Five Reasons Why You Should Play Minecraft with Your Child

I know. Your eyes are rolling to the back of your head and you’re thinking, “I’m so sick of my child talking about Minecraft!” That’s all my six-year-old has talked about for the past several months too. On the iPad, he plays Minecraft: Pocket Edition. He watches YouTube videos from a lady called Cupquake. He bought the Xbox360 version with his own cash. He wakes up in the middle of the night, sleep-walking into our bedroom like a Zombie and crying, “But I really like that MOD!” I thought his interest in Minecraft would come and go, just as it had with Angry Birds and Skylanders. But his obsession seems to be coursing steadily through his veins. Having no quick antidote to cure him, I did a parental unthinkable: I took a swig of the poison. I immersed myself into his pixelated world of mining and mobs. And if your child is Minecraft-crazed, you should play with him too.

Here’s why I’m glad I did:

  • I had no idea what my son was talking about 75% of the time: diamond swords, iron ingots, exploding Creepers. All day long, he would tell me about these strange things, and the only contribution I had to those conversations were alternating responses of, “Wow… Sounds neat… Huh?” Who sounds like the zombie now?
Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

  • After the first few minutes of playing with my son, I started to get it. I didn’t see validity for the obsession yet, but as he gave me the initial tour of Minecraft I finally began to understand the game. Suddenly, those bewildered half-conversations I’d been having with my child had a new perspective. The pixelated images made me feel a little nostalgic, and the different biomes of the Minecraft worlds are actually somewhat… pretty.
  • The way I pictured Minecraft in my head–based on phrases commonly uttered from my son like, “Whoa! I just blew up that dude with TNT!” or “Oh shoot, there’s a spider comin’ at me! I’m gonna die!”–was so much worse than the game’s actual images. The zombies in my head belonged in Night of the Living Dead. Instead, I found the kinda-cute Minecraft Zombie pictured above. When someone dies the screen gets reddish, but there are no gory death scenes to the extent I had envisioned.
  • It’s an opportunity–albeit a virtual one–to promote teamwork. When my son and I play together, he naturally takes on the hunter/gatherer role and I become the homemaker. Even though it’s not gory I’m still not fond of killing things. I build our shelter, and he gathers our supplies and hunts for food.
  • Most importantly is knowing that my son still wants me involved in his interests. He is my oldest child, and I know that a time will soon come when he won’t really care whether or not I like what he likes. Someday, he may be content to shut the door to his bedroom as he runs amuck in a virtual world. Or to run out the door into the real world with his friends. But for today, his face beams with pride as he escorts me around the Minecraft worlds that he so genuinely enjoys sharing with me.

Are you familiar with Minecraft? Have any tips to share? My son is still better than I am at the game, so I need all the help I can get.

53 Comments on “Five Reasons Why You Should Play Minecraft with Your Child”

  1. Kirsten says:

    I’ve never played Minecraft but it is very tempting! The trouble is, I’ll probably get hooked as I love computer games. 🙂

    • Laura says:

      We don’t have the computer version, but my son really, really, really wants it. 😉 My child is proof that this game is definitely addicting!

  2. I’m both fascinated and baffled by Minecraft. Great list!

  3. my kids LOVE minecraft. i fear if i jump on that bangwagon, no one will hear from us for days. although, i’m sure my boys would be thrilled to read this.

    • Laura says:

      Lol That comment just made me picture my son and myself all holed up on the couch… stinky, greasy, starving, blood-shot eyes. But then it made me think of another good reason to play with him: to model self-care and self-control. It’s easy to get sucked in to video games. So I think it’s helpful that I’m showing him my thoughts like, “Okay, I’ve been playing for a while this morning, but now I need to stop and have lunch, do some housework, and run some errands.” There IS life beyond Minecraft, child! 🙂

  4. Shanique says:

    I’ve never heard of Minecraft but it sounds like something I should get into. I love games..

  5. Tracie says:

    I have not played Minecraft, but it seems like everyone I know has been talking about it lately. If my daughter decides to try it, I will go for it with her. It is always more fun to have someone play with you, and you are so right that there aren’t too many years before she won’t be inviting me.

  6. zoe says:

    my kid is in his 20s now but when Nintendo was a big deal I remember getting whipped at Mario brothers by my five year old.

    • Laura says:

      Ha! That takes me back to my Nintendo days (I have a few more months of my 20s left…) My mom could whoop my butt at Mario Kart racing! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the memories.

  7. mamarific says:

    I’ve never played Minecraft, but my daughter enjoys playing Club Penguin, and I think it’s kind of fun to follow along with her while she’s playing.

  8. A whole new way to look at Minecraft! thank you for that.
    My kids are both obsessed with zombies, spawning and throwing lava at each other and you have really convinced me to try playing with them!

    • Laura says:

      It’s really not as bad as it seems. Kinda fun. Still not “obsessed” like the kids are, but it’s not a bad way to spend some time together. I promise. 🙂

  9. My oldest (at 13) really wants Minecraft for the computer. So far I have held out on letting him get it; he spends enough time on the computer as it is. I can imagine that playing with your son is a good bonding time, though.

    • Laura says:

      Yes, we do have to limit his screen time and make sure there is plenty of outside time and just free play in the mix of our long summer days as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  10. My son is 14, and he was an alpha tester so he’s been talking about Minecraft for waaaaaay too long. Like years and years. I’ve tried to be interested, but now he’s all “I’m trying to create a new texture pack” and I’m out. You’re a better mother than I am.

