Minecraft is making a comeback in our house lately. This is partially because our Cub Scout camping trip this coming weekend has a Minecraft theme and partially because the coveted xBox 360 version of the game was received as a birthday present last weekend. In the world of video games, I don’t mind Minecraft. The boys build and create worlds. They strategize, explore and even collaborate on the best way to find what they need when they are playing in the “same world” on their individual iPods. They learn about geology and civil engineering. Believe it or not, Minecraft is being recognized by educators for its potential as a learning tool in the classroom. www.MinecraftEdu.com MinecraftEdu (a version of the game designed specifically for teachers and students to use in a classroom setting) has been installed in thousands of classrooms across the country and is being used to make history, science and other subjects relatable to kids today. http://www.gamesforchange.org/2013/05/qa-with-minecraftedu-co-creator-joel-levin/
With all of the Minecraft talk in our house lately, the Minecraft toys that I made for my guy’s birthday party last year are out and getting used.
The boys were so excited when I made them. Minecraft toys are not that easy to come by and the ones you do find are not very well made. I made our version from Perler Beads I found at our local craft store. They took a little time to make, but they are perfect for Minecraft. Here is how I did it.
Step 1: Collect the items you will need, including, perler beads in the colors of your toy, perler bead base, iron and iron on paper.
Step 2: Make a pattern of the item you will be creating. If you want to make a square cube, this website will help you lay out the pattern. http://moonatnoon.com/projects/perler/d6.html If you want to make a rectangular cube (like I did for the creeper and torch), copy these patterns:
Once you have the pattern completely laid out on the board, it is time to fuse the beads together with heat. To do this, you will iron over the beads. Be sure your iron is on a dry setting (no steam)! I used the cotton setting, but the beads may come with specific directions on temperature. If so, follow them.
Step 3: Place the iron on paper over the beads. Hold the hot, dry iron over the beads for a few seconds, making sure to cover all of the beads. This part is tricky. Be careful not to melt the beads too much or you will not be able to put the “puzzle pieces” together. Of course, all of the beads do need to be fused together – just not melted flat.
Step 4: Once cool, remove the partially fused beads from the perler board and place them, upside down, on your ironing board. Cover again with the iron on paper and fuse the second side together. Again, be careful not to melt them flat!
Step 5: Once all of the pieces have cooled, you can assemble your cube. Since mine were going to be played with, I fused the edges of the cube as well. To do this I placed the iron on paper over the toy while it was assembled and ironed the edges for a few seconds.
Depending upon how well your ironing went, your cube may have a perfect fit or you may have trouble getting it together. If it is too difficult to assemble, you probably melted the beads too much with the iron while fusing. You may need to try again if this happens.
Perler beads can be used to make fun flat toys as well. You can make these in the same way as the three dimensional toys, but with no assembly.
I hope you have fun making Minecraft toys with your kids!
So, I am wondering, how do you feel about schools using computer games such as Minecraft to teach traditional lessons?