Minecraft: A New Take on Hide and Go Seek
"Hey, come and get me!" my 5-year-old daughter exclaimed to her 3-year-old little brother.
"No, you count!" he cried.
"Fine. 1, 2, 3...12! Ready or not, here I come!" she screamed with excitement!
It was really adorable to hear them play so well together. It was nostalgic; hide and seek was one of my favorite games to play when I was a kid.
But then I figured something out.
They weren't playing a traditional game of Hide-and-Go-seek. They were both logged into the same Minecraft world, taking turns hiding, and then finding one another. It was really a strange thing to listen to; and a bit ingenious.
Instead of playing together physically, they were playing a physical game in a virtual world.
The way children use technology is incredible. I am constantly astounded by all three of my children's technological skills- and they are all 6 years or younger!
But, as with all good things, it must come to an end.
We have had to use strategies lately to limit the amount of iPad and Xbox time the kids are allowed, and we diligently incorporate No Cell Phone Sunday into our weekly routines. It still seems like they are constantly trying to play on devices more than they want to play with each other or with physical toys. And my oldest would prefer most days to play with his friends through devices than with a baseball bat and glove in the yard.
I am torn on this. I have had elementary educators tell me that games like Minecraft are great for things like the expression of creativity, or to learn about different types of building materials.
But socially I am not convinced that the almost addiction like behaviors and isolation tendencies my kids exhibit are healthy. But I also know that technology is going to continue to enhance, be incorporated and possibly even overpower much of our culture as time progresses; I don't want my kids to be left behind.
I also know that I will barely remain sane if I have to listen to one more Stampy Minecraft video on YouTube.
As the summer approaches I will be home with all three kids, all day long and I have big ideas for how our daily schedules will go. I have penciled in a little daily time for device use, as well as traditional homework, crafts, outdoor and field trip activities.
So as I plan a Minecraft themed birthday party for this weekend, I have to keep wondering what the perfect balance of encouragement and discouragement of using devices is.