    But also, he’s 14.

    He’d rather SKYPE with his friends.

  11. Considerer says:

    Gives kids a special sense of responsibility to tutor the parents, huh? I like that you took time to engage with his world 🙂

    • Laura says:

      Yes, I’m sure it is nice to have the roles reversed for him. He gets to be the one in charge. No wonder he likes that world so much. 😉

  12. I loved your line: “Who sounds like the zombie now?” Very clever. I never played the game, but I appreciate the sweet relationship you have. Wonderful writing. I’m definitely returning to read more of your work.

    • Laura says:

      Oh thank you! That’s such a great compliment for me. 🙂 I’m glad we have connected through the Yeah Write… love that community!

  13. Stopping by from YeahWrite 31dbbb.

    That is awesome that you were able to play along! Your son is lucky that you are “cool” enough to be willing to join in and enjoy.

    I think a lot of the distance that teenagers are often known for comes when a parent expects the teen to either be interested in something that they liked in youth, or in something they won’t be interested in for a few more years. It seems like sometimes people forget how to connect to the right now. Looks like you might be able to avoid that someday. Congrats!

    • Laura says:

      I just shuddered when I read the word “teenagers.” I definitely hope we can remain close. He’s my buddy. I think with parenting of young children, if you give an inch sometimes you get a yard. Hoping it works out in the teenage years too. Thanks for the encouragement!

  14. Be very careful. Sounds like you are being sucked into the ways of the Mobs and Creepers. Today my son looked at me and said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this but I might be getting a little bored with Minecraft.” I looked at him and said,”That is the most beautiful thing you have ever told me.” Good luck and you sound like a great mom.

    • Laura says:

      Lol Thanks, Jamie. 🙂 My son sees no boredom with it yet. He’s already talking about asking for upgrades for Christmas. Sheesh.

  15. My boys just don’t seem into Minecraft. Believe it or not, I encouraged it even though I have learned more about the game from reading your post than I knew about it before.
    Anyway, it sounds like Minecraft has one more fan – a mature one at that.

    • Laura says:

      The game has won me over. Although I can’t say I could hole up for days playing it… It makes me a bit dizzy!

      • Does it cost to play?
        My son has recently been talking about the game and has implied there is a fee.

      • Laura says:

        In the apps, and also in the computer version, there is a Free version, or a free trial, but then you cannot save your progress (I think). The Xbox360 version was $19.96… Which my son bought with his own savings. And I’m not sure how much the full version on the computer costs, but that’s what he is asking for now…….

      • Thanks for letting me know.
        My son would be playing it on the computer.

  16. My brother is dangerously addicted. He wakes up and gets straight on his Xbox or laptop. Any moment he’s at home he is in his bedroom playing mine craft. We barely see him and its been like this for years. Unfortunately my mum doesn’t see the dangers that everyone else sees for my brother.

    • Laura says:

      Addiction of any kind can be a serious thing. My post was not meant to say that true addictions aren’t scary and dangerous. However, my son is just as into playing baseball or football outside. My job is to teach him balance. I hope your brother finds balance as well. That’s tough!

  17. You’re a mom goddess! Minecraft is all my 9 year old talks about lately. She’s hooked and I’m bored, so I needed and loved this post. Thank you for the primer and the push to play with her. Who would have thunk it?! 😉

    • Laura says:

      Lol I get ya! I was totally there before I gave in and started playing. Now I can at least understand what-the-heck he’s saying when he talks about it. We’ve killed a few hours over the past couple of weeks playing it, but it’s more fun than I would have guessed. Especially because he’s so excited to teach me allllll about it. 🙂 Do it! Have fun!

  18. Stacie says:

    Good of you to embrace it since it might be with you for a while. My son’s 9 and still going strong with Minecraft!!

  19. I am kind of in awe of the way they look like Legos…also, I am way behind on what’s hip with the kids nowadays…

    • Laura says:

      Me too! Trying to keep up. My niece is totally hip (9yrs old) so I try to stay up-to-trend through her…. Although she would probably tell me not to use the word “hip.” Thanks for reading/commenting!

  20. This happened to me with my spouse and World of Warcraft. I was glad that I started playing WoW with him since it was something we could do together and I could finally understand what he was talking about. We’ve both stopped playing since then, but it was nice to share that experience with him.

    • Laura says:

      That’s a wonderful story of closeness and finding something unexpected to share together. The collaborative play is fun and socially engaging. I’m a new fan.

  21. I have some good memories playing video games with my dad when I was little. Or, when I got a little older, fighting with him over who got to play “Red Alert” on the computer – he tried to send me to bed before it got dark, just so he could play! When I was already a teenager!

    • Laura says:

      Oh my, that’s very funny! I’ve been tempted to keep working on our house in Minecraft–making it prettier, admittedly–after my son goes to bed, but I hadn’t thought of sending him to bed earlier! Hmmmm… Lol 😉

  22. For my son it’s an Angry Birds obsession. I love that you took the time to appreciate and understand what was important to you child.

  23. Jen T says:

    I love this. And I love that your son shared this with you.

  24. It sounds like fun! My kids are older and they know I’m hopeless with video games, so no one wants to play them with me.

  25. muddledmom says:

    I’ve actually tried to get my son into this and he’s not having it. I guess I shouldn’t complain. It sounds neat though. I know what you mean about not knowing how long he’ll want you around. It’s longer than you think. 😉

  26. […] Five Reasons Why You Should Play Minecraft with Your Child ( […]

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