Minecraft is more than just a game. It’s a fully-embraced learning tool that educators have credited for an increase in problem-solving skills among students who use it. Part of the appeal is the endless supply of Minecraft mods, ways to change everything from your character’s hair color to the world around you.
But with so many ways to customize the game experience, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are the top kid-approved Minecraft mods we see as must-haves for 2021. They are ideal for beginner users and seasoned gamers alike.
The best Minecraft mods for 2021
In no particular order, these are some of the most exciting mods available for the standard PC version of Minecraft.
1. Backpacked (1.14.4/1.15)
A frustrating part of Minecraft is that you can only hold so many items at a time. Deciding what to keep can be difficult, which is why the Backpacked mod is so useful. This inventory mod gives you an additional nine slots to put your precious gear into. It’s made of leather and sits on your back, just like it would in real life.
Be sure to use it to store rare items that you don’t want to lose, because it keeps your inventory safe even if you die. You’ll craft this backpack using leather in the same way you would a chest, and once it’s in your inventory, you can access it with the B button.
2. Wooden Golems (1.14.4)
Add armor to protect your wooden golems, but pay attention to any smoke they make. It indicates that they aren’t healthy and need a golem repair kit. Use these golems to guard a perimeter or keep them with you to act as your own private security against predators. To make the golem follow you, use a control rod.
3. Chat bubbles (1.14.2)
Crowded servers are fun to play on, but they can make it difficult to track conversations. Instead of trying to multi-task by watching your character and the chat lines, consider this Chat Bubble mod.
It puts the conversation for each player above their head, so you only have to watch each character to know what they are saying. It’s very useful for conversing with people in close proximity.
4. The Solar System mod (1.2.5)
Add the 8 planets from our solar system to your Minecraft world, including the dwarf planet Pluto, with the Solar System mod. Some features of these planets include various temperatures, their own color, and a soil that’s unique to each planet.
To visit each planet, you activate a portal frame with fire. Mercury, for example, can be accessed by lighting a gold block portal. Each planet’s portal color will vary; experiment to see which planet you can reach next.
5. VerticalRedstone (1.3.2)
For those who have been frustrated by the lack of ability to wire vertically along Redstone walls, you’re in luck! The VerticalRedstone mod lets you place wiring straight up a wall, saving you time and resources.
6. Realism (1.7.10)
Smelt raw copper ore drops into refined copper to make your own tools
Trade sticks for tool rods, which are sturdier and can be used for a variety of crafting purposes
Spin cloth with threaders made from wood, iron, emerald, or gold
Make planks out of larger pieces of wood using a handsaw, which you can also use as a weapon
If you want your Minecraft experience to be more lifelike, this is the mod for you.
7. [Forge]Rails of War Siemens-Schuckertwerke Akkulok update (1.7.10)
Train lovers will enjoy this mod that gives you old-fashioned trains, armored locomotives, tracks, switches, and everything you need for your own railway system. The fun comes from not only adding your trains, but building the track, which requires a working knowledge of the terrain and the right way to construct the ties and rails.
Trains also must be fueled with coal, controlled for proper speed, and filled with supplies. This is everything you’ve wanted in a hobby train set, but it’s all digital.
8. Enchanted Wolves
Enchanted Wolves is a somewhat complicated mod that gives you an entire wolf pack to customize and control. Create collars for your tame wolves, made out of leather and diamonds. You can even enchant the collars to give your wolves bonuses and immunity against any of your weapons.
Enchantments provide everything from buffness and toughness to swiftness. You can also enchant them to be a Hellhound with extra health or you can create a Resurrection wolf that teleports back to you after it dies. If you’ve always wanted a dog as a pet, this may be your next best thing.
9. Ice Mountains World Type
10. AstikorCarts (v0.1.2.7)
This MIT-created and licensed mod features carts that can be attached to horses or other animals. Simply press “R” to either hitch up or release a nearby cart, or you can carry the cart yourself. Slow down your cart or speed it up as you wish.
Carts have a number of uses, including holding double chest inventory and giving friends a lift, too. Some other types of carts can do extra tasks, including the plow that can carry your tools as inventory or turn dirt into a pathway for you to ride on.
Bonus Mod: Rideable Bees
With so many ways to play, it’s no wonder Minecraft continues to be a must-have PC game year after year. It’s also why we had a hard time picking just the 10 best Minecraft mods and had to add this last one in.
How to download Minecraft mods
We’ve also included safe links within this article for the mods we reviewed.
Only download from sites that specifically require mods to be:
Functioning, even if they aren’t in the final version
Original and not plagiarized from other sources
Family-friendly and without nudity, swearing, drugs, or inappropriate violence
Free from cheat suggestions, such as hacking or griefing
If there is a community associated with any Minecraft mod download site, check to see that the rules are followed and that harassment or dangerous behaviors aren’t allowed or encouraged.
You’ll also want to ensure that they are compatible with your version of Minecraft. Console and PC versions are different, and the educational themes that classrooms use are different still. To get the best experience, check the version notes at each download site to see if your game is compatible.
How to install Minecraft mods
Once you have the mod you want, follow these steps to install them and use them in your game. Each mod will have different instructions for making it work for your game version. There will be different directions for console, PC, and homegrown systems like Raspberry Pi.
Be sure you have a backup of your current Minecraft game so that you don’t lose your hard work if you run into any issues. You can always refer to this original backup if necessary.
One other way to download and install Minecraft mods that requires little experience and lets you use a variety of mods is to use a management tool like Forge:
Copy the mod file by pressing Ctrl+C (You’ll know it’s the right mod file, as it will have a .jar extension)
Open Minecraft from your desktop or Start menu
Select the latest release
Open the Mods folder
Now that your new mod is installed, you can start playing it. Look for the name of the mod in your menu, and remember that it may not be the exact mod name you call it.
Additional Minecraft mod tips
Minecraft is considered by many to be one of the best computer games for kids, and it’s available on more than just PC. There are Mac and mobile versions of the game, as well as console versions. Because not every version being played out there is the same, not every version can be modded.
Play on PC if you can
Other versions lack similar mod support
There are some packs and features you can download or buy for the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo versions as well as the mobile Pocket Editions ( Minecraft PE). However, they don’t have the same modding abilities.
Also, people often confuse the Minecraft Windows 10 Edition with the standard game played on a Windows 10 operating system. These are two different game versions, so check the documentation of any game you buy to know you’re getting the right one.
Final thoughts to keep in mind
You can also read user reviews to learn how others are using the game and what features they enjoy if you’re not completely sure. Many people have been disappointed to learn that the mobile version doesn’t let you create new mods, or that it doesn’t transfer over to the full version of the PC game.
The official website is also a good source of information on the various editions and what they offer.
What mod trends will we see next? While there are new mods being developed and shared all the time, our list contains some of the more unique and exciting Minecraft mods that will appeal to players of all ages. And if you haven’t downloaded the Backpacked mod yet to expand your inventory, what are you waiting for?