Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

You Should Definitely Encourage Your Child’s Dinosaur Obsession

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If your kiddo has a dinosaur obsession, you should be thrilled. Science calls this an “intense interest” and says it will drive a child’s learning as well as help foster lifelong curiosity.

Dinosaur Obsession enhances kids’ intelligence

In fact, above-average intelligence is not unusual for kids who are enamored with dinosaurs, or any subject that generates a natural strong interest.

The same thing goes for a focus on cars, trucks, trains, dolls, drawing, etc. If a child shows an incredible fondness in something, it can be a very good thing.

In this post, I’m going to talk specifically talk about dinos because it’s such a popular interest among kids.

Why a Dinosaur Obsession Is So Great

“When we’re interested in what we’re learning, we pay closer attention; we process the information more efficiently; we employ more effective learning strategies…” – source

That’s precisely why boys and girls who are fascinated with dinosaurs can tell you the names of so many of them. They find them incredibly interesting which makes them want to seek out new information about the prehistoric creatures.

Dino fans want to know what a particular dinosaur ate, how it sounded, and how its looks differ from others.

Any parent who has called a dinosaur anything other than its proper scientific name knows how happy a 4-year-old will be to correct you.

“That’s not a Mosasaurus, Mom! That’s a Spinosaurus!”

PS: I can’t pronounce either of those things and I had to Google to be able to spell them. A 4-year-old would wipe the floor with me in a dinosaur recognition contest.

Researchers have found again and again that when a child is excited by something, like dinosaurs, their attention span is better, they learn better, and they often have above-average intelligence.

Fun Ways You Can Promote Curiosity About Dinosaurs

There is so much incredible content online that you can use to engage with the little dinosaur-lover in your life. I want to share some of the most interesting, fun things I’ve found. Including these awesome Dinosaur finds HERE.

Have a Daring Dino Dinner

Invite some other dino-obsessed kids over and throw a party they’ll never forget.

Here are some tips for a party featuring an easy dino-shaped cake. Add a DIY dinosaur excavation game and kids will love it.

Follow #Dinosaur on Instagram.

Open up your Instagram to get a TON of cool dinosaur info. Your kid will think you’re the most brilliant dino mom ever.

You’ll uncover interesting dino pictures from museums and exhibits across the world. You can tell your kiddo about new discoveries and show them how a newly uncovered bone looks, or what a real fossil looks like. (Moms can even find cute inspiration for dino birthday cakes and party inspiration.

YouTube

There are some virtual reality videos that are fascinating, even without VR products. This video is one of my favorites (too scary for very little ones though.)


You can show them a dino museum in Japan, or they can take a trip to a dinosaur children’s museum with YouTube’s RyanToysReview.

Games

Jurassic World Alive is generating a lot of buzz. Dinosaurs are running free in the world and it’s up to game players to prevent another extinction. They’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot and to have a blast doing it.

PBS Kids has dino games that are perfect for small kiddos.

Teachers Pay Teachers has oodles of printable dinosaur games.

In closing, be glad your child is crazy for dinos.

So long as you don’t turn their dinosaur obsession into work, they’ll continue to learn without any help. If you can gently add to their love of the pre-historic creatures by showing interest yourself, that’s even better.

Does your kiddo soak up everything there is to know about dinosaurs? What kinds of things do you do to encourage it? Have you found books or toys that you’d recommend? Please share!

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46 comments

  1. As a SPED teacher who often works with kids on the AU spectrum, I see this sort of interest level often. AU kids focus on things like dinosaurs, trains, and elevators to an impressive extreme. I’ve also seen the tendency confuse parents. They think this interest level will broaden. I would like to see this sort of data contrasted to the data presented in the article.

    • Hi Carrie,

      My name is Jonathan, and as a “former” kid with an unending interest in dinosaurs, I want to assure you that in many children, the interest level will absolutely broaden (I wouldn’t have actually been able to become a professional paleontologist and amateur musician/weekend racer if that were not the case). Perhaps this is with most children that show such a driving interest in a single subject, this will later allow them to understand other subjects at levels that other people do not. 

      • Jon, I agree with your comment. My 17-year old has had an obsession with dinosaurs since he was 3. We are looking at colleges now, but unfortunately most colleges only offer a geology degree with some courses in paleontology. Just curious, what was your bachelor’s degree in and where did you go to school? I know the master’s degree in paleontology is more available and he will seek that out when he is done with his bachelor’s degree. Appreciate any feedback. – Joanie

      • Jon,

        My 13 year old daughter has been fascinated with dinosaurs since she was 4.  She swears she still wants to be a paleontologist.  Can you give me recommendations on how she can work towards persuing that career?  We live in California.  Thank you very much!

        Karisma 

  2. I wouldn’t say my kids are obsessed with Dinosaurs but we do have a huge collection of dinosaur books. We LOVE the “How Do Dinosaurs…” series by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague. We also have Dinosaurs Love Underpants, Dinner for Dinos, I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur and various other dino books. We love to read!!

