Minecraft for Parents

Inspired somewhat by Miss Oh’s videos of her Let’s Play world, I decided that it would be nice to create something for parents of young Minecrafters.

When I first heard of Minecraft it sounded like it had a lot of potential for the Oh Waily kids to learn lots of new skills while having fun.  So I went off and gave it a trial run.  Just me. On my own.

I can tell you it was less than successful as the game comes with no instructions and there I was trying to work out how to do things.  I managed to figure out the punching thing and the digging by hand thing but the crafting stuff just bamboozled me.  While I’m all for exploration and figuring things out, if your young one chooses to play Survival (any version except Peaceful) and they don’t work enough things out before night-time, then they encounter the game’s googlies.  This is likely to mean a quick end to the game and if they re-spawn (re-enter the game) they are likely to be very close to the bad guys again and the same quick end is likely to turn in to “Groundhog Day”.  If your kids are very young or have a temperament that feels these sorts of defeats, then this could put them off from playing what is a very open-ended, creative, sandbox game.

Now there may be other videos and articles out there for parents to watch or read, so they can help with these very first steps, but I didn’t find them when we started.  And since we’ve been at this for a little while now I have accumulated quite a bit of knowledge and resources to help my young’ens make the most out of their games.  Frankly, now they’re the ones teaching me what to do and what not to.  If we decide to make more than a basic introduction series of three or four videos, it’s possible that the Patch kids might take over the Guide videos.  (Yes, I’m always angling for learning experiences.)

In the meantime, if you’re the parent of a young one desperate to give Minecraft a go and want a basic introduction to get them through the first night or two please stop over at our first foray into tutorials.  Our intention is to put one out each week until we think we’ve covered enough of the basics that a young child can survive in order to do the exploration Minecraft is so good for.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here or over on the video.  We will do our best to answer them for you.

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZmXcypfB0g” ]



LightningMatt is about to strike

LightningMattYT1Young Master Oh Waily wishes to get in on the video making bandwagon and has been asking me if he can for a week or two now.
This week both his interest and my time collided so that I could let him have a practice run.   The practice ended up being 30 minutes long and it is likely that I will be asked to edit that in to something he can upload to YouTube.  Then this morning he sat with his sister and did a second one as well.  I didn’t eavesdrop on them, but according to sources close to the recording he might just sometimes forget to use the gamer tag names they have chosen.  I can see much fun and probable hair-pulling on my part when it comes to working out how to edit what he has recorded.

I’m proud of his attitude of giving it a go.  At six years old I think he’s going to have done pretty well just to have completed one and have it uploaded.  He does have his own channel on YouTube.  There was never any chance of him not since his sister does!  I will post here when we have something uploaded, which will probably be some time next week.  Once we do, if you could stop by in a bit of spare time to give him a thumbs up, that would be greatly appreciated.

I’m now looking forward to taking a look to see what they’ve put together.  It should be an interesting comparison of styles – because they really do have very different ways of doing things!

The Cow Episode

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 7.14.44 pm

Today’s blog post is brought to you by “Pigs in space….”

Oh wait.   No…. that’s my youth I’m reliving*.

This is Miss Oh’s youth we’re talking about here.  In that case it should be “Cows in trees”.  In this episode you meet the gravity defying bovines that populate the Minecraft world.  Well, mostly gravity defying and apparently expert climbers.

Fences are built, random movie moments are stolen** and re-interpreted by a child who has never seen the original, and the odd witty remark is passed.  All by my lovely eight year old !!

Before we get to the link, I must again thank those who have subscribed to her channel.  As of yesterday she has made it to her first goal – 10 subscribers.  She is also well on her way to 100 views on one video – with her first episode up to 70 views now.

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRvr7LAvvAw” ]


  • Bonus points to you for recognising the reference.

** Triple points if you get that reference too.


What Did We Do Today?


Today there was coffee !  And some applied maths… multiple-step multiplication and addition to work out the right number of blocks to make paths in Minecraft, for both kids.  Also some discussion about different patterns and how to construct them.   In between that there was a trip to the shops, a library visit for new reading books, a letter in the post from a home ed friend of Miss Oh’s who now lives in Christchurch, a play at the park, and a spotting of multiple baby ducks.
One of the ducklings elicited a great deal of excitement in that it looked to be the same “Sqaishy” duck we had seen a couple of weeks ago.  Minecrafters will probably know which one is meant.  Apologies for the hideous quality, it was a bright day & I only had my phone on me, so it’s pretty awful with no white balance.


Added to this Miss Oh has recorded her fourth episode of Rainbow World, and we’ve noticed that she now has 9 subscribers – one away from her goal of 10 !!  Thanks to those of you who have been kind enough to sub up, as I know it’s a royal pain if you don’t have a Google account.

Interestingly, as I sat down to write this post I was thinking that there really wasn’t much going on today.  Maybe there was after all.

And that’s pretty much what we did today.  Hope your Friday has been a good one!

Shameless plug

I thought I would put out a quick post to encourage anyone who hasn’t already, to take a look at Miss Oh Waily’s YouTube channel.  Along with her Rainbow World Minecraft Let’s Play videos, she has started another series that will contain short tips.

She recorded and edited the third episode and did most of the tip video too.  I should be entirely redundant in no time.

Her current goal is to get to 10 subscribers and hit 100 views on a single video.  Lofty goals, but hopefully attainable at some point.

