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Beginning Minecraft Mods for Kids
Written By Chris Yust, Homeschool Programming, Inc.
The Minecraft Juggernaut
“Minecraft”! Just saying the word out loud will make most kids snap to attention and listen to what you’re going to say next. Minecraft is a super-popular computer game, and odds are you’ve seen the blocky graphical theme repeated on T-shirts, Halloween costumes, and other knick-knacks belonging to your kids and their friends. In this game, you can create your own 3D virtual world by building and destroying blocks representing different kinds of materials and items.
Minecraft was conceived in 2009, and has maintained a firm grip on our attention since its wider release in 2010-2011. Why has it stayed so consistently popular? Minecraft appeals to our creative natures! While you can play the game with a pre-generated world under a standard set of rules, you can also spend endless hours in “creative” mode, making your own ideas come to life. You may have seen pictures of worlds containing things like replicas of the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower, or fantastic creations of space ships, castles, monsters, and all manner of imaginative buildings and landscapes. These are things your kids can build using the standard game.
Introducing Minecraft “Mods”
Another reason for Minecraft’s long-term appeal is the availability of custom modifications or “mods”, created by fans. Mods are packages of changes that alter the fundamental look or behavior of the game in large or small ways. So if you have a great idea for a new set of rules, or a new item or block, you can add them yourself! While your kids may have outgrown the original game, they are likely still playing through an endless variety of “mods” available on the Internet. Each mod might represent a brand new playing experience, so the game is kept fresh and appealing through the efforts of many mod authors.
While it takes some time and some talent, creating mods is a free process! So anyone, even technically inclined kids, can try to make their vision come to life. Many fan-based sites have sprung up with guides to making mods on your own.
Why Should I Encourage “Mod” Work?
Why should you allow, or even encourage your kids to spend hours creating their own Minecraft mods? The process actually takes some computer science skills, so time spent creating a Minecraft mod has many benefits! Your kids will become more comfortable working with files and folders on their computer, typing into text editors, using graphical drawing programs, and writing computer code.
Yes, Minecraft mods usually involve computer programming! So if your student is thinking about a career or hobby in computer science, or just wants to pick up computer programming as a useful skill, mod-work can be a great motivation. Minecraft is written in the Java programming language, and this language is also widely used in academic and business environments. So, skills learned while creating mods are not discarded afterwards, but can become the basis for a rewarding, long-term career.
Trying to get started with beginning Minecraft mods can be a little overwhelming. There is a huge amount of free information on the Internet about the process, but no single, orderly source. Type “minecraft mod tutorials” in your search engine and you will see many pages of results! The information you find may also be outdated as newer versions of the game are released.
There are some things you can do with very minimal skills, such as creating new images to change the look and feel of the standard Minecraft game. Other changes such as inventing new game rules or items require specific knowledge of the Java language and the related development tools.
Homeschool Programming offers a set of free “Beginning Minecraft Mod” lessons to guide your kids’ initial Minecraft mod experience. Over 100 pages of free lessons and activities detail how to create your own images or add new blocks and items to the game. You can visit the link below to get started!
All you need to begin is your own purchased copy of the Minecraft game. All other tools are freely available online.
Minecraft Credits and Official Website
Minecraft was created by Markus Persson (a.k.a. “Notch”) and published by Mojang AB. The official Minecraft website is https://minecraft.net/.
About the Author
Chris Yust from Homeschool Programming, Inc. is co-author of the KidCoder and TeenCoder programming curriculum for 4th-12th grade students. Find out more about computer programming for kids and teens at http://www.homeschoolprogramming.com!