  3. I use to have paper grocery sacks full of plastic and rubber dinosaurs. I would quote names, weights and when they lived when I was 5-6 years old. I loved Dinosaurs. I use to love movies with dinosaurs like Valley of Gwangi, King Kong etc.

  4. If this whole article isn’t about my 3 yo… He will be 4 next week (Dino party of course) I am on Dino overload around here. He will correct you and tell you which one is a cornivore and which is a herbivore. It fascinates me how much he loves them! He watches them on YouTube and loves to “battle” on thr Jurassic World Live game! 

  5. My daughter Eleanor is 4 and is OBSESSED with everything dinosaurs. She loves to start to sound their names out and make me guess which one she is naming. She can tell me the names, what they ate, when they lived and what area they lived in. I try to encourage it as much as possible. She will proudly tell everyone she meets that she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up. Recently I took her to Jurassic Quest and that was an all day event. I highly recommend it. All of their dinosaurs are life size and it is really fascinating to see how big they really were.
    But I totally agree with what this artice has to say about the advancement in children that focus in on one topic because Eleanor has never been to any type of school and she knows her alphabet and numbers to 100. She understand basic addition and subtraction. And can count by 10s. She even has basic reading skills and her sentences are amazing. Just the other day she picked up my guitar and just started strumming randomly and started singing twinkle twinkle little star. So their is definitely a stronger attraction to math, science and music.

  6. You can hire an private plane for a trip over the forbidden jungle where Jurassic Park was filed. Did that with my son when he wa 8, now he’s studying for 2 PhD’s to become an international professor and he speaks 7 languages. Give your child every opportunity that you can afford to learn and engage, dinosaurs are still my son’s first love, he’s 25! 

  7. My son is obsessed with them! He is 9 and has been a dinosaur addict since we was a one year old. In fact his first Dino toy was Rexy from Toy Story! He studies on You Tube, books and anything in between. He also is a huge fan of Ryan’s Toys where he also becomes a critic and makes his own videos. He is an amazing artist when comes to drawing them too. He just did a presentation on how to draw a hybrid Gallimimus! Yes I had to google that Anyway glad to have found this article months ago but it resurfaced on FB and I was tagged several times. Not only is my son learning about dinosaurs but he’s also connecting so many people about his knowledge on them! He wants to become a paleo artist and draw dinosaur species. I think he’s got an amazing start! I’m hoping this summer to take him on a road trip out West to South Dakota and Wyoming if we can afford it. Thank you for posting the article because I’m one crazy dinosaur mom that loves reading it. 

  8. When my oldest son was in pre school he told the teacher he wanted to be a paleontologist. She told me, “I had to look it up!” He was 5! Lol

  9. My 4 year old is obsessed with dinosaurs! He has memorized a large portion of his favorite book and will recite it as we turn the pages. He does like to correct me if I read something wrong or leave out a word Our favorite book is the National Geographic “Little Kids First BiG Book of Dinosaurs”.  It has lots of awesome pictures, scientific information, and the best part for Mommy, a pronunciation of every name.  

  10. Our Dino lover watches “Dino Dan” on YouTube. He absolutely loves it and it’s very educational.

  11. My 5 year old son has been obsessed with dinosaurs since he was 2. He as every dino there is to have from mini dinosaurs to dinosaur that are the size of a dog. He knows everything about them… the roars, colors, what they eat, etc. I have paid hundreds of dollars for the different Jurassic Park/ World dinosaurs that are discontinued. I dont have a clue about dinosaurs!!! I must say that my little guy is very smart, intuitive, creative and pay great attention to details. Sometimes I have to ask him where he come from because it seems like he’s been here before. His love for dinosaurs are very much encouraged by myself and my husband. And yes he get a kick out of correcting us when we can not pronounce the names correctly. He sleeps with about 20 or more dinosaurs… but I make sure they are removed from the bed once hes alseep.

  12. The Smithsonian Dinosaurs a Visual Encyclopedia is an awesome addition to a kids library!

  13. Yes!  My child is all about the natural sciences and paleontology.  He’s loved dinosaurs since he was small  But from the moment he learned about Charles Darwin in fifth grade, he was hooked and has never looked back.  He is now in college majoring in Geology – Earth Sciences and minoring in Biology and hopes to at least get his Master‘s in Paleontology. He is a self-taught “expert” on the subject.  He writes paleontology articles for digital magazines.  He’s also been volunteering at the LA County Museum of Natural History for six years and hopes to make his career at a museum or academic institution. All because of his childhood love of dinosaurs!

  14. My 5 year old son is so obsessed about dinosaurs! He has a lot of encyclopedia books about dinosaurs. His room is so filled up with dinos and call his room a jungle room.. 

  15. I forgot to mention in my post… for YouTube if you are not familiar with Toy Lab TV, that’s another thing your child might love, I know mine does. It’s a father and son, Ranger Aaron and Ranger LB, they go on imaginary dinosaur and Jurrasic park adventures, play with the latest Dino toys and do all things Dino. 

