Growing up, most adults played with Legos. This classic toy has stood the test of time as a favorite for children. Today, if you have a child, you would have already been thrown into the world of Minecraft.
Some households still opt for both for their children, but many parents are replacing Legos with Minecraft. This mess-free alternative can provide hours of fun, but is it good for a child’s development like Legos are?
Likewise, are Legos really worth the hassle at clean up time? Each toy has its own list of pros and cons to consider when deciding which route to take.
Want something less messy? Check out our top card games for kids!
In this article
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Minecraft is one of the hottest games for children of all ages. Both my six-year-old and fourteen-year-old will happily enjoy Minecraft.
Even my older daughter, who doesn’t play a lot of video games, can spend a solid hour or two creating a little city. According to most, this game is educational as well as fun.
One Swedish school has even included it in their curriculum, stating that it helps children learn to plan for the future, learn about environmental issues, and much more.
In case you are new to the game, Minecraft consists of creating buildings, towns and protecting yourself from monsters, also known as creepers and various other things.
Players can do basic things, such as building a house, or more advanced things such as creating portals, casting spells and crafting various items at a crafting table. This game comes with quite a few pros, but it also has its cons.
Minecraft comes with quite a few wonderful things that are great for children. It can encourage problem solving, creativity, and helps children master their abstract thinking skills.
This video game is unlike other video games in the sense that it helps children in several key areas of development.
When players opt to play in Creative Mode, there are no monsters or killing things. Instead, they can simply enjoy building and creating their own world.
Resources are unlimited, which makes it easy for smaller children to enjoy creating whatever their little hearts desire.
Survival Mode Encourages Problem Solving
Survival mode is exactly what it sounds like: one must survive. They have to get their own resources, the game cycles through day and night (monsters come out at night), and they have to survive.
In order to create anything, players need to know how to get their own resources. They also have to figure out how to survive, such as building a structure at night to protect themselves.
Once you die in survival mode, your resources are gone and you have to start over the next time you play. However, the buildings will still be there. This is more like the traditional video games we are used to.
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Thanks to the multi-player function, more than one player can enjoy Minecraft at a time. This means that all of the children in the family can enjoy building a town together.
If one child wants or needs the other ones to help, they have to get along. This helps prepare children for working in a group with others they may not like, encourages teamwork, and helps increase social skills.
In certain worlds, children can complete educational challenges, such as solving math problems. Once a child solves the math problems at one challenge, they move on to the next, which offers harder problems to solve.
If your kids love Minecraft and need to brush up on their math skills, this is an awesome way to do it.
Improvement In Academics
Games like Minecraft help children effectively solve problems while enhancing their abstract thinking ability. These two things are necessary for children to excel in school, making them valuable skills to have.
Children that regularly play games like this will also perform better in key areas that require problem-solving, such as mathematics.
Various Products Available
If your child loves Minecraft but you don’t want them to sit in front of a television for hours on end, they can still get their Minecraft fix while you enjoy them doing something that is good for them thanks to all the other products available.
Minecraft Legos let them enjoy the benefits of Legos while building their favorite characters. Minecraft books encourage reading, and Minecraft characters can be used for unstructured play.
Minecraft is great for children, and it can help them learn. However, there are also plenty of downsides that parents need to watch out for when it comes to playing Minecraft.
Like any video game, children are sitting on the floor or in a chair for hours on end if time is not properly supervised by parents. There are also these other negative side effects that parents need to watch out for.
Children Lose Track Of Time
Minecraft is full of cool things, which makes it easy for a child of any age to be engrossed in the game. If I didn’t supervise my littlest, she would spend all day, every day playing Minecraft.
This can lead to health issues, such as obesity, from a lack of physical activity. It can also inhibit other areas of development that children need, such as social skills.
Children that spend hours playing video games do not interact with other people as much, leading to a lack of social skills, inappropriate behavior, and outbursts due to developmental delays, and more.
To combat this, make sure that the time your child spends playing video games is restricted in a healthy manner. Most parents give their kids a time limit of 1-2 hours for playing games, even educational games like Minecraft.
