we have been having fun building shelters and doing fun things like fishing, riding pigs, turning mooshrooms into cows. he builds rollercoasters in creative, goes fishing, makes waterfalls, pours lava on villages, has fun in minecraft basically. he makes basic shelters with doors and a bed in survival and sleeps through the night, and can hit away the zombies with sticks and swords and run away from creepers or kite them into the water to make them safely explode... well, that was in 1.8 anyway. minecraft 1.8 was fun, and catered for almost everyone.
In 1.9 he starts building his first house and is sniped by a skeleton. he starts whacking a creeper and is blown up because timing/waiting is not something little kids know how to do. he goes looking for sheep but there are significantly less sheep/cows/pigs and significantly more chickens in the worlds we have generated so far ... everything is different and harder, and this takes out a section of the audience who can enjoy it. the "difficulty" seems to reduce the number of hostile mobs that spawn, but the system still doesn't reduce in difficulty. mobs still turn up in OP armour while you're still punching trees. Playing on peaceful means no mobs spawn at all. I don't get the difficulty option at all, it might as well say "none", "hard", "still hard" and "permadeath".
so now I have to learn how to make potions, and have shields, and use anvils, and combine enchanted books, or build an absurd afk fish farm to harvest OP items ... basically the bits of minecraft that are really hard for a beginning (and aren't beginner options anyway). Mine for 6 hours so you have enough iron to make an anvil, diamonds to make an enchanting table, and raid enough mineshafts or dungeons just so you can make an enchanted armour set or sword powerful enough so that you can survive your first few nights? see the problem? You probably don't because many people have been playing for so many years that these seem trivial: they aren't.
1.9, the less fun update...