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This week Stephen and Amanda come together to chat about the E3 2019 Schedule and to Celebrate Minecraft’s 10th birthday!!

This podcast was produced in partnership with SuperParent.com

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Minecraft was first released in 2011 and since then has become one of the best selling video games of all time. Its aesthetic is instantly recognizable and the blocky voxels allow for some easy crafting adaptations for a wide range of skills. There are many blogs and Pinterest pages with crafts, many of which are too complicated for children. This collection of crafts use common materials with simple steps that children with a range of skills can complete.


Mosaic Magnets



Using just a simple print out and an adhesive magnetic sheet and a pair of scissors you can create a wide range of Minecraft creations (especially using the 8 bit designs listed below).

Steve and Creeper Heads


These cross over into costume/dress-up too. The link provides directions for making Steve and Creeper heads out of cardboard boxes. The labor intensive part for the adult is going to be making the grid lines.

8 Bit/Perler Bead Patterns


These patterns are perfect to use with perler beads. Younger crafters can follow these designs and create their favorite characters.  These designs are not limited to beads, and can be used for a range of crafts for more experienced crafters.  Some additional crafts include: Friendship bracelets, quilt squares, knitting or crocheting.




















Stone Weapons



Diamond Sword


Diamond Ax



Ender Dragon



Assorted characters


Armor and swords


Friendship Bracelet

This design is longer and thin which is intended as a friendship bracelet, but could easily be used for other crafts.




Characters on canvas

For kids that like to paint and (mostly) can stay in the lines, this is a great painting activity. For younger kids an adult would need to paint the grid and indicate the color to use.  For older kids, they may still need assistance creating the grid. These could also become bedroom decorations for a Minecraft fan.



DIY Shrinky Dinks

Shrinky Dinks are a classic craft that you can create using any theme.  By tracing Minecraft pictures you can make you can have Minecraft Shrinky Dinks!



Creeper Magnets

This craft uses glass gems (found in most craft sections of stores) creeper face printouts and adhesive magnets. The blog link also has directions for Minecraft Sticker Block art and Construction Paper Pixel Art



Creeper Made with Toilet Paper Rolls and a Small Box



Creeper Construction Paper Art




This blog details a Minecraft Themed birthday party.  The paper torch was one activity for the kids to enjoy.  Directions for the torch are about near the bottom of the page.



Tin Can Containers

Creating a pencil tin using paper and an old tin can is a classic craft.  This simple activity takes a Minecraft print out and attaches it to a tin can to decorate.  For the younger crafter this is nice and simple. For a more skilled older child, they could use grip paper to design their own image.



No Sew Pillows

This blog details how to make Minecraft pillows without sewing at all!  The pillows are held together with fusible bonding, which you iron to bond it, or fabric glue.  The Minecraft characters are painted or glued on with felt.  This is a more involved craft, but being no sew it is safer for crafters of all ages.



Minecraft is wildly popular and in the game Creative Mode allows the players to use their imaginations.  The crafts listed above allow them to tap into their interest of Minecraft and be creative in the real world. There are crafts that have a wide range of skills, depending on the child and the level of support desired by the adult.  Crafts are a fun ways to connect the love of creation in Minecraft to making real objects.


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Microsoft announced the Better Together update at E3 2017. This update is intended to allow players multiple platforms to play together. In essence, it is intended to unite all of the platforms where Minecraft is available into a single game. This means cross-platform support that allows console, windows 10 PC, and mobile Minecrafters to play together!

The update is coming soon, but first Microsoft will be running a beta for Windows 10 PC and Mobile players. The beta started on July 31 and will be followed shortly by a similar beta including the Xbox One.

The update itself will come later this summer and will include the biggest collection of new features to ever come to bedrock platforms (mobile and Windows 10 PC). The list of new features will include:

  • Stained Glass
  • Fireworks
  • Parrots that dance
  • Customizable banners
  • Armor stands
  • Jukebox and music discs
  • Recipe books
  • Ravines

The update also includes new multiplayer features, like the ability for hosts to set player permissions and host options, and other tools. Lastly, the update includes the ability for players to share their custom creations in 3D by uploading the 3D models directly to Remix3d.com.

