make a crafting table, let alone build anything on top of that).
While playing with friends, collaboration and working as a team are critical. Minecraft has given us many “opportunities” to instruct our kids in correct behavior towards their siblings! If they are using the chat feature to type, their typing skills might also improve.
Some kids may also eventually dig into the coding and programming aspect if they want to learn how to make their own mods (“modifications” to the original game).
Creative Ways to Use Minecraft in Your Homeschool
The other week, I had mentioned to my son that I needed to come up with a fun way to help my daughters practice their spelling words.
He asked me for a list they needed to practice, and dove into Minecraft creative mode where he build a spelling game for his sisters to play. I was amazed as he walked me through it – they had to enter the game, and were presented with two versions of the word (one spelled correctly, one misspelled). They had to choose the correct spelling, and it would let them move to the next word. Otherwise, they had to start back at the beginning.
Now, this took him quite a while to make (so I’m not sure it is very efficient each time we need to practice a new list!), but his creativity and how he was able to use different “commands” to put this together impressed me so much.
Minecraft Educational Activities
You don’t have to get this complex, though, when incorporating Minecraft into your homeschool. Here are just a few practical ideas you can have your kids try right away that span multiple subjects. Once you get going, I’m sure you’ll think of lots more!
- Use Noteblocks in the game to create your own music.
- Recreate any famous landmarks (or entire eras) you are studying in your homeschool.
- Build spelling words out with blocks.
- Write a short story about a world you created (or create a graphic novel about it!).
- Write a video game report about Minecraft.
- Create geometric shapes and calculate area, perimeter, or volume.
- Research the types of rocks used in Minecraft and make comparisons between the Minecraft version and “real life”.
Minecraft Unit Study
You can easily build an entire Minecraft unit study if you use this method in your homeschool. For example, you could pick a topic like biomes, and study the characteristics of different environments like forests and deserts (apparently there are 42 biomes in Minecraft, and you can even learn about them all here). Other topic ideas might be building shelters, ores & minerals, or geology and natural materials.
Next, you’ll want to plan out your timeline, the subjects you want to cover, and any extra activities you want to incorporate. In my free Minecraft Unit Study Planner you can grab below, I have created an easy space for you to record and map out all of this information.
Another way you can use Minecraft in your homeschool is by teaching your kids how to program and code mods for the game.
CodaKid offers Minecraft Coding Courses your kids can take online to learn Java programming and create unique mods they can share with friends.
Play With Them
Finally, I think it could be very valuable to spend some time sitting down and actually playing Minecraft with your kids.
This is hard for me, because I don’t necessarily love video games…but I love spending time with my kids, learning about something they enjoy. And they will love teaching you how to play and playing with you!
I actually challenged my son to make a “school” in Minecraft so I could go through different parts to learn different things. We are slowly working our way through it and we are both having a blast.
Minecraft Server for Homeschoolers
If you don’t already have Minecraft downloaded, you can play it on a variety of devices, including Nintendo, Xbox, Wii U, and PlayStation.
If you are interested in having your kids play with friends in a controlled, monitored environment, Skrafty is a great option. Skrafty is a dedicated, heavily monitored server just for homeschooling families. They also offer classes for homeschoolers that involve Minecraft builds for each lesson – so it’s a great option for bringing Minecraft into your homeschool!
Apex Minecraft Hosting is another great option if you want to create your own Minecraft server.
Grab Your FREE Minecraft Unit Study Planner
Putting together a Minecraft Unit Study is not only fun for your kids, but you’ll love seeing them learn about something interesting and engaging to them.
Grab my Minecraft Unit Study planner and get topic ideas, planning pages, notetaking templates and journal sheets for your own Minecraft Unit Study.
Recommended Minecraft Books for Kids
Have you used Minecraft in your homeschool or put together a Minecraft Unit Study? Share your favorite ways to use Minecraft in the comments!
And if you enjoy doing unit studies with your kids, you might enjoy these additional items from my shop:
- Video Game Inspired Activities for Your Homeschool
- Effortlessly Create and Organize a Homeschool Portfolio
- Free Printable Reward Punch Cards and 16 Ways to Use Them in Your Homeschool
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