What are maps?
Maps are the worlds that players create in Minecraft. There's also an item in the game called a map, but that's not what this article is about.
What are the different types of maps?
Players make a map every time they start a new game and build, change and destroy parts of it to make it their own. Players can share the worlds they create with other players too. These can be all types of worlds, from simple fun puzzle-solving maps to grand and complex adventures. Some popular types of maps are:
Story-based worlds where players follow a narrative and solve puzzles to reach specific goals
Usually a race where players have to navigate obstacle courses with lots of jumping
Players land in a world with little resources and must use their skills to stay alive
Where do I get them from?
There are lots of sites where players upload and share the maps that they've created. Some of the more popular sites include Minecraft Maps, the Minecraft Forum, YouTube and 'best of' type articles like this one from PC Gamer. Remember to exercise caution when downloading files, and always make sure you're running good virus protection software.
How do I install them?
Maps are exactly the same kinds of files as the worlds that are created when you play single player Minecraft. These are saved into the .minecraft/saves folder, and that's where you need to put your downloaded maps. If you need help finding your saves folder, check the instructions in the parent's guide to installing mods.
How do I use them?
Once you've put the map into your saves folder, log in to Minecraft as you usually do and you'll now find the new maps in your list of available worlds - choose one and click Play.