The next time your kid’s on his umpteenth hour of Minecraft, you might want to think twice about telling him to find something else to do. It turns out the nature of Minecraft’s gameplay is actually teaching kids valuable lessons about obtaining, managing and valuing money.
Minecraft — that game that looks kind of like an interactive Lego block world — is what’s known as an independent “sandbox” game. That means it’s an open virtual world where kids get to determine their own gameplay experience. They can explore, gather resources, build things and basically create their own future out of nothing, limited only by their own creativity.
And, as reported by Reuters, this experience teaches them plenty of money lessons that have real-world applications. For instance:
Minecraft players can acquire currencies like emeralds, gold and diamonds by digging, trading, bartering or performing services. It’s up to players to decide if they want to spend their “cash” now or save it up for a larger goal.
Within the game, you can be paid for your talents, such as building houses or farming. Other players in need of your services will trade you or pay you for them, so you can earn more of the game’s virtual currencies.
Some players have even managed to leverage their skills for real profit outside the game by creating popular YouTube channels. Other users pay for the chance to play with them or be in their videos.
Managing Your Own Fate
As a Minecraft newbie, you’re basically dropped onto a blank slate with infinite possibilities. You have to learn as you go and figure out how to deal with external challenges like disasters, opportunists and the standards of the marketplace (exchange rates and the rule of supply and demand are just two of the economic principles Minecrafters must navigate).
The free-world open format of the game is one of the reasons many adults have a hard time “getting” why their kids are so into it, but it’s actually a great way for them to learn to take control of their own futures. By managing their resources well, planning ahead and bouncing back from roadblocks, they can go from zero to hero — a great illustration of your power to determine your own fate. Reuters goes so far as to call it the digital equivalent of a Horatio Alger story.
To read the full article and learn what other money lessons kids can learn from Minecraft, check out the Reuters article here.
Your Turn: Are your kids into Minecraft? Did you realize they were learning these lessons from it?
Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.