Video Game Addiction
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Children can easily become addicted to things like video games. It starts out as them having fun, and before long they are throwing tantrums at the mention of turning off the game.
If you think your little one might be headed down the path towards video game addiction, watch for these signs and speak with your healthcare provider:
- Thinking about gaming a majority of the day
- Feelings of sadness, restlessness or anxiety when unable to play
- Lying in order to play the game
- Lying about the amount of time spent playing the game
- Not wanting to do other things they used to like to do
For more information about video game addiction, including a more comprehensive list of symptoms, check out this website. It also covers treatment options!
Granted, Minecraft is nothing compared to other games like Grand Theft Auto, but there is still violence in the game. In the multi-player feature, players can kill each other.
They also have to kill monsters in order to survive in survival mode. Players also have the option of killing animals. This can introduce children to violence at an early age.
Children who are known for imitating things that are seen or heard might begin to exhibit problematic behavior. Older children can become less sensitized to violence if they are exposed to it regularly.
Because the community for Minecraft is online, children may be exposed to inappropriate things at an early age. They may also be exposed to foul language, speaking of violence, and other things that are not in their best interest.
Younger children that may not fully understand internet safety precautions can put themselves at risk if they give other users their full name and address.
This game does have several benefits for younger children, but it’s important that they’re supervised while playing so that they aren’t exposed to inappropriate content for their age, and that they don’t unintentionally put themselves in danger.
Every parent has their own way of addressing it. Personally, I prefer that my youngest play Minecraft in the living room. I can supervise her while I work on my laptop so I can see everything that she is doing. She is safe, and she still gets to enjoy Minecraft.
Lack Of Unstructured Play
Children, especially younger children, need unstructured play for their cognitive development. Unstructured play consists of children playing without directions or adults standing over them.
Instead, they can play with whatever toys they choose, and do what they like with them. Not only does this encourage their imagination, but it also helps their brain develop.
When children don’t have a healthy amount of unstructured play, they’re more likely to have cognitive delays. To combat this, parents can pick up some Minecraft figures to encourage unstructured play in their children.
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Legos are a classic toy that modern children still enjoy! These little blocks can provide hours of fun for children as they make and create whatever they desire. Legos are available in every color imaginable!
Special Lego products are designed to let children craft a Lego creation from a favorite movie. Just like Minecraft, Legos have their own list of pros and cons that parents need to keep in mind.
Legos have stood the test of time because children love them, and parents love the benefits that go hand in hand with them. There are quite a few benefits that children will enjoy when they can play with Legos.
Improved Fine Motor Skills
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Legos come in various sizes for various ages.
Larger blocks are designed to help children under three years old to develop skills such as stacking and grabbing blocks. These larger blocks help them pick up smaller items as well, a necessary skill for developing fine motor skills.
As children get older, they are able to play with smaller legos. These small legos help increase fine motor skills as well. These are necessary for school-aged children to hold a pencil, tie their shoes, and much more.
As children create cities, people, slides, and more they use their imagination. Imaginative play is not only fun for children, but it is also necessary.
This type of play encourages both cognitive and social development, two things that are necessary for children. Increased creativity encourages problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills.
Problem Solving Skills
As children build with Legos, they have to figure out which blocks to use to make specific creations. This helps them develop problem-solving skills at their own pace.
When children become frustrated, they have to figure out the instructions or how to build what they would like. This is similar to when older children must solve a math problem.
Safety Is Not A Concern For Older Children
While younger children should not play with small Legos because it is a choking hazard, there are no safety hazards that parents need to be concerned about with Legos.
Unlike Minecraft, there is no online community that parents need to be concerned about. Instead, children can enjoy being children.
Encourages Following Directions
Older children are often attracted to specific Lego kits. For example, Minecraft kits or Star Wars kits. These come with all the Legos needed to build specific things.
For them to complete the task, they have to follow the directions that are included in the box. This teaches children how to both read and follow directions. It also encourages reading comprehension, something that will benefit children in school.
While there are plenty of wonderful things that go hand in hand with a box of Legos, there are a few downsides that parents and children will need to keep an eye out for.