This is a pretty big deal for Minecraft. We’ll be keeping you all updated as we get closer to the update going live.



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Release Date: Graphics Pack Fall 2017, Better Together Update Summer 2017

Developer: Mojang

Platform:  Xbox, Xbox X, Switch, Mobile (iOs and Android), Windows 10, and VR
Minecraft had two big announcements in their video revealed for E3.  First, they are putting out a “Better Together” update.  This was revealed in the first portion of their trailer which opens with one of the Minecraft landscapes with the words “Coming this Summer” in pixelated letters.  The camera zooms forward and the next landscape has the words “Community Marketplace”.  What Minecraft is revealing with this trailer is that this summer Minecraft will be available for Crossplay as the game is being unified.  Now gamers can play across several consoles and platforms.  These include;  Xbox, Xbox X, Switch, Mobile (iOs and Android), Windows 10, and VR. Unfortunately, it appears the PlayStation 4 is not a console that will be included in the crossplay program.

The second announcement is revealed in the trailer as the camera zooms into a tunnel and the screen goes dark.  A moment later the camera emerges in the Minecraft world, with a vastly different look.  Coming this fall there will be DLC called the Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack which will be available on Xbox One, and Windows 10.  This DLC brings Minecraft into 4k, and while the pixelated aesthetic of Minecraft remain, the visual elements of the game are significantly upgraded.  The way they are incorporating the quintessential Minecraft look while integrating 4K is accomplished with lighting and shadowing.  The sky alone in the first look at the Super Duper Graphics Pack demonstrates the change.  Sunlight is streaming through a light fog over the ground while clouds above maintain their pixelated shape.  The trees below still look pixelated, but they are much smaller squares and have a more refined look.  As the camera and the characters move there is a significant amount of shadowing that go along also giving the game a vastly different and richer look.  With the level of detail, to get the most out of the Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack, you would need to have an Xbox One or a higher quality computer that is equipped for this level of graphics.  For those gamers who are ready to change up the Minecraft aesthetic, and have the 4K level computer or Xbox One, this is the perfect DLC.


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A Minecraft update was released recently and added several new features to the game. The update adds a few new gameplay elements which encourage players to expand their horizons and travel to different places. These changes have seen 1.11 dubbed the Exploration Update, and it’s one of the biggest additions we’ve seen in recent times.

The additions include a few mobs, new items and a cool new location which contains treasure and various other interesting goodies. This is alongside the usual bug fixes and tweaks we’ve come to expect from the regular updates.

New Items

Arguably the most interesting new item is the Treasure Map, which can be acquired from the Cartographer Villager (also a recent addition). It can be used to help find important locations which are likely to contain loot, such as monuments, dungeons and Woodland Mansions.

There are now more item storage options available for players, with the shells dropped by Shulkers able to be turned into inventory boxes. The advantage is that these Shulker Boxes will keep their inventory even if they are broken.

The last major item addition is the Observer Block, which will output and update a redstone signal. There have already been some interesting creative uses for this item, including things like automated self-harvesting farms, elevators and flying machines.

New Mobs

There are a handful of new mobs in the 1.11 update to help make it a little easier for you to explore. Firstly, the aforementioned Cartographer Villager will sell you his treasure maps in exchange for some emeralds. Given the treasure available at some of the locations, this is more than a fair trade.

Another friendly mob which has been added is the llama, which can be used as transportation and as item storage. While they can’t be controlled when riding them, putting them on a leash will mean other nearby llamas will follow you and form a caravan. With each having a 6 slot inventory it can be a really useful way of transporting items over distance.

Finally, there are a few new hostile mobs added to the game. Illagers are a new enemy which can be found in the Woodland Mansions, and these outcasts will attack the other villagers as well as the player. There are two kinds of illagers in the mansion – Evokers and Vindicators. Evokers have different abilities to Vindicators and can summon Vex, a flying mob which will attack the player during a summon attack. They are surprisingly tough to defeat, so make sure you prepare before you take them on!

