One of the biggest concerns that parents have about Minecraft is the amount of time their kids spend playing it. Diehard fans can spend hours and hours engrossed in the game or watching YouTube videos of others playing it, and trying to drag their attention away for a little downtime isn't easy.
So here's a big list of ideas to get your Minecraft fans enthused about taking a break!
Minecraft activities you can do in real life
Start a veggie garden, plant a tree (make sure you call it a sapling) or let them grow their own cactus in a little pot.
Catching fish is a fun way to get food in Minecraft, so kids might be encouraged to pick up a rod and try it out for real.
In the game you can make dyes from plants, flowers and ink to change the colour of wool and clay. Here's a great guide to making natural dyes from plant life you can find in your own backyard.
You could have some fun making pretend potions from stuff you have around the house like baking soda, tea bags and food colouring. You could also make your own soda or root beer, or let them invent a new type of milkshake.
Minecraft items you can make in real life
In Minecraft paper is made from sugar cane and then turned into books or maps. Making paper in real life is a little more time consuming, but an easy and fun activity that most kids will enjoy. They get to make a squelchy mess, what's not to like?
Players make helmets, chest plates, leggings and boots from leather or valuable ores like gold and diamond, but you could make yours from old cardboard boxes.
Bow and arrow
These are fun to use in the game, and even more fun to make in real life. You can make them from PVC piping and dowel, but the one that my husband made for his son from a discarded tree bough is still going strong ten years later (and just as loved as the first day).
There's a whole bunch of real-life foods in Minecraft from carrots to cookies to roast chicken, which is great inspiration for your little miners to help you out in the kitchen.
Swords and Pickaxes
The pixelated world of Minecraft translates really well to DIY projects, like making your own diamond pickaxes and swords. This one gets bonus points because it will inspire them to spend even more time outdoors having sword fights when they're done making them.
Every good miner keeps a bunch of torches at the ready for exploring all those dark and spooky caves. You can make one in real life too, using your printer and an electronic candle. These would be fun for camping!
Slimes are green bouncing bad guys who hang out in swamps. The kids would have tons of fun making their own non-cubed friendly version, or maybe these incredible jello slime icecream pops from the lovely Cupquake.
Items in Minecraft can be put into frames and hung on the wall, so kids might enjoy doing the same in real life with their favourite artwork or souvenirs.
Entice the kids outside by letting them get down and dirty making mud or clay bricks like they do in Minecraft.
Outdoorsy stuff that's kinda like Minecraft
This is a fun treasure hunt activity where you find your way to hidden caches via GPS coordinates, and it's very similar to the way players navigate in Minecraft.
Most of Minecraft involves either digging or building, so what better place to do that than the sand! Plus there are beaches in the game (although you're less likely to spot a squid in real life).
Create a Minecraft-theme hunt in real life (or gets the kids to create their own), searching for items that are found in the game like flowers, trees, food and animals.
Minecraft-inspired media, arts and crafts
Make your own spawn eggs
Egg dyeing doesn't just have to be an Easter craft, you can make your own Minecraft spawn eggs anytime!
Design pixel art
Kids who like to play in creative mode often love making pixel art statues out of Minecraft blocks (pixel art is a form of digital art where the pictures are created using a small number of pixels in clever ways). Graph paper and pixel art are just made for each other, with each square on the paper representing one pixel. CaptainNintendoDude has a great video showing how to use graph paper to plan and design awesome creations that would be perfect for building in Minecraft.
Make a Minecraft comic
Kids love making up stories as they play Minecraft, or watching videos of other people playing narratives on adventure maps. These would make great fodder for budding comic book artists or graphic novelists!
Collect and paint rocks to look like ores
Mining for ores is a large part of the game, and the simple design of the blocks means it'd be super easy to make your own.
Fold some papercraft
Papercraft is like origami but a whole lot easier. You simply print the design and cut it out, then fold it and tape it together - and luckily most of Minecraft is made of cubes, which is the easiest shape to make. You can search for free Minecraft printables at Pixel PaperCraft.
Make a creeper shirt
Creepers are the easiest things to make into crafts, because they're just a few black squares on a green background. This makes it super simple and fun for the kids to make their own creeper tees.
Carve a watermelon
Who says you have to wait until Halloween to carve something? Again, creepers are easy ones to make and it's a great messy activity to do outside in summer.
Put on a puppet show
Take some of those PaperCraft printables, leave a finger hole at the bottom or attach them to a popstick and you've got yourself the makings of a puppet show.
I'd love to try these out these Creeper shoes with the kids! All you need are some cheap canvas shoes and fabric markers. Brilliant.
Make a pinata
It's pretty easy to make Minecraft-themed pinatas because most of the items are square. You could try a ghast or mini blocks or a Creeper or an Enderman, or adapt any of these to other blocks like TNT or a pumpkin.
Make a paper pumpkin
Speaking of pumpkins, this paper weaving is super easy!
Minecraft-inspired places to visit
Every time your kids play Minecraft they come across ores like iron, coal, gold and lapis lazuli, so they might be interested in seeing what they look like in real life.
There are nearly a dozen different types of flowers in Minecraft, not to mention a bunch of different trees and plants like cacti. So yes, you might be able to tempt the kids to come with you to the garden shop after all.
Farms and petting zoos
Setting up farms and breeding animals is an important part of the game - there are sheep, pigs, horses, dogs, chickens and cows (not to mention ocelots and wolves, but you don't find many of them at petting zoos).
There are a bunch of Minecraft books made for kids, including handbooks and player guides... even novels!
Join a Minecraft group or camp
These are springing up all over the place now, so check if there's one in your local area where kids can meet up with other Minecraft enthusiasts.
Have a planning day
There's always something to do in Minecraft, and your kids will usually have ten or twenty things on the go at once. It's hard to keep track of all that in working memory, so encourage them to use some offline time to plan what they want to build or explore by making lists or drawing a map.
So there you go, dozens of ideas for offline things that Minecraft fans might enjoy doing. It's never going to be easy to entice them to take a break from something they enjoy so much, but if you work with their obsession instead of against it you might be surprised at the result!