How Minecraft Encourages imaginative Play

Posted on: September 17, 2015


As you know my son is techno geek and does spend rather a lot of time on his computer either playing games, watching gamers videos or making his own videos.  He frequently comes to tell us what he is doing and shows us the worlds he has created in Minecraft, so he doesn’t sit there like a zombie all by himself not communicating with anyone.  When we are out he talks about different rocks and finds interesting stones and asks what they are. Often we have discussions about what would happen if you tried to mine all the way through the earth and how mountains and valleys are made.  We discuss time travel and the possibility of using portals to travel from one world to the another and what type of world you would like to travel to.  In fact the topics we discuss are all about life from creation to death and what it would feel like to be dead.  Of course I can’t answer all of his questions but can talk about different peoples’ beliefs. The most amazing part of all of this is that all of this curiosity stems from the Minecraft worlds he creates.

At the moment he is working on an imaginary world called, ‘The Netherland’, which I think is a miss hearing of Neverland as opposed to referring to the country we once called Holland.  Any way he has been working on this land for a long time and shares his ideas by leading all of his friends in an imaginary game at school.  All of his friends go to the Netherland at playtime  and look for magic portals to new worlds – Alistair of course is the inspiration for all of the games because he describes the landscape to his friends and paints an imaginary world on the playground.  When I pick him up from after school club he is always looking at a little hole in the wall with two of his friend because it is a portal to the Netherlands.

Alistair’s fascination with Minecraft has given him an interest in how landscape is formed, what it is made from and what is possible in the real world.  He is totally inspired to tell and act out stories and will be starting Story club soon so that he can hopefully tell stories about his worlds.  We rarely have to help him with his computer because he is very good at reading and can often find solutions by using search engines.  Alistair’s ability to transfer a computer game fantasy to imaginative play in either a playground or garden reassures me that he is not wasting his time on the computer.  He is not a recluse and enjoys getting down and dirty in puddles and flower beds, he is sociable and communicates really well with his friends and adults.  I have to admit we didn’t let him have a computer until he had reached a good level of reading because we wanted reading to be the most important skill he had before he did anything else.

Computer games are wonderful as long as children are able to talk about what they are doing and show an interest in what their children have learned and discovered.  A computer isn’t really a babysitter but does give you a bit of peace and quiet when you need it.

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September 2015

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