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Minecraft

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

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224910729/

 

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

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/Ab38Xdz2aGo0CErUkDDrgjhq9Pr8mlg_2hkfaLQmscHyUky6C9AA8Ts/

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.

 

Steve

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224910706/

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224910703/

 

Torch

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842717/

 

Skeleton

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842707/

 

Zombie

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842701/

 

Diamond

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842711/

 

Stone Weapons

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AVDdgSN-t31aqkdLJLq9KT7gcR5QiS9XlkyCeNWjqjEfmbTZc8SGdas/

 

Diamond Sword

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842673/

Diamond Ax

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224913238/

 

Ender Dragon

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842670/

 

Assorted characters

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842588/

Armor and swords

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842721/

Friendship Bracelet

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

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224921401/

 

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.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224910694/

 

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!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224910674/

 

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

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842732/

 

Creeper Made with Toilet Paper Rolls and a Small Box

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842594/

 

Creeper Construction Paper Art

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/Af2lUetIco90NrlvcvhDTE4e_1iTADgZiz1gwRXTGPnaywSO4Bat4wY/

 

Torch

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.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842613/

 

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.

http://www.redtedart.com/minecraft-desk-tidy-diy-printables/

 

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.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/432275264224842640/

 

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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Minecraft

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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Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack and Better Together Update

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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What’s New With Minecraft 1.11?

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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Minecraft

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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Exciting things happen in the world of video games every single day. Everything happens so quickly that it can be tough for a parent to keep track of. Between work, carting the kids to everywhere under the sun, cooking, cleaning, and maybe (just maybe) getting a chance to sleep for a few hours parents just don’t have the time to keep up with everything happening in their child’s hobby.

If the above paragraph describes you, then we have an answer for you. Every Monday morning EFG will be publishing a digest of some of the biggest video game news that your family needs to know. So kick back with your morning coffee and enjoy!

Minecraft Story Mode Episode 3 Incoming!


Sony working on PS2 Emulation on PS4

WIRED reported, and confirmed this past week, that Sony was working on allowing the PlayStation 4 to emulate PlayStation 2 games.  The direct quote from the WIRED article reads as follows:

“We are working on utilizing PS2 emulation technology to bring PS2 games forward to the current generation,” a Sony representative told WIRED via email. “We have nothing further to comment at this point in time.”

When this happens the PlayStation 4 will be able to play PlayStation 2 games using its improved processing power. This would make them look sharper and update them to HD, but it won’t really change the graphics themselves. The art will still be the same afterall.

What makes this exciting is that there is a veritable MOUNTAIN of PlayStation 2 games out there and a lot of them are perfect for families.

New Valkyria Chronicles Coming to PS4!!!

SEGA has confirmed that they are working on a new entry in the fan favorite Valkyria Chronicles series.

The original Valkyria Chronicles was a surprise hit on the PS3 but its two sequels were relegated to the PSP and weren’t even released in North America.

The original has since been brought over to the US on Steam and it was very successful. I can’t help but think that this tipped SEGA off to the demand for the games.

The next game will be a prequel and will be called Valkyria: Azure Revolution. A demo will be included in the Valkyria Chronicles HD Remaster coming next year. The new trailer is below. It is only confirmed for a Japanese release so far, but I think it is a strong possibility that the game will find its way here.

Street Fighter V tutorial includes Young Ryu and Ken

Street Fighter V is coming to the PS4 next February. Until then we can expect dribs and drabs of information to keep up the hype train. The most recent nugget came in the form of a trailer for the tutorial mode that features Ryu and Ken back in their younger days.

Super Star Wars for SNES released on PSN – causing the world to implode.

Sony released a package of older Star Wars games along with the collector’s edition of Star Wars Battlefront. One of the games, Super Star Wars, was  originally an SNES exclusive and this marks the first time an SNES exclusive game was released on a non-Nintendo console.

The game is available for purchase for $9.99 on the PSN and it well worth it for Star Wars fans who are trying to relive the games of their youth or share that joy with their kids!

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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 seems to have taken over the world in recent years. You would be hard pressed to find a school aged kid that has not at least heard of the game and millions of them play every day. The best part of the Minecraft craze is that it is more than just a simple video game. Minecraft is a game with a huge amount of potential for learning and expression of creativity. Unfortunately, the vast majority of parents can’t tap into this potential because they don’t know enough about the game to help their kids make the best of it. That is where Connected Camps comes in!Regular readers will recall that I wrote about Connected Camps before the summer started. They are an online program that offered a Minecraft summer camp for kids who were interested in using the game world to help learn about math, technology, and teamwork.

