The virtual world of Minecraft is everywhere. With more than 17 million purchases total and purchases raking in more than $300,000 a day, Minecraft has become the number-two game in the world, lagging only behind Nintendo Wii’s Wii Sports title, which comes bundled with every Wii system. Shortly before this book went to print, Mojang, the company that created Minecraft, was acquired by Microsoft. The Pocket Edition, which appears in iOS and Android app stores, consistently ranks among the top-grossing apps in each mobile app store.

As a parent of seven kids, I quickly became aware of the power Minecraft has on families. When my kids would invite their friends over, and after all of them were engrossed in using a tablet or Kindle device, they would explore and play and sometimes even nag each other in the game. “Dad, JJ just blew up my house!” is a common phrase in our household, and “Dad, can you give me ops?”

Perhaps, as a parent, you’ve seen a similar situation, wondering what in the world your kids are talking about and whether you should be concerned. Or perhaps you’re one of the children who’s playing and you want to better understand how to build the largest village or automate your entire world by using farms, iron golems, or even redstone contraptions and circuitry.

Although Minecraft is an amazing game, it isn’t really even a game: It’s a “world” that encourages exploration. To expand and increase your world, you need to do things to enhance the mind and ...

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