Small Lego blocks are not recommended for children under three years of age, but also present a choking hazard for older children that still put things in their mouths. It’s important for parents to keep this in mind before they pick up a box of Legos.
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If there is one thing that Legos are known for, it’s the piercing pain that happens when you step on one in the middle of the night. There are so many tiny blocks that sometimes you miss one.
If you have a child that likes to spread all of their Legos out, it can lead to quite the mess. This can take hours to clean up depending on how many Legos you have, and there’s always a few you somehow manage to miss.
Off-Brand Legos Can Be Dangerous
The appeal of Legos has led to a plethora of off-brand Legos both online and in dollar stores across the nation. The lower price might be appealing, but these off-brand blocks can be dangerous for children.
They are not held to the same high standards that the Lego brand is, and they are not made of the same high quality. The cheaper plastic can break easier, leading to cuts or other small injuries.
The paint that is used may also not be of the same quality. Some off-brand Legos have been found to contain lead, which can result in lead poisoning.
If your child has been exposed to lead or has toys that may contain lead, watch for symptoms of lead poisoning:
- Developmental delays
- Abdominal pain
- Neurological symptoms
- Learning difficulties
- Loss of appetite
- Cravings for things that are not food, such as paint chips
If your child experiences any of these symptoms or several of them, contact your pediatrician immediately.
Modern Legos Can Stifle Creativity
The Legos that come with instructions are fun for children and offer an array of benefits such as learning to follow instructions, but they also have a few downsides.
The instructions tell children step-by-step what to do, it can instantly decrease the benefits that your children get from Legos.
Children are not going to be creative and will not use their imagination with these kits. They also will not develop problem-solving skills as they are simply following instructions step by step.
Negative Faces Can Create Negative Thoughts
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According to this article, Lego has strayed away from the typical giant smile that used to accompany Lego people. Now, children are served a wide variety of facial expressions, and most of them are negative.
There are angry and scandalous faces instead of happy and cheerful ones. While this will not send your four-year-old spiraling into the depths of depression after playing with Legos for one hour, continuous play with negative toys can breed negative thoughts.
Legos Or Minecraft: Which One Is Better For Children?
When considering Lego vs Minecraft, one will instantly notice that they provide many of the same benefits. Both of these toys help children:
- Be more creative
- Learn problem-solving skills
- Encourage children to follow directions
Minecraft also offers the benefits of reading and math challenges, social skills, and encourages teamwork.
However, when considering lego vs. Minecraft, one also must consider that Legos offer the benefits of fine motor skill development. Both of these toys offer children key benefits in certain areas.
However, there are also risks associated with both toys. Smaller children have more risks when playing Minecraft, making it important to consider what is age-appropriate.
Under Four Years Old
There is no Lego vs. Minecraft for toddlers. Most toddlers will not comprehend Minecraft, and Legos present a choking hazard. However, there are other options for younger children to help them enjoy a few of the benefits that come with Legos.
MegaBlocks are not made by the same company that produces Legos, but they are ideal for smaller children that cannot play with Legos yet. Minecraft is not recommended for this age group.
Ages 4 – 8 Years Old
Provided children are done sticking things in their mouths, they can safely enjoy Legos. They will develop fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, and enjoy other key benefits.
Minecraft will also help children develop hand-eye coordination as most video games do. Parents can supervise children to ensure that they are playing in creative mode away from the online community.
Instead of Legos vs. Minecraft for this age group, parents should note that children in this age group can enjoy both.
Most children will still enjoy the wonderful world of Legos and will be able to enjoy more complicated building sets that they could not when they were younger.
These children can begin to understand more complex concepts in Minecraft that will keep it enjoyable. At this age, parents can enjoy their children having both as long as they do not object to video games being played in their house.
However, remember the risks associated with video games and be mindful of them. It’s always important to set a time limit for children playing Minecraft.
Lego vs. Minecraft remains a classic debate, but it’s important for parents to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each before deciding which is right for their children.
Keep safety in mind, and always remember that they both come with a wealth of benefits for children.