New Locations

The new Woodland Mansions are a really interesting addition to the game, and can be found in the Dark Oak Forest biomes. It’s unlikely to be something the player will stumble across accidentally, as it’s typically quite a distance from the spawn point and they’re fairly rare in the game. The most likely way of finding them is to purchase the Treasure Map from the Cartographer Villager and hope there’s one in your world. If there is, it’s well worth visiting as they contain lots of useful items and pre-built rooms (more than 70 types) which makes it an excellent base if you can clear out the hostile mobs.

While it won’t fundamentally change the way play the game, it’s yet another update where enough improvements have been made to keep things interesting for long-time players. Microsoft has stepped up its game over the last year or so and there have been several innovative updates for gamers to enjoy.

While it will be a challenge for them to keep up with the various mods and plugins which have helped make the game so popular, it’s good to see the basic gameplay being updated after all this time. It will be interesting to see where they take the game over the next couple of years, and if they can tempt those who left to come back to the vanilla version of the game.

Playing version 1.11 is as simple as opening your existing launching and changing your profile to the 1.11 version.

Stuart works with Apex Minecraft Hosting, who offer reliable Minecraft servers to players around the world.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Pixelkin.org. Be sure to check them out when you get a chance!

Mojang and Microsoft made some significant Minecraft announcements during their E3 2016 Press Briefing. Minecraft has already sold over 100 million copies, but neither company is ready to rest on their laurels. Massive updates are coming to all versions of the game to increase the number of ways people can play together, and number of people they can play with.

They opened the Minecraft segment with a demo that showcased  cross-device play between iOS, Android, Samsung Gear VR, and Windows 10 devices. This is being made possible through what they are calling the “Friendly Update” for the Minecraft Windows 10 Edition and the Minecraft: Pocket Edition.

They also announced that they would be launching the Minecraft Realms services that will allow Windows PC and Mobile players to create and host their own multiplayer worlds that they can play in with their friends 24/7 even if they are offline. A one month demo of Minecraft Realms is available to people with Xbox Live accounts starting today.

They also announced that they will be bringing more add-ons and texture packs to allow players to more fully customize their worlds. Even more announcements and surprises are in store for us at Minecon in September.

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information as it is released!

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minecraft education edition

It seems you can’t go anywhere anymore without running into a group of kids (or adults for that matter) talking about Minecraft. It is a phenomenon that has revolutionized video games. The same sandbox gameplay that makes it an ideal place for digital play also makes it a great place to experiment and learn. Educators have been trying to make use of it in the classroom since the game started to rise in popularity.

The problem of bringing Minecraft to schools was eventually solved by a company called Teacher Gaming. They developed a sophisticated mod for Minecraft that they called MinecraftEdu. They negotiated an official license from Mojang back in 2011 and marketed their program to schools worldwide. At this point there are more than seven thousand schools in around forty countries using the service. It has been wildly popular.

The idea behind the service is straightforward. Teacher Gaming sells classroom licenses to teachers and lets them use private servers to teach things like STEM, Languages, and Art. The game is not changed all that much at all.

The key component to the success of MinecraftEdu has been the official license from Mojang. This support allowed them to leverage the power of the Minecraft brand without fear of being sued into the ground by the game’s owner. Sure. Teacher Gaming could have made their own home grown product, but it would have been very difficult to replicate the excitement that kids have for the Minecraft brand.

Microsoft put all of that in jeopardy when they purchased Mojang and, along with it, the rights to Minecraft. They would have been completely within their rights to shut everything down, but have elected not to do so. They obviously saw some earning potential though, because they, instead, have purchased MinecraftEdu from Teacher Gaming and are using it to help build and release a new version called Minecraft: Education Edition.

The game itself will remain largely the same, but it will have more robust tools for teachers to control the learning environment and track players within it. The biggest differences will all be outside of the game itself. Microsoft is hoping to build a robust community of educators who will create and share lessons plans with each other. This is a risky strategy considering how time consuming creating some lesson plans in Minecraft can be. But, they are hoping that enough teachers will get involved in the program that even a small percentage of them will be able to keep the content flowing.

Minecraft: Education Edition will launch sometime this summer, just in time to give teachers who are off from school a chance to play around with the new tools and learn them before School starts again in the fall.

