Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Minecraft: Inspiring Kids to Work Outside the (x)Box

If you don't know what Minecraft is, be thankful.  I consider it Mine-Crack because my kids are addicted to it.   It reminds me of old-school Duke Nukem with its pixelated graphics.  Though I find it visually nauseating to watch, I know tons of children and adults who enjoy it.  So I choose to embrace it as a motivator to work on other skills, without them REALLY noticing. 

Pixel Paper Crafts
This is a great site in which you can search craftable mobs, creepers, withers and more.  Once chosen, print them out.  Once printed, the child works on cutting, folding, pinching, glueing, etc. There are a variety of easy and difficult block designs.  You can differentiate skills and needs by pre-snipping, adding directions and numbers, or coloring.  Also, check out the Minecraft Fortune Teller, to build in intrinsic hand strength and coordination!

There are tons of sets dedicated to Minecraft. Following directions, bilateral tasks and fine motor development are always addressed with the use of legos!  Or the children can create their own.

Block Art
Using snipped up sponges, paints and square pieces of paper, the children can design their own mobs.  Challenge them by using clothespins to pick up the sponges.

Here is an example to make a Creeper Loom Bracelet.  Looming is a great activity to build attention and spatial awareness.

Minecraft Bingo
Scanning and visual discrimination skills can be supported during Minecraft Bingo activities.  Language concepts such as Same and Different can easily be integrated into the activities as well. 

Make Minecraft more sensory challenging with fun do-it-yourself Glitter Slime using colors common to the game.  Bonus, if you happen to have Minecraft figurines, hide them in the goop!

Learn to Draw Tasks
Step by step copying or imitating tasks to build Creepers are based on many basic prewriting strokes. And if you really want, you can always sing a Mat Man inspired version like "Creeper has one head, one head, one head...."

Self Regulation Chart
Here is an amazing way for kids to learn how to identify feelings and actions using a 5 point scale, all relating to Minecraft characters.

Graphing Fun
Plotting squares, coloring in small spacing, or using it to inspire Perler bead activities or bead lacing keychains.

Word searches
Meet Penny has a whole printable pack of 50 activities, including word searches.  But you can always create your own using free websites like Discovery Education

Building Literacy Skills
There are tons of books about Minecraft.  If you have a struggling reader or one that shows little interest, try offering reading selections like Minecraft Hacks.  Many of the sections are short so they are not overwhelming to the readers.  And when they do finish the book, the reader can feel accomplished.

There are tons of activities available on the internet inspired by Minecraft.  Just search Minecraft crafts and you will be amazed with what is out there.  Hopefully this gives you a little taste of what is available to get your students and children off the virtual crafting table and onto a real one.

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