Minecraft Terminology for Parents


Does it sometimes seem like Minecraft is a different language? This list of basic Minecraft concepts and elements will keep you up-to-date with any Minecraft dinner table conversation.

While all the terms below relate to Survival Mode, in Peaceful Mode a player only needs to craft and mine as there are no threats and in Creative mode, a player is provided with everything and simply builds.

Concepts of Minecraft

Health – When a player sustains damage they lose health (life points). When health is zero, they die and must re-spawn. Life points are replenished by keeping the hunger bar filled.

Spawn –appear, re-spawn – reappear (come back to life)

Inventory – Pop-up menu which manages items a player carries. From the inventory a player can access armour, tools, blocks and a crafting grid. The player’s skin is also shown there.

Crafting – Process of making things – blocks, tools, armour etc. There are almost limitless crafting options.

Shelter – Somewhere to spend the night. Initially something simple like a dirt hut.

Night time – After dark, when hostile mobs emerge. Shelter is necessary for protection.

Hunger – Food is required to survive. Food fills the hunger bar and is intially meat from passive mobs

Mobs – Various creatures found in Minecraft. Short for mobiles i.e. moving entities. Mobs range from passive farm animals, like cows, chickens and pigs, to enemy creatures that will attack (Survival mode only)

Skin – Texture of the player model or character. A skin is the character’s appearance, like a tennis outfit. Most players like to customise their skin by creating a new one or using one someone else has made.

Things of Stone and Wood

Dirt – Covers the majority of the world. Found in abundance and easy to dig up, making it a good first choice for building a first shelter.

Wood – First thing a new player finds by breaking a tree block. Wood is the base for many important tools needed to survive.

Basic Tools – First tools are an axe, a pickaxe and a sword. These are made from wood.

Stone – Mined with a pickaxe, stone under the dirt allows for building a furnace and upgrading your old wooden tools to stone tools.

Coal – Generally found underground. Important for fuelling fire and a main ingredient in crafting a torch.

Iron – Creates sturdy equipment and armour, allowing adventurers to delve deeper underground.

Torch – light source. At night time or when a player delves underground, vision is minimal, making torches essential.


Passive mobs – includes most farm animals which can be bred for food and other resources

Hostile mobs – sometimes called monsters. There are 14 types. Here are the main ones:

  • Zombie – Easily heard by its loud moans. Resembles the player except with green skin. Will attack and chase you until the sun comes up or it is defeated.
  • Spider – Large spider with glowing red eyes. It will chase you until you defeat it or the sun comes up.
  • Skeleton – humanoid sized skeleton with a bow and arrow. This creature will keep its distance and shoot arrows at you but burns under sunlight.
  • Creeper – iconic creature seen all over Minecraft merchandise. It’s bright green with a ghastly face, no arms and four legs. It makes no noise until it is close when it emits a hiss, before exploding, causing heavy damage to the player and the surrounding area. Known for blowing holes in things.

Sandy Fussell is an IT Consultant and an award-winning author of books for young people. You can find her at www.sandyfussell.com and www.samuraikids.com. She is a Minecraft mum who has had her own Minecraft account for many years. She has also taken the time to write us a parents complete guide to Minecraft.


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