Understanding the Minecraft Generation: 5 Things to Know About Kids This Week

Our curated list of kid-related news for April 15, 2016.

Parker Barry
  • minecraft_traffic1. Understand the Minecraft Generation (kid help required). The New York Times Magazine’s epic look at why kids are so attracted to Minecraft is a must-read for any parent of a digital-world builder. This massive piece digs into the history of kids and construction play, and it includes a Minecraft world created just for the article with these notable instructions: “To play, you’ll need a computer with Minecraft and a child who’s familiar with the game. Once you have those things, just log on to the nytmag.hypixel.net server (your child will know what this means).” The article by Clive Thompson posted to the Times’ digital edition on Thursday, and it will also run in the upcoming Sunday Times Magazine. (The Minecraft Generation: How a clunky Swedish computer game is teaching millions of children how to master the digital world)
  • 2. Education is more than reading and math. U.S. Education Secretary John King wants schools to “focus more on science, social studies, arts and world languages,” and reduce pressure on math and reading performance, according to an article this week in U.S. News and World Report. In written text pre-released from his upcoming speeches, King says educators and families tell him that “key elements of what makes up a well-rounded education have been neglected in favor of too tight a focus on math and reading.” He asserts that if kids spent time in school learning about a broader range of subjects it would “make the difference between disengagement and a lifelong passion for learning.” (Education Secretary to States: Ease Up on the Reading and Math)
  • white_house_science_fair3. Young scientists wow at White House. President Obama hosted his final White House Science Fair this Wednesday, bringing an end to a tradition he began in 2010 to bring attention to the amazing work of kid scientists. According to The New York Times, “White House officials say the fairs have drawn some 450 students in kindergarten through 12th grade; this year’s was the largest, with 130 attendees.” (A ‘Big Science Guy’ Named Obama Hosts Young Innovators One Last Time)
  • 4. Is nature a natural right? “All children need nature. Not just the ones with parents who appreciate nature. Not only those of a certain economic class or culture or gender or sexual identity or set of abilities. Every child,” wrote Richard Louv, Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the the Children & Nature Network on the organization’s blog this week. “If a child never sees the stars, never has meaningful encounters with other species, never experiences the richness of nature, what happens to that child?” Louv raises this and 12 other questions that explore how culture, economics, education and other factors affect kids’ access to nature. (All Children Need Nature: 12 questions about equity and capacity)
  • 5.  Highlight Haiku. Sunday, April 17, is International Haiku Poetry Day, when poetry enthusiasts of all ages celebrate this ancient Japanese art form. Kids learning about syllables and poetry structure are often fascinated by these brief poems, which typically include three lines consisting of five syllables, then seven syllables, then five syllables. The content in haiku are traditionally based on topics related to nature, something else many kids find fascinating. Encourage your kid to write a Haiku on Sunday about their favorite nature spot and write one yourself. (How to Write a Haiku)

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