A Parent’s Guide to Minecraft – Part 4

This is where things get a little more advanced for Minecraft parents.

Part 1 told us how to set up Minecraft, Part 2 gave us some essential knowledge to get things moving and then Part 3 told us how to build survival worlds and begin to craft items and tools.

Now we’re going to get a bit more technical in order to let us add modifications to the game. Modifications can add extra things to the game, like new items, or new functionality. They’re awesome.

Vanilla Minecraft

What we’ve used so far is known as Vanilla Minecraft. ie As provided by Mojang. Unaltered. The bought version as downloaded from their site.

You can’t use modifications (aka Mods) on Vanilla Minecraft. It just doesn’t see them and wouldn’t know what to do with them if it could.

Instead, you have to download an adapted Minecraft launcher program. There are various launchers that you can buy, but I’m going to show you how to do it for free with a programme called Minecraft Forge.

Profiles and Mods

Remember in Part 1 when I got you to create a profile folder? Well, this is where they really come into their own. Let’s do it again.

Start the launcher. Don’t click play. Click on installations. It’ll open up the installation tab which we used before.


In the window that opens up, click on New Installation. Then enter these details.

Pay attention to a couple of important things.

  1. I changed the launcher version. From the drop-down, I picked release 1.16.5. You do that too.
  2. Where is says Game Directory, I clicked browse. I then navigates to the minecraft -> profiles directory that I created and then clicked the Make New Folder button. I called the new folder My First Mod Profile, then clicked ok.
  3. After you’ve done that, click the green Create button.

The next screen has your new launcher in it. Hover over it and you’ll see the green Play button. Click on it.


After a minute, the Minecraft music will start up, and you’ll have a further launcher screen that says Singleplayer / Multiplayer / Minecraft Realms. Note – if you do need to do something like change the volume or turn off the music, click on the options button here and you’ll access those settings.

Now, click on Quit Game. Close down the launcher.

This is what we have just done. We’ve set up a new launcher with the 1.16.5 Minecraft engine running it. Let me show you why this is important.

Remember that I asked you to consider making a shortcut to the .minecraft folder in Part 1 ? If you did, now is the time to go into it. If not, do the following:

1. Open Explorer. If you don’t know how to do this, no worries. It’s easy. Just press the Windows Key and ‘e’ together at the same time.
2. At the top address bar, type this : %appdata%
3. Near the top there should be a folder called .minecraft. Click into it.

The profiles folder that you created is there. Click into that.

Hey – look! The My First Mod Profile folder that you created is there. Click into that one.

There’s a bunch of folders in there. Minecraft created them when you set up the launcher into that folder. We don’t need to know about them. We just need to know that the launcher is using this folder. Keep this folder open.

Next up, we need to download and install Minecraft Forge.

Minecraft Forge

Minecraft Forge is aces. It gives you a new launcher that allows you to use mods. Simple as that. There’s a different version of Minecraft Forge for every different version of Minecraft, and they correspond to each other. So, we installed 1.16.5. We therefore want to get Minecraft Forge version 1.16.5. You can do that from > here <. Download the recommended installer. (It makes you go to an AdFocus screen, but just click ‘skip’ and you’ll get the file.)

Double click the file you’ve downloaded and you should see this screen. Look – it’s pointing to your .minecraft folder. Perfect! Click ok.

It’ll download a bunch of libraries, install some stuff, then hopefully give you this welcome sight.

Awesome. Now, restart the Minecraft Launcher. When it starts, don’t click play. Click on Installations again.

You’ll see a new launcher – a Minecraft Forge one there. That’s proof that the installation worked, but we don’t want to click on that. Instead, click on the three dots next to your My First Mod Profile launcher and click edit.


Almost there. On the next screen, I want you to select the drop-down where is says release 1.16.5  and change it to release 1.16.5-forge-36.2.0 from the dropdown. (The numbers following forge may be slightly different by the time you read this. As long as they’re preceded by 1.16.5 and the following numbers are higher than 36.2.0, you’ll be fine.) Then click Save. On the next screen, press the green Play button next to your launcher name.

