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It’s hard keeping your kids entertained during the coronavirus quarantine, but here are some ways parents figured out how to make it fun.

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Our colleague Mike Snider from the USA TODAY Money team is here to share some news about how you can access Minecraft content for free.   

Microsoft wants to help students keep flexing their mental muscles even if they aren’t in the classroom, with many schools closed during the coronavirus crisis

So kids and parents can explore some free “Minecraft” challenges, made available for free today through June 30 in the Minecraft Marketplace, found within the game played by more than 90 million each month.

The special activities, already used by teachers, let users visit the International Space Station, tour landmarks in the Nation’s Capital, learn to code with a robot, explore marine biology and explore 3-D fractals.

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Released in 2009 as a building game, “Minecraft” became an educational tool, too, after the software giant acquired the game’s developer Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. Now, more than 35 million students and teachers are using “Minecraft: Education Edition” in 115 countries.

Earlier this month, Microsoft made “Minecraft: Education Edition” available free to teachers who have an Office 365 Education account. Now any “Minecraft” user can find these specially-curated dozen activities in a new educational category within the marketplace and download them for free. Usually, players visit the marketplace to buy new adventures created by other creators. 

“Obviously, in the way that schooling is happening now we thought it was incredibly important that we try bring that education experience as much as we can into the home where parents are trying to work through work-from-home and school-from-home scenarios to help them out,” said Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of Xbox.

The content can be found on “Minecraft” played across any number of devices including Android & iOS devices, Kindle Fire, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows 10 PCs, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Fire TV, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. (If you’re in need of a device, Reviewed found that Best Buy is offering the XBox One online for $249.)

Among the free educational exercises available on “Minecraft”:

International Space Station: Created with NASA, this lets you plan experiments on the space station.

Marine Biology Role Play: Explore the role of a marine biologist in a submarine.

Washington D.C.: Tour 17 national landmarks including the White House and the Lincoln Memorial, White House, Washington Monument, Pentagon, and 13 other realistic national landmarks. Find your way in survival or creative mode, or do the story-based quest and take a quiz to prove your know D.C. 

Bees!: Learn about bees, become a beekeeper and explore a bee-based town.  

Mt. Olympus: Learn about Greek myths in this multiplayer environment.

Fun with Fractals: Build 3-D fractals in a mathematically-created world. 

“It’s amazing in ‘Minecraft’ to watch what people do,” Spencer told USA TODAY. “You can learn all kinds of things. It’s not just math. It’s not science or history. You find these curriculum packs are really comprehensive in the things they are able to bring into the home.”

Spencer announced the availability of the free “Minecraft” content on the Xbox blog Tuesday.

“With hundreds of millions of kids at home due to coronavirus-related school closures more kids are going online to spend time with their friends, explore online worlds and learn through play,” he said in the post. “Families are trying to navigate the need to help their children with distance learning and balance that with taking time to have fun.”

Minecraft has seen a 50% increase in usage, compared to this time last year, Spencer said.

And traffic on Xbox Live, the online gaming network, is at levels typically only seen during holidays in December, when people are out of school and off work. And the number of people making friends relationships online has doubled, he says.

“Seeing the growth in gaming that we are seeing on our services with our games has been pretty incredible,” Spencer said. “An activity like gaming with its community-driven features and what it does for people, you would kind of be able to predict this, but to see it happen … I just think is awesome to see.”

Traffic is putting “some stress on the system,” he said. “We have got a lot of system engineers working at home keeping the services up. Making sure that when people want to log in and stay connected with their friends that their gaming content (and) the community that they expect to be there is in some ways more relevant right now than it has ever been.”

Most workers in Seattle, where Microsoft is headquartered, have been working at home for nearly three weeks. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday issued a two-week stay at home order for non-essential industries.

This comes as Microsoft is hitting the home stretch for the release of its new Xbox Series X video game system during the 2020 holiday system.

Spencer is uncertain whether the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic will disrupt any of Microsoft’s plans. In China, where the game console is manufactured, “the factories are slowly starting to come back on line,” he said. “Clearly there has been disruption. How much that disruption will impact (Microsoft) or frankly will impact at all, we will still figure out.”

And in the Seattle area, game designers are transitioning into working from home. “Halo Infinite,” announced as a title to be due when the new console launches, “is a very important game for us on Series X,” Spencer said, “and you have hundreds of people working on that game who are used to coming into (game studio) 343 Industries into the building and working together and now those people are working remotely.”

343 Industries studio head Bonnie Ross and Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty “and the team are working through what is the implication,” he said. “First and foremost though is the safety and security of our teams. It just has to be.”

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

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