Teaching our Girls to Fly (Girls Who Mine, a Minecraft Group for Girls)

About one year ago, Tom McLeod introduced me to media maven, power connector Kate Gardiner. I mentioned how my daughters (ages 7 & 10) loved playing Minecraft, and wanted to connect with other parents who had daughters who also played. I thought if my girls loved playing Minecraft, there must be other little girls that do too, right? When I asked my kids why they were embarrassed to ask their friends to play with them, they responded, “Only boys play it”. OH NO THEY DIDN’T! I seized the opportunity to change that for my girls. Thankfully Kate Gardiner’s email intro to John Keefe was exactly the parent I needed to meet.

(BIG Shoutout to Tom and Kate for their kind, generous introductions)

John and I met for coffee Spring of 2015. John is a father of two daughters. Bless him for writing this super informative blog post, entitled Gardening at Night, One Dad’s Guide to Minecraft. If you don’t know what Minecraft is yet, John breaks down the 411 for parents, or anyone who wants to learn what Minecraft is, why our kids love it, and how to keep it safe. Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the United States with over 100 million registered users.

Girls Who Mine

By Fall 2015 we had kicked off Girls Who Mine. Girls Who Mine is a growing group of girls ages 8–12 who meet and play Minecraft and learn tips, tricks and adventures from one and other. Friendships are formed over a shared interested in a comfortable, supportive, safe environment. Our first gatherings were hosted in our NYC apartments, however we’re grateful to have LittleBits sponsor and host our next upcoming event February 6, 2016.

The first Girls Who Mine event at my apartment

Why just for girls?

It’s been hard to find and connect with other local girls that really dig this! At their age, they are more comfortable playing a game that they may perceive “for boys” with other girls. My daughter was embarrassed to tell her girlfriends how much she loved Minecraft because they didn’t know what it was, or thought it was for boys. We’ve overcome this, my daughters take pride in their hobby. They are in a position to teach Minecraft to other children who identify as girls, making them comfortable with their hobby of choice. I’m not grooming my daughters to be mini feminists, not that that’s a bad thing! But there’s something to learned here, outside of the video game itself.

I’m okay with this kind of screen time when it comes to breaking gender stereotypes.

The video game is actually not focused on traditional gender stereotypes. There’s no girl version in pink with princesses. It’s a virtual building toy. You build environments for your character to live in.

Visuospatial skills allow us to visually perceive objects and the spatial relationships among objects. Visuospatial skills are a building block for more complex skills. Learning how to code Mods in Minecraft are a basis for teaching girls coding skills. If you want to make something move in one direction or look a certain way, you can use code to build and manipulate what you see on the screen. Pretty darn awesome.

Could this lead more girls intro degrees and careers in STEM fields? Perhaps, YES.

You Can Fly

While players can choose to play Minecraft in Survival mode or Creative mode, my daughters prefer to stay in Creative mode because as John says you can build “every kind of house imaginable. Plus, in Creative Mode you can fly. And you can’t die.”

Our daughters can build anything they can think of, in Minecraft, and in real life.

Jodi Jefferson

Join the fun. Our next event is hosted by Littlebits, because they make everything more fun. Including taking your kids Minecraft game up a notch. Come learn how to link Littlebits to Minecraft to bring creations to life. RSVP here.

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