Here are 11 kid-friendly Minecraft mods we think are pretty great, from both a design and learning perspective. The list includes sciency mods focused on geology or forestry, and mods that will amplify your child’s engineering, coding, and building super powers. Each of the sciency mods tackles scientific concepts in cool and accessible ways.
We’ve included a couple of mods that bring new kinds of creatures into the game, including Pokémon and sharks. Another populates Minecraft with scientifically accurate models of dinosaurs. All will offer your child new ways of interacting with a world they love—Minecraft.
Focus: Outer space
Calling all aspiring astronauts! Log into Minecraft, collect the materials you need to build a rocket ship and blast through the Earth’s atmosphere. Once in outer space you can travel to a bunch of different planets, build a station station, and drive around on the Moon. This mod brings space exploration to Minecraft, giving players a taste of just how hard it is to survive outside of Earth. Download the Galacticraft mod here.
(Please read the instructions on this page before clicking on anything. After that you’ll want to click the small blue bar titled “Download Minecraft Forge.”)
Minecraft with dinosaurs is pretty rad. This mod replaces all the animal life in vanilla Minecraft with the reptilian variety of creature, including giant prehistoric sharks. The mod’s claim to fame is its scientific accuracy. Dinosaurs come in all sizes and demeanor. Some are docile and tameable; others are aggressive and deadly. Download the PaleoCraft mod here.
Click here to see PaleoCraft in action.
This is probably the cutest and most ambitious mod on the list. Pixelmon Mod turns Minecraft into a Pokémon adventure, complete with Pokémon battling, trading, and breeding. In order to battle players must purchase or craft Pokéballs, which can then be thrown at enemies. Kids literate in the world of Pokémon will take to this mod like fish to water. Download the Pixelmon Mod here.
Focus: Forestry and sustainability
Forestry is a mod all about farming and renewable energy production that also let’s you breed trees, bees, and butterflies. How cool is that? It is a large mod that introduces a lot of new items, machines, and ores into the game so there is a lot to explore. You can learn more in this video tutorial or download the Forestry mod here.
Focus: Creating machines with redstone
Rotarycraft is another redstone mod that focuses on power and machines. Rather than focusing on the “electricity” side of redstone like Redpower 2, Rotarycraft focuses on mechanics and realism. High temperatures can affect your machines and they cool in a realistic way. Power is transmitted by shafts, gearboxes, and more. Rotarycraft is a great mod for an aspiring engineer or anyone really into redstone. Download the Rotarycraft mod here.
BetterGeo is all about rocks, minerals and metal. A group from the Geological Survey of Sweden developed the mod, which adds both common and rare earth elements to the list of materials to be mined. There are new items you can craft (including rechargeable batteries!) andyou can build display cases to show off the rare specimens you mine. Download the BeterGeo mod here.
ComputerCraft and ComputerCraftEDU
Focus: Computer Programming
Learning to code in Minecraft sounds like a dream come true for many 10-13 year olds. ComputerCraft and its companion mod ComputerCraftEDU make this dream a reality by giving kids the tools to build in-game computers and turtle robots. Using a drag and drop interface they can create programs to automate their machines using the Lua programming language. The mods are easy to install and use and is accessible to kids who’ve never programmed before. We use it in our online coding camps and recommend it to any parent whose child expresses an interest in learning to code.
ComputerCraft adds computers to the Minecraft world. You can build them, code them, and even network them. It also adds “Turtles.” These friendly little robots can be programmed to move around and interact with the world. We’ve seen everything from farming turtles to GPS systems and even remote control doors. It is a fun place to experiment and play for young coders who already have a little bit of experience. Download the ComputerCraft mod here.
If you have a child that has no coding experience, there’s also ComputerCraftEdu. ComputerCraftEdu adds a beginner-friendly visual code editor and beginner friendly turtles. Beginners can start in the visual code editor and when they’re move on to the text editor when they’re ready. They can “rewind” their robots and even see their view like a live video feed. Programs can be saved and shared on discs. Download the ComputerCraftEDU mod here.
Mo’ Creatures Mod
This mod populates Minecraft with a multitude of new species and creature types, making the world feel more vibrant and realistic. Early versions of Minecraft had only a few stock animals. While more have been added since, the game lacks real variety when it comes to its creatures. The Mo’ Creatures Mod remedies this, giving players the chance to ride, ranch, pet, and manage foxes, scorpions, jellyfish, goats, boars, komodo dragons, and more. Download the Mo’ Creatures Mod here.
If your child has played around with redstone and is itching for more, Redpower 2 is a mod worth a look. The mod expands and improves on the functionality of redstone in Minecraft, allowing for more complex and compact circuit designs. You will be amazed at what can be created! The mod has its own power system and introduces multiple machines with functions as diverse as sorting items, breaking blocks, and detecting state changes. Download the Redpower 2 mod here.
If your child loves to build complex machinery or is interested in what goes on “under the hood” then this is the mod to choose. BuildCraft 3 lets players experiment with a system of powered machines, pumps and tools. It also includes machines for automating tasks, and pipes for transportation of items, liquids, and energy. Download the Buildcraft 3 mod here.
To give you a sense of how Buildcraft 3 works, watch this video tutorial on Buildcraft’s Transport Pipes.
GeoStrata is another geology mod with a super science focus. If focuses on letting players create underground worlds, making mining and caves more interesting. The mod generates all of the rocks to be mined at realistic depths, in realistic biomes. For example, shale and limestone, being silt/mud rocks, spawn more often in oceans, and cannot spawn in deserts. Download the Geostrata mod here.