It’s hard to remember a time in my parenting life without Minecraft.
It would’ve been around age 5 that my son requested we download it for him on the iPad because he’d seen older kids at his daycare playing it. Admittedly, I knew very little about the game, but moms with older kids had raved about it being educational and fueling their creativity.
Now that he’s turning 8, Minecraft seems like a part of his DNA. Last year he was Minecraft Steve for Hallowe’en, and my mom made him a creeper cupcake-cake for his birthday. During COVID, Minecraft has been a physically distanced space where he’s met up with his friends and even made new ones.
Minecraft really inspires his creativity and his imagination, something I witnessed as I was thrust into being his teacher suddenly this March.
Here are some activities inspired by Minecraft that my son enjoys outside of actually playing the game!
1. Minecraft Colour by Number
My son is not big into colouring and drawing. Anything I can do to make him pick up a pencil is great because his fine motor skills can use improvement. One thing he does ask to colour are Minecraft-inspired colour-by-number sheets. Being that all the imagery in the game is based on tiny squares, the colouring sheets are pretty satisfying to colour!
2. Minecraft Podcasts
I’ve talked before about some of our favourite podcasts, and Cub really enjoys listening to people talk about video games (almost as much as he loves playing video games or watching other people play them on YouTube).
He recommends these podcasts, and for the record, I have not vetted them:
3. Minecraft Perler Beads
Again, the craft lovers in our house are me and my daughter … Cub is only going to participate if it really piques his interest. Perler bead designs are made in a grid, not unlike the creatures and scenery in Minecraft.
Placing the perler beads on the templates is excellent fine-motor practice, and Cub enjoys the satisfaction of completing Minecraft-inspired creations.
There are lots of patterns online, but kids could also create their own!
We find most of our patterns here:
4. Minecraft Crossword Puzzles
One way I disconnect before going to sleep after I’ve finished doom-scrolling on social media is by doing a few crossword puzzles. Cub likes to watch and help me with easier clues. (To be fair, I prefer to do The New York Times “Monday” crosswords, so they’re pretty easy!) He mused how he would love to have a crossword that was about something he knew about … like … Minecraft! Luckily, they do exist. Filling in crossword puzzles is another great fine-motor activity, and it’s also good for spelling practice.
We’ve found these ones:
5. Minecraft Novels
The only thing Cub loves as much as video games is reading. Reading about videogames is pure bliss for him.
He also loves to read fiction inspired by his favourite games. There is a whole genre of books, official and unofficial, that take place either completely in Minecraft or centre on the lives of players who play Minecraft.
This series falls into the “unofficial” Minecraft novel category, and as far as Cub tells me, is in the same vein as The Wimpy Kid series.
When I found the first book in this series at the library, Cub was up far past his bedtime reading it, proclaiming it to be a true masterpiece. This officially sanctioned series is up to book 5 now.
The reading level on these books is much higher than the first two titles mentioned. Cub read the first one, The Island, on his own, but it took him a long time. We read the second one in its French translation together, and it took us many months of occasional bedtime reading to get through it. Each title is written by a different author.
Honorable mention to these other Minecraft-inspired titles he’s enjoyed:
- Friegel et Fluffy
- Popular MMOs: A Hole New World
- Minecraft Maps: An Explorer’s Guide to Minecraft
- Minecraft Graphic Novel
- Minecraft: The Survivors Book of Secrets
- Minecraft: Stories from the Overworld
- Tales of an 8-Bit Kitten
6. Minecraft Costumes
The first time I “crafted” a Minecraft accessory for Cub was when I used some cardboard and a printout of a Diamond sword to make him his own weapon. (There are different types of swords and armour—this is important for any Minecraft parent to know.) He played with it a lot so I guess it was a success!
Last Hallowe’en he wanted to be Minecraft Steve, who I suppose is the default Minecraft avatar? We initially downloaded these Minecraft printables to glue onto the perfect shaped box to make him a Minecraft Steve headpiece. But what we realized was that he could barely see out of it, and he wasn’t allowed to wear something that covered his whole face for Hallowe’en at school (my how times have changed …). With that in mind, I used paint and a smaller box to make him a Minecraft Steve … hat? We used a cardboard strip in a circle on the inside so that it would sit atop his head, and he had good visibility for trick or treating and at school was more than just a kid wearing jeans and a turquoise T-shirt!
Are your kids Minecrafting … outside of the game?