You could say that I’m the parent of a Minecraft family.
My 17-year old son used to play, but has moved on to games for older kids. My 16-year-old son still plays, and is pretty deep in the weeds. My 8-year old daughter, taking her lead from an older friend who plays, has started watching Minecraft videos on YouTube, so she’s probably close to getting an account (supervised, of course) of her own.
Incidentally, we published a guest post on this site back in 2013 titled Is Minecraft Safe for 9-Year Olds? and the author’s conclusion was that it is. For the most part we agree, with the only caveat being that any game with a chat function is going to have some cyberbullying happening. Parents need to beware of that.
On to Minecraft’s coding tutorial. It was launched as part of the Hour of Code campaign, which aims to get kids under 10 interested in coding. Minecraft’s offering is structured as a game (of course) and at each of the 14 levels, kids complete an increasingly complex coding puzzle using “blocks” of code that are drag and drop commands. After completion of each level, the game shows the user what the code would have looked like.
The Hour Of Code officially kicks off next month, but the Minecraft Tutorial is available now. I just tried the first three levels in which I chopped down a tree and sheared 2 sheep.
Seriously, this looks like a great tool for kids who are interested in Minecraft, might be interested in coding, or both. Actually, it’s not that easy for kids to know whether they’re interested in coding unless they’ve tried it, so this is a great place to start just about anything.
As it stands now, my 17-year old will be studying computer science in college this fall. I’m sure he would have loved to try this 10 years ago. I’m looking forward to watching my daughter try it this weekend.
You or your kids can check out Minecraft’s Hour of Code beta here.
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