Why Is Minecraft So Appealing to Children With ADHD?

In this post, I will share how a number of children diagnosed with ADHD responded to the question: Why do you like to play Minecraft?

One of the main reasons that children with ADHD enjoy Minecraft is that they get to “build whatever they want.” Many of the kids I interview use exactly that phrase. A 15-year-old young man noted that “I get to build things as big as I want such as churches, roller coasters.” He reported, “When I was little I used to like to play LEGOs because it’s the same thing as Minecraft.” (It is worth noting that for 30 years I have observed how kids with ADHD, boys in particular, are described as being able to sustain long-term attention and persistence in their LEGO play, in contrast to many other types of activities.) An 11-year-old girl told me that  “Minecraft is lots of fun because you can build a house and it comes with fun stuff like eggs, chickens, animals, bad guys, zombies, and creepers.” She enjoys the building part “because you can build it anyway you want and you can customize it.” An 8-year-old boy enjoys the building part “because I want to be an engineer when I grow up and I want to be good at it.” He said, “Minecraft is helping me learn how to build and teaches me how to build houses, mansions, and labs.” One consistent point in these descriptions revolves around the flexibility to build what one chooses and not be constrained by a particular goal or set of rules about how to do something.

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