My sons love Minecraft. When they get together with friends, they enter into a conversation that only vaguely resembles the English language. I’ll admit it’s a little mind-boggling for me. And to tell you the truth, I don’t care to learn it. To me Minecraft is an obsession that proves it worth in clean folded laundry and delicious home-cooked dinners with the soothing sound of my very own radio station to keep me company. But apparently this sanity saver can also teach a whole lot about computer coding, which many people claim will be the language of the future.
Although the book lays out the instructions fairly simply, this type of coding can be challenging for a child who has never had any previous coding experience. For first-timers, I recommend working through some of the sample projects on Scratch before embarking on Minecraft modding. Scratch uses a similar drag and drop method to create projects and is written in a format simple enough for children as young as 8-years-old. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available on-line free of charge.
Another Wiley Book for beginning coders is “Adventures in Minecraft.” This will extend their Minecraft experience to include things like building houses, writing interactive games, and building custom game control panels using simple electronic circuits among other things. This book can be used independently by 11 – 15 year olds who want to learn how to write Minecraft programs in Python on a PC, Mac, or Raspberry Pi, or by younger children with the help of mom or dad.
Once they are fully immersed in the world of Minecraft and computer coding, they’ll be up for the challenge of “Minecraft Modding for Kids.” This book (and the free software) will teach them things like:
- Making your first Minecraft mod
- Making your first Minecraft mingame
- Designing and building a multiplayer minigame
- Building your own Minecraft minigame.
If coding is the future, these resources are a great way to get started. Kids will have fun while learning and do it all by themselves!