Five more tips for dads on how to maximise your Minecraft gaming fun for some quality time with your children.

For decades, I’ve been an avid videogame consumer.

From an Amstrad in the ’80s, to rented Nintendos in the 90s, to console, and PC level MMORGs in the 00s, videogaming has been part of the casual way I’ve spent my downtime.

While I’ve all but resigned from this virtual playground — because the culture robs time, and because of how game designers suck their prey in — I haven’t abandoned it altogether.

Give me a good storyline. Develop the videogame in a such a way that it encourages couch co-op, or quality family time, and I’m in.


Mojang’s Minecraft strikes the right balance, as I explained in 5 Minecraft Christmas Challenges for Dads with Kids.

Minecraft invites participation. It encourages teamwork and ingenuity. The game also opens the door for some home-grown fun and, healthy competition.

These give the sandbox block-building world its standout educational dynamic.

Minecraft is a good fit for families. It is an entry-level activity for dads with kids who have no idea about videogames, as much as it is a guaranteed levelling up for dads who are video-gaming vets.

My high appreciation for the game’s flexibility is only dampened by the minor complaint about the game’s slow development.

Still, shared interest fosters relationship-building.

The genuine upside to Mojang’s slowness when adding new things to the game is how this pace enhances Minecraft’s parent-child interaction.

For example, my kids come back to me with updates on what’s happening, what they’d like to see added, when the changes take place, and what kinds of exploring, and building challenges they’d like us to do together.

This also illustrates the sheer brilliance of Minecraft player-directed storyline and worlds. For the savvy dad or the clued-in mum, the potential is endless.

Here are five more tried and tested challenges to take the dad-game in Minecraft to the next level.

1. Survivor: Desert Island

Set up the challenge by finding a map with mostly water. Build a simple hut. Explore the map and eliminate the fog-of-war. Use the map to monitor the challenge. When ready, allow players 30 minutes to gather resources from the main island. Once that time is up, they must build, farm — survive — on whatever land they come across. As long as it is an island.

2. Anti-Minecraft, Minecraft challenge

By far the hardest map to complete. Load a new world (it can be any type).


  • can only mine rare earth materials with a pickaxe.
  • can only use TNT to mine, gather wood or stone.
  • Shovels can be used to gather sand, and hoes can be used to farm land.
  • can use a pickaxe to remove misplaced blocks.
  • can use sheers.
  • Weapons are necessary to gather enough gunpowder from Creepers to create TNT.
  • Win when they have built a reasonable dwelling with all the trimmings.

3. Mid-air madness

Similar to Island Survivor, the only difference is building in the air. Players gather resources for 30 minutes. Then they must stay alive for the duration of the map. Players win when they have a sturdy structure, with access to the ground.

4. Cave Dwellers: Enter at Own Risk

Prior to the Caves and Cliffs update, cave-dweller challenges were quirky, but they got old fast. The addition of more mobs adds spice. Players have to survive underground, utilising resources to create a space suitable for themselves and villages to live in.

5. City Builder

This challenge is simple. It isn’t the easiest or most laidback. Find a village. Keep the villagers alive. Expand the villager population by placing beds beside one another. Build compost bins next to farms, water, and other items like a smithing table to assign jobs to your citizenry.

City Builder is one challenge I designed to test Minecraft’s limits and the usefulness of villagers. It ended up becoming our most memorable and beloved challenge.

The most famous incident still being laughed about was the ‘Villager’s Nose disaster. Due to poor design, a hotel for villagers became an infestation filled with zombies. The building was quickly demolished, and a memorial for villagers was put in its place.

This is joined by the ‘Pillager’s Nose,’ which saw villagers jumping out of windows, thus decreasing the population. Its builder was forced to adjust strategy, and rethink the design.

Memories like these — the conversation, and the laughter that goes with them — are the results of investing in lateral thinking.

When it comes to the profitable parental use of technology, Minecraft is one example of what can be achieved.

The suggestions above can help dads build some laidback indoor one-on-one quality time with their kids.

Like a good book, a fireplace, and slow jazz, story-driven videogames belong to rainy days, and cold, lazy afternoons.

Despite my jaded experience, fuelling doubts about the usefulness of videogames, as long as they encourage healthy relationship-building with my kids, I’m bound to never truly become a tech-hating luddite.


Photo by cottonbro.

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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