As many of you know, Minecraft is a passion of mine, and one way I connect with students. I lead workshops on building and design, and am always improving. I also love playing to relax because I can control my world and be creative.
Meet Reed. Reed turned 5 in February of this year. I had been wanting to teach him Minecraft, and 5 became the magic number. I came home to visit family the very next month, and spent some time with Reed. We booted up Minecraft PE on my iPad, and Reed was off. He did what all kids are apt to do when they first begin to play: blow stuff up with TNT and set fire to the world. Yes, he just wanted to watch the world burn.
He loved the game so much that he wanted to buy it for his tablet. His mom told him he would have to save up the money to buy it. He had a joint birthday party with his brother that weekend, and he was adamant that he would get enough to buy the game. Sure enough, he stuck by my side at the party, and any time he got money, he would ask if it was enough to buy Minecraft. He easily earned his money, and was happy to buy the game.
Reed learned to play Minecraft on his own from that point. He had help from his mom, and he sometimes watched YouTube videos as well. He apparently loves Stampy Cat, and I made sure to tell his mom that pretty much any Minecraft video is safe for young eyes. He loves to try to build things he sees. He would build houses, and one time he played with the railway tracks.
He also had a lot of help from an older daycare boy named Caden. Caden is heading into the 6th grade now, but he came to daycare once a week. He and Reed would play on a LAN world, and Caden would help Reed learn to create or find the tools he needed to build. Caden gave Reed someone to look up to, and someone to ask about Minecraft things when he couldn’t talk to me or his mom didn’t know.
Reed also knew that I was coming home to visit in June, and that I would play Minecraft with him. He was excited to play with his “Ray Ray”, and I was ready to introduce him to Realms. I wanted to be able to build with Reed, and now that I knew he was hooked on playing and building, it seemed perfect. It would be our way to keep in touch while I was so far away. We’re separated by about 3 hours of car travel (give or take), so we don’t often get to see each other.
For those unfamiliar, Realms is a simple server setup where players can get together to build. I purchased the 2 player model because it was only for Reed and I. During my visit, I introduced him to the world and the ground rules- no destroying other people’s hard work and no TNT. We began building while I was there for a brief period, and Reed loved that he could play with Ray Ray and make cool stuff.
After I went home, Reed was eager for me to build in the world. When I finally started, he loved finding the stuff I made. He flap his hands in joy, would look around, and then build new things to add to our little world. I am pretty sure his mom is learning little by little as well, since I know Reed isn’t the one spelling on the signs!
The first time I built something, I was unable to finish it. I left it for later. Imagine my surprise when I logged back in that evening, only to find that Reed had finished it for me! At first I was caught off guard, but then I thought about it from his point of view. He got to finish something that Ray Ray started, and he got to decorate it and put up signs.
With that thought in mind, I began another building, again leaving it unfinished. I am curious to see how Reed will finish it. I left a sign telling him to do what he wanted to finish it. I plan to build some other things today that I will finish. I may also start leaving signs giving Reed build challenges to see what he can come up with. I want his creativity sparked and I want to see how he approaches building. So many kids lose their creativity as the years go by, and I don’t want that to happen to him.
I am learning to just let my imagination fly wild. I am not the best builder, and on the fly building is new for me. I’m used to planning or attempting to build things I see. But Reed doesn’t care about any of that. He only cares that his Ray Ray is adding to the world and making things, just like he is. He doesn’t care that a building isn’t perfect, or that the roof is flat. He doesn’t care what materials he uses. He just wants to have fun and build.
This is our world so far:
We have built houses for each of us, and then Reed turned the one building into both a church and office. I added in the pathways and lighting to go from building to building. Some of the buildings are for animals I believe. I’m not sure. Knowing Reed, there’s a story behind each thing he’s built. I may have to see about capturing some of his ideas later on.
We should all be more creative, and just let our imaginations run free. We should build what we like and share the ideas and stories behind them. We should all be more like Reed!