Exploring Passions: Moving Beyond The Minecraft Obsession

My daughters and many other children are addicted to Minecraft.  They play it every chance they get.  When their time on electronics is over, they are still focused on Minecraft.   They draw pictures, write stories, and plan what they are going to do the next time they log on.

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Without Minecraft they are bored.  I have read an article called Disruptions: Minecraft, an Obsession and an Educational Tool that discusses some of the good things about Minecraft.  It is a great article but I still think there is more out there for my children to explore and learn.  How do I help get them interested in other things?  How do I foster their creativity? These are questions that I struggle with as a parent.  I want my kids to wonder and ask questions about the world.  I want them to explore their passions.  Is this happening when they are on electronics? Perhaps, but I am still not convinced that letting my kids play Minecraft is the answer to developing creativity and discovering passions. With that being said,  I was pleasantly surprised to discover the DIY.org website.  A website for kids to explore passions and develop skills while completing challenges.  Every child has their own portfolio and they can earn badges based on they challenges they complete. There is everything from Lego Master, Bee Keeper, Astronomer, Chef and even Minecrafter.

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Once kids have completed a challenge, they can share it on the website for others to see.

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Sir Ken Robinson writes on his blog that “Individual creativity is almost always affected by the work of other people. In this sense, our own creative work is part of a much larger cultural conversation.”  By observing what others are creating and doing could foster my daughters creativity.  It could motivate them to explore other areas and learn new things.   I am excited to see which areas they choose and how this all works out.  I also think that this website could help me in my classroom when I am doing genius hour which I previously blogged about.

Another website that came to my attention is called curiositymachine.org.   I like the idea of having mentors in the field.   I am still exploring this website and am trying figuring out where to submit the projects and how it all works.

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Have you used either of these websites?  Do you have any other websites to suggest?

How do you help foster creativity in your child?

3 thoughts on “Exploring Passions: Moving Beyond The Minecraft Obsession

  1. I preface this by admitting I don’t have kids. But it seems to me like there is clearly something about MineCraft that they love. So… why not try to find out what that is? Is it the building/constructing/deconstructing aspect? Then maybe try them out with Lego or other brick toys and have them physically build the things they would want to build. Or have them build tools or do experiments to create the things that they would make by combining blocks and items in Minecraft.

    If it’s the exploring aspect, why not look for board games that are about exploring, or try some story-writing games.

    Maybe you take them on adventures outside and then have them recreate scenery in Minecraft.

    I know a lot of parents worry when their kids fixate on something (GeekMom post about kids rereading the same books). Sometimes it’s just a comfort thing and there is a reason why they need that stability. Sometimes it just really works for them. Not that your concern about screen time isn’t a valid one or that you can’t get your kids to try activities to see what else might interest them.

  2. Thanks Kristen. I agree that we need to find out why they love it and embrace that. I have spent a lot of time with my children in their Minecraft worlds. They have created a world for me that has libraries with bathtubs! There are many positives that I can see. They have building toys such as Lego and K’nex but they aren’t interested in real life building. Do you have any suggestions for board games that are about exploring? My 10 year old just taught herself chess and loves playing but nobody else in our house knows how to play. I would like to see them fixated on something else for awhile that involves a different kind of screen time. I just know that there is more in our world to explore and as a parent I need to expose them to these things. The DIY website has Minecrafter challenges so I thought I could introduce them to the site this way.

    • For board game ideas, I’d recommend checking out Geekdad.com. A lot of the writers are into board games so they do a ton of reviews of different games. It is definitely harder if nobody else wants to play the same thing though. Sometimes that’s the hardest part of getting your kids into things is that they may want/need you to be into it too. What things that you are passionate about could you introduce them to? And if you want to get them into Lego or K’nex, try finding some of the custom builds that are out there. Definitely some amazing things people have created. Sometimes knowing what can be done is a great start to experimenting. But if you know what’s catching them about Minecraft, that helps. It may be social, may be about creating things, could be freedom to explore and do what they want without rules.

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