In addition to the videos, I also wanted to give NaBloPoMo a go here at the Patch.  I’m not sure how it’ll turn out as I haven’t worked out if there’s enough to actually write about each day, but I figure it’s worth a crack.  I’m already doing it over at my own blog, so it should just be a natural tag along to do one then the other, but we will have to see.

Happy viewing all !  And reading too.

RainbowGems’ debut

As I mentioned over at our Facebook page a few days ago, our dining room was temporarily transformed in to a recording studio while Miss Oh Waily created her first Minecraft Let’s Play video.  It was quite the experience for all of us.

Thankfully the awkward patch of trying to edit the first video to deal with some initial teething issues has not put her off at all.  There should be more in this series, so if you want to support and encourage her to keep learning and improving, you could do nothing better than liking her video and perhaps even write her an encouraging comment.  If you are feeling super-supportive then you can always subscribe to her channel too.  I’m pretty sure any of those will bring a huge smile to her face.

So this first episode was edited by me, with the Miss doing some specific pieces and ensuring I wasn’t destroying her masterpiece.  The next one will be much more of a collaboration where she will be left to do the necessary nips and tucks, with me hovering nearby to answer questions.  Although I suspect there will be little to fix next time around… with the exception of any creaking doors in the background !

So without further ado, I give you Miss Oh Waily aka RainbowGems and her first “Let’s Play” video.

[kad_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/sp4DOc47udY” maxwidth=600 ]


Minecraft History: The King’s Chamber

After a bit of a bump at about the halfway mark, the Oh Waily kids have managed to persevere and complete the King’s Chamber in their History World pyramid.
To be fair, I designed the stairways as they found it pretty tough translating the cross-section diagram of Khufu’s tomb in to a Minecraft world, but it’s something we can work on as they get more practiced at the planning side of things.

Once again, however, the great bulk of this creation is their own.
Master Oh Waily created the actual space while Miss Oh Waily did most of the outfitting.  She even designed the contents of the boat chest to look like the profile of Egyptian boats she had seen in our readings.

We hope you enjoy.

[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJdJbuA-TEs” maxwidth=700 ]


Pukeko Patch History World

Well who knew that I’d have to learn how to edit videos in order to home educate my kids?

I swear that having them learning at home is as much about my continuous learning as it is about theirs!  Anyway, the upshot is a very wobbly first attempt at a Minecraft video.  Please excuse any technical issues – they’re all mine.  Hopefully we will all get better at this as the kids keep working on their History World.

So, without further ado here is our first History World walkthrough.  If you would leave a comment over at YouTube, I’m sure the kids would get a real buzz over that.  Thanks.


Minecraft makes an appearance

minecraft-logo_0And so it is that the Oh Waily family have tumbled down in to the Minecraft world.  We are still falling, all askew, down in to that dark pit of digital lego.  Our fall should be stopped, abruptly, roughly 24 blocks down… if my maths and memory are any good.

I have resisted allowing access to computer games for a while, mostly because I am keenly aware of how easy it is to become all-obsessed with them.  Finally, however, I thought I would relent and see what the much talked about Minecraft was all about.

Hmm, yes.

Little did I know what a giant can o’worms I was going to be opening with this one.

At first we were mystified by the square trees, the hammering things with our fingers and hands, and all the nasties that came to kill us on our first nights.  Then we discovered ‘peaceful’ mode, the oh-so-necessary wikis of information on how to actually make things in this world and how to craft things to survive.   From there we moved on to the world of YouTube videos, and the apparent stars of Minecraft videos – Stampy and Ballistic Squid.   There may be others of note online, but the Oh Waily kids are fully hooked, obsessed and in love with the antics of two British lads, their orange cat avatar and oddly disturbing squid-headed avatar.   Not to mention the silent (at least while building with Stampy) L for Leeeeee and his cakes.  Oh yes, this Mum has come to know who is who in this world.  Whether I really wanted to or not.

Swimming against the tide of opinion, and in the face of kids who wish to end up with a sign in Stampy’s Love Garden some day, I am opening my arms to the world of Minecraft and all of the things it can, has and will be able to teach my small people.

Today I posted a quick screenshot to our Instagram feed.

It follows our history lesson, where we were learning some of the finer points of pyramids and mummies, during which the Oh Waily kids generated idea after idea for creations in our newly minted Pukeko Patch History World on Minecraft.  A creative mode world, it’s purpose is for re-creations of various ancient civilisations, as the kids see fit.  We found the perfect (for us) seed world and set to it.  I have a small (and I really mean small) hand in starting & helping out with the construction.

The pyramid pictured is about 30 blocks tall so you can just imagine how big that becomes at the base.
They built it from smooth sandstone blocks and chose snow to mimic the limestone coating.  Current thought is to leave it as it is, which mimics the worn state of Khufu’s pyramid at Giza.  The one nod to the way it would have been when first complete, is the glowstone capping block, as replacement for the gold top.

I’m pretty proud of their efforts.  It’s not a small task they undertook, and they’ve done a great job so far.  I believe there will be more work to be done.  I’m hoping for a network of rooms, tunnels and traps.  Perhaps the odd treasure or two, and most definitely some sort of sarcophagus.  But that’s down to them, so we’ll have to see how far their enthusiasm for it goes.

I will be sure to share snapshots of progress and, should I ever learn how, a walkthrough guided tour of The Pukeko Patch History World via video.  Perhaps one day we will learn the skills to upload our very own YouTube videos.