A Parent’s Guide to Minecraft – Part 2

If you followed part 1 of this guide, then you should have Minecraft up and running.  That’s a great start!

At the end of the last part, you were in a creative world and ready to explore. Let’s pick up where we left off and I’ll give you some hints.

Start by opening up your inventory. Do that by pressing the ‘e’ key. That’ll bring up this screen.


You’re in creative mode. That means that you can access almost everything that you can get in the game from this screen. All the essential building blocks are here (A). Use the scrollbar on the right-hand side to look through all the stuff available to here. Once you find something that you want to use, drag it into your inventory bar (B). The items in this bar will be available for you to use in the world. If there’s a particular item that you’d like to search for, click the search button (C) and type in what you’re looking for.

The block in the top left is stone. Let’s try and experiment with that. Drag it into the first space in your inventory bar (B). The block next to the stone is granite. Drag that into the second space in your inventory bar.

Once you’ve dragged over what you want, press Esc or ‘e’ again to return to the world. Your inventory bar should look like this.

There are nine slots. You can put whats in those slots into your character’s right hand by pressing the corresponding number from 1 to 9. How cool is that? Once the block is in your right hand, press the right mouse or keypad button to build with it. Because you’re in creative mode, you have an unlimited number of these blocks.

Have some fun! Build some things with all sorts of different blocks. If something is in your way, click the left button to destroy it. Last hint for now – double click the space bar and that will let you fly! Double click the space bar again to stop flying. Go and explore and experiment, then move onto the next section.

Game Modes and Difficulties

Ok, let’s get into things a little more and go back to when we created the world in part 1. Create another world, then go as far as this screen.


The first option is Game Mode.

There are five different modes which can be selected when the world is created (although you can switch between them once the world is up and running).

The modes are Creative, Survival, Hardcore, Adventure and Spectator.

Creative, we’ve seen. You can’t get hurt or hungry, you get infinite blocks, and you can fly.

In Survival, you have to collect and build any items that you want to use. You will find that you have icons for your health, hunger and armour. You can get hurt, hungry, and even die. Unlike creative, you will get experience points and  level up for carrying out various actions such as mining. If you do die, you can come back to life but you may well lose your items.

Hardcore is like Survival except it’s far more dangerous and when you’re dead, you’re dead.

If you’re playing in Adventure mode, you’re more of a participant in a pre-existing world. This is because you can’t build or destroy things (unless the world designer has allowed it). You can interact with objects by pressing buttons or pulling levers. You can download Adventure worlds to play in, which is something I’ll be covering later on.

Spectator mode gives you a set of eyes and little else. You can’t interact with anything and players can’t see you unless they’re also spectating.

Both Adventure and Spectator really need you to be playing in a world that already has been created.

Next to game mode is the Difficulty setting.

Where game mode defines how you can interact with the environment, Difficulty defines some of the environment around you.

There are four different Difficulty mode – Peaceful, Easy, Normal and Hard.

Just before I tell you the difference between them, I need to let you know about a term that you’ll hear a lot about in Minecraft – mobs. Mobs (short for mobile entities) are computer controlled entities in the game. Some of them are dangerous, some are passive and can actually provide you with food and be farmed. From chickens to zombies, they’re all defined as mobs, and they all have unique qualities.

A variety of mobs

So, if you set the Difficulty level to Peaceful, your world will be free from the mobs that can harm you. You don’t get hungry, but you can still get hurt by falling.

Easy mode is the default. There are some hostile mobs but they don’t have access to their full powers. They will still inflict damage on you given half a chance. Your hunger bar will go down, but relatively slowly.

In Hard mode, the mobs get more power, and you get more vulnerable. You get more damage inflicted to you and get hungry quicker.

Hardcore mode is not for the faint of heart. You can get hungry to the point of death. The mobs are super-powered and may have enhanced, charmed abilities. They inflict a greater amount of damage again and can break through doors. Not for the beginner.

Note – regardless of the difficulty setting, the mobs will not be able to hurt you if you’re in creative mode.

So, we’ve learned about the inventory / inventory bar, building in creative mode, game modes, difficulty and mobs. That’s pretty good. In the next part, we’ll go about building a survival world and I’ll give you some tips on how to survive it!

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