It happened about six months ago. My son went to a friend’s house and played Minecraft. Parents who have experienced this know what came next … the obsession. He started talking about a variety of things that made little to no sense. The conversation ramped up to critical volume when we finally let him get the game for himself. If you find yourself in the same boat, Common Sense Media has a very basic 10 Things Parents Should Know About Minecraft. I wish that I’d had this video when my son started playing because it is significantly more coherent than a six year old! You can hear a great overview of general facts like there is no plot line and there are two modes of play.

This video reminded me of a great conversation I had with other moms about the time our kids spent in this pixel-ed world. Although there can be pitfalls, we all generally agreed that it is an extremely creative way to spend their screen time. Kids can learn about basic economy, like you have to raise a cow to get meat or build a house to have shelter, in the survival mode or they can stretch their imagination by building an underground lava fort in the game’s creative mode. Either way, their brains need to stay active rather than passively receiving information.

Case in point: My kids, who like each other well enough but also enjoy bickering, spend their Saturday morning screen time working together to attempt the construction of a spaceship to go to the Minecraft stars. No cartoons. No fights. Just cooperative, creative play. I hope this kind of activity stays popular!