Disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by iD Tech, but all opinions are my own.
Is your child interested in learning how to design video games? Or if your child is anything like mine, getting him away from video games is a level 10 struggle. So why not use this to your advantage?
With the future becoming more digital, games such as Mincecraft and Roblox are increasing in popularity. But did you know these games can also teach your child valuable coding skills that can set them apart in the future?
Karson recently finished a week long Minecraft Coding Virtual Camp via iD Tech (my readers can get $125 off any virtual tech camp using code Jaz125 and following this link.) and to say he enjoyed it would be an understatement. I mean, he’s standing here as I type asking if he can play Minecraft for the fiftieth time today and surprisingly enough I’m okay with it. Because not only is Minecraft great for educational purposes of all kinds, but iD Tech’s certified instructors kept him engaged while making it lots of fun. And seeing Karson enjoying something while also learning such an important skill was amazing.
So how exactly can Minecraft coding set your child up for future video game designing?
Minecraft Is Based Solely On Building
Minecraft is a game based solely on building things. You build houses, trees, an entire world, literally anything you can think of you would need to build. And within that each individual action can be built upon to create something else. For example, individual blocks within Minecraft become actions, then these blocks can be combined which creates computer code. And the best part, it can also be done visually.
Visual Coding Blocks Makes Learning Computer Coding Easier
At eight years old, Karson still uses one finger to type on the keyboard, so searching around for letters oftentimes frustrates him. Developed somewhat like Legos, these function blocks offer a drag and drop coding platform within Minecraft. These visual blocks represent computer coding functions, (think if-then statements) loops, and more which for kiddos like Karson, makes learning to code a lot easier. Because now instead of frantically hunting for keys these visual blocks act as functions helping kiddos to learn computer science visually. And eventually when they have outgrown this stage of game design Minecraft doesn’t disappoint.
Kids Learn Coding Via Java
Could you imagine being able to create your own world? Literally and figuratively because that’s exactly what Minecraft offers it’s players. With its open architecture, Minecraft allows children to access it’s Java source code enabling them to create virtually anything they can imagine. From their own enemies, to other dimensions the possibilities are truly endless. Using Java to give their avatars / worlds special properties makes the game that much more enjoyable.
As I watched Karson learn how to change his player into Sonic The Hedgehog (one of his all time favorite video games) the excitement and overall accomplishment in his voice was heartwarming. And that’s the thing. Learning to code via Minecraft keeps children motivated.
Learning Game Design And Video Coding From Minecraft Can Motivate Your Kiddos
As I mentioned above, Karson was overjoyed when he was able to change his player into Sonic. While this may seem like an easy feat, it came after several attempts. As the saying goes “Programming is 10% writing code and 90% understanding why it’s not working.” So imagine the frustrations a child would feel.
Learning to code is hard, there’s no debating that and getting kids to stay focused on things that take too much brain power can be a daunting task. Yet Minecraft is teaching children computer programming (something most adults I know cringe over) and they keep coming back to play over and over again. Even if it’s the hundredth time they’ve tried to build a pickaxe but keep failing, they continue. And it’s because once they get it, not only can the skills be used to build other things, the sense of accomplishment makes it all worth it. Minecraft motivates by combining a fun game kiddos love with a gentle introduction to coding.
And if you’re anything like me, nowhere near computer savvy, looking into a Minecraft virtual camp for kids is the best way to get them started on their coding journey.
Virtual Camps like iD Tech’s “Minecraft World Designer” Give Your Kiddo A Head Start
If you think your kiddos’ future might involve video game design, a career in computers, or any other programming related field then iD Tech is the way to go. As I mentioned above Karson truly enjoyed his week long session and his instructor was exceptionally amazing. With small class sizes (five children or less), kiddos are able to get individualized attention which only enhances their learning. I mean by day three, Karson had already built a house, a swimming pool, and had a cart on a track that went around his house where he places some of his items. Now coming from a child that had never played Minecraft a day in his life, this was a true accomplishment.
His instructor not only took the time to ensure he understood each concept, providing both visual and written directions on how to achieve certain coding tasks, she also provided him with personal “homework” each night so he could enhance his new skills. And you can bet your bottom dollar Karson jumped at the opportunity to complete his work for the coming class. But I think my favorite thing about iD Tech’s virtual camps was the atmosphere these classes created. With Karson currently out of school, due to social distancing, he was beginning to miss interacting with other children. And one to not shy away from making new friends, all of the children had become great friends in just five short days. Which, with all the negative in the world, was a nice positive.
At the end of the day with everything being digital, having a skill like coding, that can be used both creatively and for a future career is a win win for anyone, but especially our children. Using Minecraft as the introduction to such possibilities is an even better way to encourage your kiddos and peak their interest in the topic. And with camps teaching things from Java coding, Minecraft level design, Roblox, Game Design, AI and everything in between (dependent on your child’s age) iD Tech’s Virtual Camps would be the best place to start. Outside of the virtual camp that Karson attended, private one on one sessions are also available. These sessions also come with the option to enroll a sibling for free!
My readers will receive $125 off any virtual tech lessons using code JAZ125. Check it out here.