The summer may have come and gone, but Connected Camps is still hard at work bringing the learning power of Minecraft to the masses. They have recently launched a “Kid Club” for children ages nine though thirteen. Membership in the club costs $24.99 per month and includes full access to the Connected Camps Minecraft servers and includes special access to programs and events that they run.

This isn’t just mindless fun though. Club members will be playing with experienced counselors in the very same moderated environment. This should go a long way towards helping timid parents feel more comfortable with online play.

The $24.99 can appear to be a daunting figure, but Connected Camps does include an option to purchase it with an annual fee of $249 (a $50 savings). The membership also includes discounts on any afterschool, winter, and summer camps that they run.

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Below is a list of the biggest family video game news stories of the past week!

Star Fox Zero Delayed

Miyamoto-san made the follow very candid post on Facebook last week to announce the delay of Star Fox Zero into the first quarter of 2016.

“I made a big decision last week.

We have been developing Star Fox Zero for Wii U with the aim of releasing it this year. Although we felt that the development had been progressing well, we now believe that we will need a little more time to work on areas such as the unprecedented discovery that we want players to experience in the game by using two screens, and further polishing the level designs and perfecting the tone of the cut scenes. While we have already reached the stage where it would be technically possible to release the title in time for the year-end holiday season, we want to polish the game a bit more so that players will be able to more smoothly grasp the new style of play that we are proposing.

To the people looking forward to the launch of the game this holiday season, I am very sorry.

Star Fox Zero is going to bring new game play and experiences that take it far beyond the framework established by Star Fox 64. All the members of the development team are doing our best so that the final product will not betray your expectations. And the game will not be delayed for a very long time – we’re aiming to launch the game in Q1 2016. Please stay tuned for further announcements.”


 

Star Wars Battlefront Beta Announced

Electronic Arts has announced that the beta for Star Wars Battlefront will take place from Oct 8th through the 12th.

The game is mostly done, but this will provide EA with useful data about their servers to help make the launch as smooth as possible. It will also have the advantage of serving as a demo for interested players to help them make up their mind.

The beta will not feature the entire game, of course, but fill include several of the more important game modes. The download will be around seven gigs so you will want to take that into account when making your plans to play the game.

We will be playing the beta so you can keep your eye here for more information and our impressions!


 

Minecraft confirmed for Oculus Rift

This year’s Oculus Connect conference for virtual reality developers started with a bang. Mojang confirmed via a brief video that the Windows 10 edition of Minecraft will launch on the Oculus Rift “next year.”


 

The Toys to Life Hat trick is Now Complete!

The toys to life category of toys has been huge in recent years. This year will be no exception as we will have three different games competing for our attention. Disney Infinity 3.0 launched on August 30th. Skylanders Superchargers launched last Sunday. And, LEGO Dimensions releases this Sunday.

We’ll be publishing a comparison article this week. So keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming!


 

Turner Networks Enter eSports Business

Turner Broadcasting System and WME/IMG are coming together to start a new eSports league. This on its own wouldn’t be that interesting except for the fact that they will be televising the tournaments on Turner networks.
The league will launch next year on TBS and each tournament will last 20 weeks. The first game they will be playing is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

This may not be a tournament for families considering the game is a squad based shooter, but the proliferation of eSports is certainly relevant.


 

Angry Birds The Movie Trailer Released

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We learned something very interesting during the 2015 Microsoft E3 press event. I learned how to properly pronounce the name for the Swedish company that makes Minecraft.

 I mean… I learned a lot of other useful stuff to. I learned about Halo 5. I learned that the Xbox One will be backwards compatible with the Xbox 360. I even learned that Rare is releasing a collection of thirty classic games for $30 (HUGE VALUE).

But, the thing I learned that will have the single biggest impact on my life?

The company that developed Minecraft, Mojang, is not pronounced “MO-JANG.” It is, instead, pronounced “MO-YANG.”

This is critical knowledge for everyone with a child between the ages of 5 and 15 so lets spread the word people! MO-YANG; Not MO-JANG.

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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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