Minecraft Guide for Parents

Wyoming Bones in Minecraft
Wyoming Bones in one of his many Minecraft Adventures

Minecraft Lingo

So your kid (or grandkid, niece, nephew, spouse, etc) has started playing Minecraft. That’s great! Minecraft is a fantastic game, especially for letting kids explore their creativity in a healthy way. In survival or adventure mode (Don’t worry- I’ll explain what those mean in a bit!), kids can also experience risks, deal with defeats, and celebrate victories. But I’m certain you’ve noticed that Minecraft comes with its own lingo. Your kid is probably talking about Mobs, or Googlies, or pretending to build a wall to defend from Illagers.

But what does any of that mean?

Don’t worry! Minecraft might have some strange terms, but I’ve written this handy guide to get you up to speed on some of the more confusing Minecraft specific words. Think of it as a Minecraft to Parent Dictionary.


Lets start with the basics. What is Minecraft? Minecraft is a video game that started out as basically Digital Legos, and that is all it was for the first little bit. Just like in Lego, you had different color blocks that you could build with. And just like with Lego, joy came from simply building cool creations.

Minecraft now has three different game modes- different ways to play the game.

The first is Creative Mode. Creative mode is a lot like the original Minecraft- you have access to every block in the game and can build, and break, anything you want, while flying everywhere. This is my kids’ favorite mode, which I can understand. I loved playing with Legos as a kid, and playing in Creative Mode feels a lot like that. Just a kid and their imagination. This type of game is also called a “sandbox” game, because it allows you to go in and build your own world.

The second is Survival Mode, and is the default game mode in Minecraft. This mode limits your abilities in a lot of ways, but those limits provide much of the fun of the game mode. You have health and can die in Survival mode (although that is not permanent- you come back in a few seconds, usually without your items and back at a home base “spawn point”). Also, you have to find and gather every block you want to build with, which gives you a reason to explore the world as you hunt down rare building materials.

The third is Adventure Mode, which is a lot like Survival Mode, except you can’t break or build any blocks. This is excellent for playing through an adventure someone else has designed, where the ability to just cut your way into the Evil Castle would make solving the puzzle a little too easy.

Building Blocks – Common Minecraft Words

Building Blocks. Get it? Because Minecraft?

Common Minecraft Blocks

Block– Everything in the world of Minecraft is made from Blocks. The trees are made from Wood blocks and Leaf blocks. The top layer of the ground is usually Grass blocks. Under that, you’ll commonly find some kind of Stone block. There are more than a hundred different types of blocks in Minecraft, and more are added all the time. Each one represents a 1 meter cube of material. Most Blocks can be gathered by breaking them- when a Block breaks, it can be picked up by the player and placed down somewhere else to build with it.

Different Minecraft Biomes

Biome– The world of Minecraft is full of different types of lands to explore, from hot, sandy deserts, to frigid tundra, and lush jungles. Each of those different areas is made up of different Blocks, and has different Mobs that Spawn there.

Pretty mountain arch in Minecraft

Seed– Every new world of Minecraft is procedurally generated, and exploring them is a lot of fun. No two worlds are alike… Unless, that is, they share the same Seed. A Seed is a string of random letters and/or numbers that you can enter in the settings at the setup of that world, and it is used for the basis of the world generation. If you have a world you enjoyed playing in and want to share with your friends, you can just give them that Seed code, and they can play in a copy of the same world.

Minecraft Skins

Skin- Players of Minecraft can put on a new skin whenever they want, which is not as creepy as it sounds! Skins are just how a player looks in the game, and are pretty easy to change. They allow the player to customize their faces, clothes, skin color, etc.

Mobs – Minecraft Creatures

Minecraft Zombie

Mob– Also known as Monsters or Googlies, Mob is the common term for the bad guys that try and get you as you are exploring, mining, or building in Minecraft. Technically, Mob stands for “Mobile Entity”, and is anything in the game that has an AI (Artificial Intelligence) controlling it so it can pretend to be alive. Or, in the case of monsters like the Zombie (that green thing to the left), pretend to be Undead. Because of that, even friendly things like Villagers or Cows are actually Mobs.

Minecraft Creeper

Creeper– One of the most dreaded Mobs in Minecraft, the Creeper is one of the few bad guys that can destroy the things you have worked so hard to build. And unlike Zombies and Skeletons, Creepers don’t burn up in the daylight, so they might still be waiting outside your door when you leave your house. Also unlike most of the other Mobs, the Creeper is silent when it is sneaking up on you, only letting out its telltale hiss when it is about to explode!

Minecraft Villager

Villager- A peaceful Mob, Villagers live in villages that are scattered around the land of Minecraft. They can be traded with for rare blocks and items, but they aren’t great at conversation- most of the time they just grunt.

Minecraft Illager with crossbow

Illager- These are basically bad villagers. They rove around the world of Minecraft in little groups, and if you pick up one of their banners after defeating them, you can summon a raid on a village when you enter it. Raids are events that summon waves of illagers to try and destroy the village, and its up to the player to stop them! If successful, the player can gain some valuable items.

Always more to discover

This short list is only scratching the surface. I hope it gives you a basic understanding of some of the terms you might here your kid use, now that they are playing Minecraft. Let me know in the comments if I missed a term you think should have made the list!

Elden Walseck

I am the author the Wyoming Bones series of adventure and treasure hunting books set in Minecraft for middle grade readers.

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