New Book: Unofficial Minecraft Lab for Kids


I’m very happy to announce the publication of my new book, the Unofficial Minecraft Lab for Kids. A representative from Quarto Publishing Group contacted Chris Scott and I about a year ago and suggested we submit a proposal for a book. They specialize in hands-on, DIY kinds of books and Chris and I thought we could develop the concept around Minecraft.

Our hope for the book is that it helps bridge the “Minecraft gap” that occurs in many families where kids play the game, but parents don’t and may not be aware of the amazing opportunities for learning and collaborative fun the game can provide.

We’ve created themed “labs” that each include a Minecraft build and a connected arts and craft activity to be completed outside of the game. Kids become the experts and take charge of the learning in the game and parents or adult caregivers lead the craft activity. As the old advertising slogan goes, it’s fun for the entire family! We also think this would be great for homeschoolers and for teachers interested in exploring the idea for their class.

Individual labs can be completed in 2-3 hours and our thought is that these would make for great weekend, or rainy day family activities. We are encouraging the sharing of completed labs online via the Twitter hashtag #minecrafterbook and through family generated blogs and YouTube channels. Chris and I have set up a new website with this in mind at

You can buy the book, or get a preview by visiting this link. Happy crafting!


  1. Looking forward to exploring this source! Thank you!

  2. Congrats John and Chris! Looks like an awesome book! I can’t wait to check it out!

  3. Great stuff, as always. Will be ordering my copy ASAP and using it with my student’s 😉

  4. Hi John,

    I’m an avid EDU user, and happened to find your material online. Now with the change over, I’m not sure what I am doing.

    I noted you allow survival mode. I was always wary of that as this plays into parent fears about the “evil of games”. However, when I start with Early Man, I have a game simulation where clans have to face weather, food and animal attacks. Survival might be perfect for Early man.

    I downloaded your book and note that you include “maker stations” for each lab. Nice touch. Will experiment with your labs. Thanks

    The website I am giving is my “fund raiser” website, thanking donors. My school does not support Minecraft even though they sent me to a class at the Orange County Department of Education. Also, I won two game based computers from a Chevron engineering grant, but the district would not accept them. Also a parent paid for the servers (800.00), but district would not allow. So when we went BYOD I started my own fundraising. I now have 13 Minecraft dedicated computers and 26 laptops for students.

    I am in the process of creating a foundation to take what I do in class, (not just MinecraftEDU) to scale.

    Created wonderful things last year, like sustainable houses of the future, etc. Explored World of Civilization quests, etc. But now that I have researched CUE conferences, and ITSE, I realize I have just scratched the tip of the ice berg. Looking forward to applying some of your labs.

    • Hi Claire,

      Thanks for connecting! Yes, things are a bit up in the air for the future of Minecraft in the classroom. My plan is to stick with MCEdu for at least this upcoming school year. I’ll pilot the new version with my small elective class and see how it evolves. It’s not in a state that I can really use at the moment, but there are plans to add more features over the school year.

      You should watch Colin Gallagher’s “Minechat” episode where he interviews André Cherka (Episode 27). Andre has created a Stone Age world that is really wonderful. Here is the link to the video series, he begins to explain how he set it up beginning at about 9:45.

      Your survival idea sounds great and it reflects my thinking on the subject as well. I was just reading about a teacher that came up with an interesting way to use player vs. player in the game and although you don’t necessarily want to use PvP, the set up is really cool and might give you ideas for supporting the inclusion of survival mode in your lessons.

      That’s amazing how you were able to get Minecraft working, despite the numerous obstacles! Sounds like you are creating wonderful experiences with your students and I’d be happy to help in any way. Thanks for purchasing the book too. 🙂

      Here is another resource that just came online a few days ago, a magnificent map created through a partnership between the design and construction industry in Scotland and, coincidently, Andre Cherka. The map works with MincecraftEdu and vanilla Minecraft and comes complete with wonderful lessons. In sum, students work together in small teams to learn the design and construction trade by refurbishing, designing, and reimagining uses for urban space. I plan to use this with my elective kids this year.

      André is very helpful too, feel free to connect with him on Twitter, he is @vexmand.

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