The education company ThoughtSTEM has created an educational add-on called LearnToMod that teaches children the basics of programming while creating tricks and tools that they can use within the Minecraft world.

While ThoughtSTEM isn’t the first company to use Minecraft for educational purposes, LearnToMod works differently than most. Instead of using Minecraft as a virtual classroom, ThoughtSTEM built its own interface that exists outside of the game. However, the coding skills kids learn through the web application actually helps them gain in-game advantages.

Using LearnToMod enables kids to quickly create things that would otherwise take a long time to build in the game, such as mountains or massive dungeons, or create custom types of blocks. Kids can also create special rules that enable them to do things like build their own games within Minecraft, such as capture the flag or Tetris.

Once youngsters draft their code in LearnToMod, the application connects to their Minecraft account to make the mods available in the game. By teaching kids to build their own Minecraft mods, ThoughSTEM is hoping to keep students motivated to learn some of the trickier parts of coding.

“Kids are already spending ridiculous amounts of hours on Minecraft,” said the co-founder of ThoughtSTEM Stephen Foster in an online piece with “So we thought this would be a good way to help them learn skills.”

ThoughtSTEM has also integrated a kid-friendly programming interface called Blockly (created by Google), which is based on MIT’s classic programming education system Scratch. Blockly allows students to create programs by dragging and dropping virtual blocks, instead of typing out a profusion of code. Foster hopes this will make the tutorials more feasible to younger programmers, while still offering more advanced options for older kids.