Minecraft project ideas with a very young child
March 9, 2012 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Please suggest some Minecraft projects I could do with my 5 year old daughter.

Lately my daughter and I have become somewhat addicted to Minecraft (about half an hour to an hour most evenings.) I play while she watches and jointly decide what to do and create a storyline. She absolutely loves it, and so do I, but it's beginning to pall somewhat. I'm considering giving it up, but first I thought I'd ask for some ideas.

Stuff we've already done and enjoyed:
- Things domestically-inclined generally work well. Adding rooms to our various houses, laying carpets, adding furniture. The problem is that she gets impatient with building projects that take too long.
- Things related to the animals work well. Gathering sheep, cows, chickens and pigs, building pens for them, colouring wool and shearing sheep, milking cows, etc. And of course breeding them. But we ran out of stuff to do with them pretty quickly.
- Finding wolves and taming them was a huge hit, as were puppies. But there's not much more we can do with them.
- We're lucky to have a village close by. Building extra houses for the villagers was fun, and creating an iron golem. We wish they'd have more children but don't know how to encourage this.
- We built a minecart track from our house to the top of a nearby mountain. But once that's done, there's not much more to do.

Stuff that doesn't work so well:
- Going underground is out. So I have to mine when she's not around. (We play in Survival mode.) Needless to say, the Nether is not an option.
- Going on long journeys is also not very popular. She much prefers staying close to home, taking occasional journeys with a known objective.
- Time-consuming building projects -- but I'd love to see some reasonably simple building ideas that would give us a clear goal to work towards.

So what do I have in mind? Maybe a gallery of nice not-too-complex architectural models that we can emulate. Maybe fun activities with minecarts or water fountains. Maybe things involving the villagers, or the farm animals. And I don't know of anything entertaining to do with automata (redstone, pistons, dispensers, etc.) Or perhaps join a multiplayer server? (But she'd be loathe to leave "our" world behind.)

Or perhaps I should call time on Minecraft for now. We do lots of other things together, but she does love co-playing videogames. I was wondering if we should try The Sims, or some god game, but I don't want us to get into something overly time-consuming or too advanced either.
posted by snarfois to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
A water slide, from the top of a mountain down to the house. Equally by adding lots of back and forth you can turn a "minecart track" into a "ROLLERCOASTER". Both use gravity so no messing around with redstone.

A castle for the village - start with watchtowers and a wall and take it from there.
posted by jontyjago at 3:11 PM on March 9, 2012

She would probably like note blocks. If you are on 1.2 (which you must be because you mentioned iron golems) you can tame ocelots to get kittens in the jungle biome, although you will probably have to hike to some new chunks to get them to generate as the jungle biome if your world is pre-1.2. Snow golems are fun, if you make a bunch of them and let them loose you will see some pretty comical fights if any mobs show up.
posted by burnmp3s at 3:27 PM on March 9, 2012

jontyjago: What's required for a good water slide? Is there a video you'd recommend? And one for a roller coaster? I'm just wondering how big/complex it needs to be in order to be entertaining. Village castle and walls: good idea!

burnmp3s: Cool, I didn't know of note blocks! I've only just discovered a tiny jungle after a looong journey by myself, but couldn't find any ocelots. That's definitely going to be a hit, but I don't know how long they'll take to find. We've done snow golems, but unfortunately they don't last very long. Daughter is also a bit upset when they get killed.

Thanks for the ideas so far!
posted by snarfois at 3:58 PM on March 9, 2012

By the way, here's a photo album of our Minecraft neighbourhood.
posted by snarfois at 4:00 PM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you add some mods like Mo'Creatures, you can breed all different kinds of horses!!
posted by The otter lady at 4:21 PM on March 9, 2012

Maybe look at trying one of the builds here. Technic-craft is basically a meta-mod - or a bundle of loads of other modifications into a nice, easy to install executable.

They add a *lot* of new stuff like animals and building materials and options - and the vital thing that they've cracked is that they've made it totally idiotproof.*

The annoying thing with Minecraft mods is that there's no stable API and installing and tuning the various mods can be a frustrating, time consuming faff - after which there was no guarantee that your install would work. Techniccraft have solved this by essentially giving you a variety of sandboxed installs of Minecraft that will run without fuss or bother AND will leave your actual vanilla Minecraft install untouched.

You can even copy your vanilla world over into the Techniccraft sandbox and monkey around with it.

Trust me, it all makes a lot more sense when you try it.

posted by Jofus at 4:21 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also... is there a reason you don't want to play in Peaceful mode? There are some amazing underground caverns of lava waterfalls and stuff that are really beautiful. You could just toggle "peaceful" for underground trips and then back to Survival when you get back up to the surface, if hiding from monsters at night is part of the fun :)
posted by The otter lady at 4:23 PM on March 9, 2012

The otter lady, Jofus -- Yup, I think animals will totally do the trick! As long as I can manage to safely add it to our existing world without screwing things up. And then I have to come up with a narrative that explains their sudden appearance :)

The otter lady: I have put it on Peaceful sometimes, but that just makes it more boring. Yes, hiding from monsters at night is part of the fun. My daughter is somewhat afraid of the monsters, but they definitely add interest: she enjoys sniping them from our tower, seeing our defenses work, or watching the iron golem kill them. And we need the experience for enchantments. I suspect that she'll continue to dislike going underground even if I guarantee there aren't any monsters.
posted by snarfois at 4:49 PM on March 9, 2012

Have you changed the texture pack? It will make creating the things she knows how to do seem fresh. I just showed my son the painterly pack and he is happy creating basic buildings.
posted by saucysault at 5:16 PM on March 9, 2012

Oh, and with my three year old, the Mine Little Pony has been a hit as she flys around our builds as a My Little Pony.
posted by saucysault at 5:18 PM on March 9, 2012

Install Mo Creatures -- it's part of the yogbox.
posted by empath at 7:25 PM on March 9, 2012

>> We wish they'd have more children but don't know how to encourage this

Essentially, you need to build houses for them (not too far from existing houses). I think also if the villagers exit the confines of the village (normally by falling down holes, etc), they no longer count as a villager and you will then get the other villages breeding and creating new villagers to replace the missing ones.

Have a look at Minecraft furniture - there's lots of neat and small ideas on that site for furniture which will give you lots of other ideas.
posted by BigCalm at 12:34 AM on March 10, 2012

In case anyone else is still looking at this thread -- another thing that raised the interest level for us is switching between Creative and Survival modes on our world. This is very easy to do using NBTEdit. That allows us (in Creative mode) to fly over the places we know, add to the villager population, and cheat a bit with materials (avoiding tedious grinding for materials.)
posted by snarfois at 6:40 AM on April 26, 2012

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