The Joy of Dinosaurs
Have you ever met a child obsessed with dinosaurs? These kids will often have many toys and books geared to dinosaurs and can probably tell you more than you ever need to know about the prehistoric beasts. So what is the big deal about dinosaurs?
For the last three years I have been surrounded by a world of dinosaurs since the twins just love them. The other day we were watching a YouTube clip that had computer-generated dinosaurs coming out of a gate and I was surprised that these two three-year-olds had no trouble identifying many of them, including saying the long and complicated names. This made me wonder, why do kids get so obsessed over dinosaurs?
Children have a natural instinct for curiosity and discovery which leads them to want to learn things. Dinosaurs offer a lot of "fact collecting" for kids to process, even at an early age. Learning about dinosaurs can build on their discovery skills as it is a science that they can connect with. They can learn to classify and sort even as a toddler (they know which dinosaurs are meat-eaters and which are plant-eaters) and continue to build their knowledge as they grow.
Dinosaurs provide a great opportunity for pretend and play where they can build their imagination as well as put their knowledge to use. And, it can also help them cope with fears since they have the chance to learn all about these ferocious beasts with sharp teeth and powerful bodies. Learning all you can about something that seems scary, can actually ease some of the fear.
Dinosaur Twins Explore the Woods was inspired by the twins and created as a gift for their third birthday. It helped them imagine what life would be like if they were a dinosaur! It is a story and colouring book so the reader can take part in the adventure too. And, perhaps your children can be inspired to create a story about the kind of dinosaur they would like to be!
Book 2: Dinosaur Twins Make New Friends will be coming in the new year!
An interest in dinosaurs can inspire learning in so many ways. For Science you can do explore and discover ideas using dinosaur toys or bones to bury in the dirt. You can learn about plants (plant-eaters), oviparous creatures (egg-laying) and different ways dinosaurs could protect themselves (armour, claws, horns etc).
For math there is a chance to offer comparisons - big, bigger, biggest; connecting size with something in today's world (length of 3 school buses), and there are a lot of opportunities for sorting and classifying.
English lessons can include storytelling skills, a study of fiction vs non-fiction and even some word building as children can discovery how some of the dinosaurs got there names (triceratops - tri = 3)
The study of dinosaurs seems never ending as there are so many of them, so much to learn about each of them and, new discoveries being made all the time. So, if a child shows an interest in dinosaurs, it can be an easy thing to encourage. Not only will it help develop their observation skills, attention span and information processing, it will allow them to grow their imagination, and grow into brilliant little learners!
Here are some fun learning dinosaur resources from Discovery Toys
“Dinosaurs may be extinct from the face of the planet, but they are alive and well in our imaginations.”
– Steve Miller.
When a child has an interest in a specific topic, you can create so much learning around that topic. Check out the blog post Thematic Learning for ideas!