Once you click Play, you get this warning.


That’s fine. Tick the box and click Play. The first time you run it, it’ll want to quickly download a file or two. Then it launches, and you probably notice that it looks a bit different.


If it has worked, the difference you should see are a new Mods button and the Forge 36.2.0 text in the bottom left. Your Minecraft Forge installer has worked!

Now, click Quit Game. Go back to the folder that I told you to keep open. The one at .minecraft -> profiles -> My First Mod Profile. There should be some new folders in there. Like this:


See that mods folder? That’s where you’re going to put the mods that you download. Getting excited yet?

Important note. Because this is based on Minecraft Launcher 1.16.5, you can only use mods which are compatible with this build. Broadly speaking, any mod that says it’s compatible with 1.16 should work. If you try to use a mod that says it’s compatible with another launcher, like 1.12.2, 1.6 or something else, then expect errors and crashes. Compatibility is key.

You will need to redownload different versions of Forge if different mods require different versions of Minecraft. That’s just how it goes.

Mods – What are they and where to get them

I mentioned that mods enhance Minecraft and I appreciate that’s a bit vague. They add functionality to Minecraft by introducing things that didn’t previously exist.

Mods could be purely cosmetic, add new items, allow you to do new things, or add creative tools.

Here’s an example of a mod. It’s called Extended Lights. It adds new lights to Minecraft. It’s cosmetic, adds new items and they provide an enhanced experience. And it’s free. )The link there goes to a site called MinecraftMods.com which, as the name suggests, hosts Minecraft Mods.) The text at the top of the screen confirms that this will work on Minecraft 1.16.4. Scroll down and click on the Download button. A new page should open up, and the mod should download. The downloaded file is called extlights-3.3.jar. Move it to your Mods folder in your .minecraft -> profiles -> My First Mod Profile folder.

Now, start up Minecraft using your My First Mod Profile. Click Play.

MinecraftLook at the bottom left of the game when the menu screen loads. It’s jumped up to 3 mods. This is good. Click on Singleplayer.

Create a world with the following settings.

Now, Minecraft will start up with the mod enabled. Once it starts, press ‘e’ to access your inventory. Press the right > arrow at the top to take you to page 2/2. And look. There are the lights!

You can now use these the same way you would use any other block in creative mode. Drag them to your inventory and place them where you like. You’ve just installed your first mod and got it working. Well done!

Cool Mods and Where To Find Them

Here’s some examples of some cool mods that you may want to consider installing.


Mr Crayfish is known for making unique and stylish mods. The Furniture Mod is one of the best. It provides a load of pre-built furniture for you to use in your worlds.

Maybe start with the one for 1.16.3 because it may be a bit more stable. Get it from here.

Also check out his Vehicle Mod. *Note – some of these mods have dependencies. It means you have to install those mods at the same time. The mod’s page will tell you what’s needed.



The combination of Minecraft and dinosaurs might provide more excitement than some kids can handle. If you’re prepared to take that risk, then head over to the JurassiCraft page on CurseForge and download the files. It looks like it uses 1.12 which is an older version of Minecraft. You can still install older version using the guide above.


This is very special. It’s a mod which introduces a new map, then lets you fill it out as you travel around your world. Download it from here.

Pam’s Harvestcraft2 comes as four different mods which had 1,000s of extra food, crops and trees. Start off with the Food Core mod and make yourself a huge variety of Minecraft meals.

You can find more mods at the following sites:

Minecraft Forum : Link

Planet Minecraft : Link

Minecraft Mods : Link

9 Minecraft : Link

Mods – Summing Up

So, now you know what mods are, how to install them, how to use them, and where to get them from. That’s beginning to make you one cool Minecraft parent!

Next up, we’ll be looking at MAPS. Then SERVERS. If you’re getting anything out of this, then please consider signing up to my mailing list. The widget should be to your right (windows) or below (phones). Thanks!

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