Thursday, August 9, 2012

Minecraft, Story of the World, and Early Civilization

Builder Boy Constructing a Library

Playing with Daddy
I admit, I let my 5 1/2 year old play Minecraft. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a computer game that puts you in a world where you have to gather materials and figure out how to use them to make things. Wood from trees can be made into sticks, planks, fences, doors, walls, you name it. You can use it like a lego set, building whatever you can think of. You can fight off monsters during the nighttime, or play without them (like Builder Boy does.) You can set up servers and play with other people, or you can play by yourself. Builder Boy either plays by himself or with his Daddy. He loves it. He's a bit obsessed with it. It really appeals to his creative side and he has a great memory for the different ways to combine materials. He loves building houses, structures, monuments/landmarks, and weird, complicated things that only he knows what they are. It also has a side benefit of being somewhat educational for little kids.

On Wednesday as part of our history lesson I read "The First Nomads Become Farmers" from chapter one of Story of the World: Ancient Times. Just about everything in that chapter had Builder Boy talking about how he does that in "the fix game," as he calls it. He knew about planting wheat, letting it ripen, harvesting it, and that it needs water. He's seen his Daddy build irrigation ditches for his wheat field. He knew about making bricks from clay, other different building materials, and building stone walls to protect against attacks. He knew about domesticating animals, using materials from them like milk, wool, and leather, and killing them for food. He also because of Minecraft knows about bows and arrows; he knows that you need wood and string to make a bow, and sticks, feathers, and flint to make arrows. And for when we learn about Egyptians making the paper, he's already made paper from reeds in the game.

This all may seem like basic information for some; especially for kids growing up on a farm. But we're not, and playing the game has cemented the knowledge in his mind. It's also a good incentive as a reward. And, besides having a jolt when Builder Boy called himself a "Gamer" and all he wants to talk to people is about "the fix game," I am happy to let him play. Especially since it made Wednesday's history lesson so real to him.

You can get a demo of Minecraft here. The paid version is for $26.95. (Principal Daddy says it's worth it.)
For more information the Wikipedia article is here, and the Minecraft Wiki is here.

I am not getting paid for this review or referrals.

The beginning link is to the author's printing press website where you can buy Story of the World directly from the author. The below pictures are links to the book on


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