Does your kid spend hours playing Minecraft or watching Minecraft Mod videos on YouTube? Ever ask yourself how you can turn this into something positive?
I suggest trying a little experiment. Use the M word. Ask your son or daughter if he/she would be interested in designing and programming a custom Mod. Not downloading a Minecraft Mod from the Internet, but actually making an original custom Mod from scratch. (For those of you who may not know, a Mod is a modification to the source code of Minecraft which usually manifests itself in a new and surprising Minecraft feature that you normally can’t do in the standalone game).
If the answer is yes and your son or daughter is interested in creating a custom Minecraft Mod, there is hope for you!
Many kids spend hours watching YouTube personalities playing other people’s mods in Minecraft. When children find out that they can learn how to create their own Minecraft Mods, it often provides them with the motivation to try something new and to learn the skills required to code. Coding requires using logic, persistence, and patience. The great thing about modding is that kids can learn to build something interesting in a very short period of time, and they are rewarded by placing their creation into the game that they love to play.
What are some programming concepts that my child can learn by Modding Minecraft?
There are opportunities to learn a ton of coding concepts during a Mod creation, many of which can be used when using Java outside of Minecraft coding. The following are some basics of Java that are simple and easy to understand, but can help your child create endless possible creations.
Conditional statements allow a program to execute a certain piece of code based on a decision. In English an example of a conditional might be: “If this condition is true, the computer will perform the following X command.” Java uses boolean variables to evaluate conditions. The boolean values true and false are returned when an expression is compared or evaluated.
Here is a pseudocode snippet that sets a daytime or nighttime texture depending upon the time of day in Minecraft:
A method is a set of code which is referred to by name and can be called (or invoked) at any point in a program by using the method’s name. Think of a method as a sub-program that allows developers to execute a list of commands without having to type out the list. Methods are time savers, in that they allow for the repetition of sections of code without retyping the code.
Here is a pseudocode snippet that calls the use of a Potion Effect without forcing the programmer to write out a list of commands:
The while loop continually executes a block of statements while a particular condition is true.
Here is an example of how a While Loop might appear in Minecraft coding. In this loop, a player will be able to fire arrows as long as the number of arrows in her arsenal is greater than 0.
But, my kid’s only 7, isn’t that a little too young to start coding?
No, we think it’s it’s a great age! Some content may seem complex when first glancing through it but learning it alongside teachers and/or videos that make the knowledge fun and relatively easy can make it a piece of cake! Knowing the basics at a young age and understanding them allows for kids to have some basic familiarity they can expand on earlier in their lives. There are many ways to get ahead: not only can you take a series of classes or just simply one time sessions, you can also find lots of online courses ( both paid and free).
Here are a couple of Youtube Channels and other sites that showcase Minecraft Mods along with a free tutorial :
PopularMMOs – Epic Minecraft content and mod showcases
TheAtlanticCraft – Minecraft mod showcases, adventures, and maps
EMX Tutorials – Modding Tutorials for beginners through advanced
We may be tooting our own horn here, but if you’d like a structured coding course to teach your student how to mod Minecraft, consider taking the CodaKid Mod Creation – The Adventure Begins online course. It is by far the most academic Minecraft coding class available on the market, and we think it’s also the most fun! Alternatively, if you live in the Southwestern United States, you might want to consider going to our camps or taking some of our classes. We hope that you’ll engage with your students during their Minecraft years and make them as productive as possible!