"An excellent book by two thoughtful educators! I've used Minecraft in my own classroom but really liked how this book was laid out with challenges kids, families, and teachers could do together. As the book states in the introduction the activities are designed to bring people together through creativity and exploration. If you find yourself a bit befuddled by Minecraft but know your kids love it and are curious to explore this is the book for you." Joe W said.
"I just got this book and had to write a review. My kids have been playing Minecraft for a long time, but I'm still trying to figure it out. As they're getting older, I can see the best way to connect with them is understanding their apps and what they like with technology. This book explains all of the important things about Minecraft without being too wordy. I'm so excited! I already looked at the activities, and so happy they don't take too much effort. I just need to set aside the time to hang out with my kids basically. :) Making this book a summer goal!" splendid.A said.
"What an excellent resource for parents and educators alike. This book is packed with endless tips and resources to let families jump into the world of Minecraft together. I was sold by page 11! Features of this book that make it a must-have include hands on activities to do with kids 'out of the game' that are followed by 'in game' challenges and experiences. I am an educator and plan to share this with families in our county. Kids will LOVE being able to share their Minecraft knowledge with others while learning math, science, history and culture. This would be a great gift for a child, a family or a teacher." Rae Fearing said.
"I think this book should actually be called Minecraft Lab for Kids and Their Parents. I'm both a teacher who has been around the obsessive nature of my Minecraft loving students and a father of an 8 year old boy and 10 year old girl who have been playing some version of Minecraft for the past 18 months. When I received a copy of this book my son told me that we would finally have to step and buy the official PC version of the game as he had been playing the iPad version since day one. We split the difference on the $26 version and he jumped right in, mostly putting the book to the side as he began to build with the expanded blocks like redstone and TNT.
As a parent and a teacher what I value most about the book is that it throws me right into what is possible over a large range of projects, from growing a garden, to building a musical instrument to building an airplane. These are all things I personally want to try out myself. Giving parents a map to potential Minecraft projects gives me both the language and the direction to engage more deeply with this world that my son and daughter are so fascinated with. The simple and clean layout, images and chapters are also a plus.
As someone who likes to engage in the physical world, and wants my children and students to move more easily between digital and physical projects, I can appreciate the "out-of-game" activities like planting seeds, building a matchbox guitar and folding a paper airplane. But as a connection to the game it feels like a bit of a stretch. My son didn't seem that interested in them and I wouldn't do them on my own. My son wants to jump right into the game itself. I think there are all sorts of opportunities to connect the game with the real world, but those work best when they interact with each other. There are a lot of interesting things being done with the Makey Makey to make the "in-game" interactive with the "out-of-game". [...]
Overall this is a great tool for parents and teachers who want jump into the world of Minecraft." Rob said.
"We had a Minecraft club at our school and the students and mentor really found this useful :)" choe said.
"This book not only makes clear the wonderful world of Minecraft for those who are not familiar with it. It walks you through the steps you will need to loving this 8 bit game. John and Chris also do a great job of relating the skills learned in Minecraft to real world applications. Mostly, I enjoyed the non technical crafts with each lesson. Each section has a non computer task which helped my wife better understand Minecraft and helped her nephews relate the game to her world. I can not recommend this book enough." Lance said.
"First, let me start by saying I was asked to review this book. And I gladly accepted for a couple of reasons… While I was confident I knew Minecraft, I was also confident that I didn’t completely know everything about Minecraft. I have seen the power of what it can do while just giving students the option of using Minecraft as a tool for end-of-unit projects. I see the time invested by students used to create elaborate models, environments, and structures in order to demonstrate connections between literature, history, world and self.
I am a parent and educator. I use technology a lot in my work, and feel very knowledgeable when working with different technologies and applications. As I read this book, I not only read this through my eyes, but also through the eyes of my friends and family members who have kids and are looking to learn Minecraft. This book is extremely approachable and has ample additional resources throughout the book to support all comfort levels of learning. I found myself inspired by the numerous examples and YouTube videos referenced within the pages. Even if you are looking to just “dip your toes” in the Minecraft water and not fully plunge into the pool, this book is a great place to start. It will lead you through the basics of what Minecraft is, and then help you and your kids grow skills with each challenge building upon the previous. If you are already knowledge about Minecraft, and looking for different ideas, this book will be a great resource as it provides many examples, and ways to find other resources, connect with others, as well as places to find alternative mods and recipes.
This book is fantastic for so many reasons. First, it is activity-based, not just app-based. John and Chris state up front that the goal of the book is to work through challenges and activities that parents and kids can complete together. The activities are thoughtful, and connect well with one another. Even if your kids are already using Minecraft, the activity descriptions will allow for further understanding of what Minecraft is and what the possibilities are. I am excited to approach Minecraft with my own two kids with a renewed eye on what can be accomplished.
Second, there is so much embedded learning and sharing throughout the book that I found myself getting excited about all the life lessons, growth opportunities, and survival skills that are developed while playing Minecraft. I like how John and Chris emphasize the idea that players will fail and learn from that failure, an idea threaded throughout the book which clearly demonstrates the resiliency that players form when they are in the Minecraft world.
The book is big on sharing. Part of what is great about Minecraft is the ability to collaborate and share ideas. In a real world where graduates will need to be creative problem-solvers and work in teams to accomplish big goals within their jobs, building these skills is essential. Minecraft - and its vast community of users - promotes those needed skills and collective leveling-up. Chris and John continually bring back the point of ‘share while you learn.’ And that showing one’s learning is a part of the process.
Finally, I know that John and Chris are a couple of the foremost experts on Minecraft. As someone who is looking to curate Minecraft resources for my kids and my students, I know that what was presented in this book were the best of the best go-to resources for examples, how-to videos, community wikis, shared work, and ideas. That alone makes this book worth its weight in gold. Anyone reading this book will benefit the plethora of examples, applications, and resources.
Minecraft Lab allows you, as the reader, to learn Minecraft, level up, complete challenges, grow skill sets, and most importantly - do all of this as a family or individually. You can sit the book in front of you and your kids and read through challenges and then tackle them together. As a parent, I can’t wait to work through this book with my own two kids. As a teacher, I am swimming with ideas of how to challenge my students back in the classroom." Kelly K said.
"This is a great book for any family that has minecraft somewhere in the home. Not only does it provide great tools for improving the minecraft experience for all users (novice to advanced), but also provides great activities for other family members to interact with the minecrafter in the house away from the game. The activities blend fun and collaborative activities inside the game and outside the game with crafts, cooking, and ways to drive the minecraft discussion in a positive direction. This helps the parent of a minecrafter understand what the game is and why kids love it so much, helps kids improve their minecraft game, and brings people together over minecraft related activities.
I highly recommend this book!" Geri Coats said.