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Everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock by now has at least HEARD of Minecraft. It has been a runaway hit since its release and it is available on just about everything.

One thing Minecraft hasn’t done very well with (likely on account of a lack of effort) has been the story. That won’t be changing in Minecraft proper, but Telltale Games appears to be fixing it on their own in a new episodic adventure game called Minecraft Story Mode.

Take a look at the trailer below. We’ll be sharing more details as the release comes closer this Fall.

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Microsoft showed off a demo for a new version of Minecraft designed for use with the Microsoft Hololense device during their 2015 E3 press event.

I am not certain how it works, but I spent the vast majority of the demo in slack jawed awe of the technology. It is a demonstration of an insane future that I wasn’t sure would ever happen.

The Hololense is a set of glasses that will let the user see projected images in the environment around them. The original technical demo involved the idea of being able to place a monitor on a wall. This allowed for a lots of neat viewing angles and some interesting communication options, but it didn’t really show us the gaming potential until E3.

The Minecraft demo shows an entire world being available for play using hand controls Tony Stark style on a coffee table. It was insane watching the world fly across the table while a god-like being, essentially, moved it around and called down lightning strikes!

We live in a very interesting future my friends. I can’t even imagine where it is going to go next!

 Go here for all of our E3 2015 coverage!

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. The people over at Connected Camps reach out to our staff and requested that we publish a post about their program in exchange for compensation. I am required to disclose that, but rather than sneak the disclosure in at the end in a tiny font I wanted to declare it right up front along with the promise that I believe in this program and would not have published anything if I didn’t.

Minecraft is a game that has taken the world by storm in recent years. There is hardly a grade school aged kid who hasn’t at least heard of it. The best part of the Minecraft craze is that it is more than just a simple video game. It is a game with a huge amount of potential for learning and expression of creativity. Sadly, a lot of parents can’t tap this potential because they aren’t savvy enough to use the game correctly.

CC_FB Cover


That, my friends, is where Connected Camps comes in. They are an organization that, in concert with The Institute of Play, has launched a virtual summer camp to help teach kids (and their parents) how to play Minecraft and to make the most out of the experience.

What exactly is a virtual summer camp you may ask? Good question. Connected Camps runs a program that is available for students to connect with around the clock to complete challenges and meet objectives on private servers run by the camp itself. In essence, they don’t “go” anywhere in the real world. They, instead, sign into a Minecraft server and participate in directed play.

The program itself runs for four weeks and is module based. It includes lessons on things like:

Problem solving and design

Minecraft is a game built around a logical framework. Everything is built one block at a time. This forced players to use critical thinking skills and develop their problem solving ability in order to complete game objectives.

The camp adds an additional layer with their own challenges in order to enhance the experience!

Advanced building techniques

Minecraft is tough, but a lot of kids figure out very quickly how to built a hut and mine for diamonds. The camp will help teach them some of the advanced tools that they will be able to use in the game (many of which are logic puzzles in themselves).

Some of the tools available in the game have been used by some enterprising players to make a working calculator so the tools are definitely impressive.

Online and web literacy

Completing these challenges follow some of the same methods used to complete online courses at colleges across the country. This camp will force kids (and in some cases parents) to learn how to communicate online and inhabit an online space.

Collaboration and community organizing

Many of the challenges built into the curriculum require teamwork. Completion of the different exercises will teach kids how to work within a group and how to help organize people at different skill levels and at different locations.

This is a skill that will become more and more useful as our workplaces embrace telecommuting.

Digital citizenship

A huge portion of our lives is experienced digitally right now and this is only growing. As a result, it is important for us to teach our children how to participate in the online world in a positive way.

Having young children participate in an online game under the watchful eye of camp counselors and other controls will help set a good example for players. This will, hopefully, carry over into other aspects.

All of these things are great. The learning possibilities are limitless, but don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at the video below and see testimonials from campers and parents! Then make sure you sign up at www.connectedcamps.com.

When you do sign up make sure you use the coupon code EFG30 for 30% off your the price of enrollment! That’s a HUGE deal!

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