  16. Our 8 yr old son is autistic. He lives and breathes dinosaurs. From the time he wakes till he goes to sleep. There isn’t much he doesn’t know about them. It’s exciting and exhausting for us at the same time. But it keeps him focused, so we keep going with it. We have also found a way to intergrade it with his schooling. And what a difference.

  17. Dinosaur train on PBS is great for kids. Educational and animated. We took our son to Jurassic World the traveling show and that is where his love of Dinos started.

  18. Gave my grandson the National Geographic Kids Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever when he turned 3 last month.  Loves it, he will follow me with that book till we have a chance to sit down and read it and it is a big heavy book!  We have gone thru it many times, right now just looking at the pictures, and pronouncing the names.  He does a better job than I do.  He knows which ones are carnivores, which are herbivores, any facts that I told him, and he tells me which ones he likes and doesn’t like.  He has been in love with dinosaurs for over a year and has many different ones.  He also has an undying love for trains and construction vehicles. But dino’s are edging them out right now. Lol  He probably has over a dozen dino books besides the ones he brings home from the library and if it doesn’t have a dino on it he doesn’t want to wear it, unless it is a train. After hanging out with him I am singing “brachiosaurus, he has a long neck”  for the rest of the day.
    P.S. his five year old sister knows the word paleontologist by sight.  Another smart cookie!

  19. my first born is really obsessed with dinosaurs 90% of his toys are dinosaurs,, I do think hes above average,, for a 3 yr old kid

  20. My son first met a dinosaur after he turned 2 but now they have become best friends. He turned 5 last month and he can identify dinosaurs by their physical features such as the ears, mouth, teeth, tail, spines, neck. Through his love for dinosaurs, he has been able to learn the concept of Herbivores and Carnivores. To feed his interest, I supply dinosaur encyclopedias, which he says are his favourite story books! He drew an illustration of Jurassic Park at the age of 4 by memory and it continues to be my favourite drawing which is going up on the family wall very soon! Each extended family member knows at least 5 popular dino names because of him. This is a huge achievement considering the fact that we all thought Dinosaur is a name of the animal

  21. Loved reading this one! My four yo is a BIG dino fan! 

  22. I have twin boys and they absolutely love Dinos. Before they even turned 2 years old they could identify about 10 dinos..match up their shapes, we bought some toy Dinos. I can say go find the Brachiosaurus,T Rex ,Stegasaurus to name a few and they’ll go get the toy and take it to the window and match it with the sticker. Pretty amazing.. @twinwades

  23. My son was obsessed with dinosaurs around age 10. Our whole family went on a dinosaur mission and drove for three days to dinosaur country, in outback Queensland where there are dinosaur museums and Dino footprints etc etc. It was a two week epic adventure and we all still remember it so clearly and talk about it a lot.

  24. I let my kids have a Dino eating contest by setting out spinach in a plate and they had to put their hands behind their back and eat like a dinosaur now they always ask for Dino food. Found the idea online somewhere. At least their eating veggies! Their 4 & 5 btw. 

  25. My daughter is 11 and has been obsessed with dinosaurs since she was 3.  She has always wanted to be a peoloentologist since she knew what one was.  I have encouraged her by buying her books, watching videos ect.  When she was 8-ish we took a trip to LA and went tot heir natural history museum, which has a huge dinosaur exhibit, and the La Brea tar pits.  This summer I’m hoping to make a trip to the John Day fossil beds in Oregon.  

  26. In the early 1990’s I bought the entire dinosaur encyclopedia for my 2 kids. They loved them and loved playing with the toy dinosaurs I bought at the dime store. I hated giving them away when they grew up. Both my son and daughter. Are very talented artists.

  27. “I’m a dinosaur” on YouTube is great, Dino Dan, Dino Dana, and Dinosaur Train (you can get all on Amazon) are also fantastic. Walking with Dinosaurs, Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, and Walking with Monsters: Before the Dinosaurs are all great movies from a BBC series. For something less documentary and more story telling (with education) try Dino King. Papo and Schliec make excellent dinosaur/ prehistoric reptile/prehistoric mammal toys. For events, search small museums for fossil talks, or larger events like Jurassic Quest. Buy some cheap dinosaur skeleton toys and put them in a sandbox for an excavation dig. There are a TON of dino books (my two year old loves the ones that make sounds. ) But the best piece of advice I can offer is watch the shows and read the books with your kids. Learn with them. And always acknowledge when they correct you on something. Feeling like they know more than their parents is s huge drive for kids. Plus there are so many documentaries on Netflix and Amazon about dinosaurs. It’s awesome.

    • Thank you for all the info. I have grandkids who are just beginning to learn about dinosaurs. Both of my boys were obsessed with the beasts 30 years ago and I now need to feed the next generation.

  28. My son was definitely obsessed with dinosaurs. He is 4 years old. One day we were watching Blue Planet II and he watched the episode with cuttlefish and from that day forward he has been very focused in learning everything there is about cuttlefish and octopuses. It’s amazing to see our little ones super interested in specific things.

  29. We have a collection of cheap or homemade dinosaur hats for our kids to wear. They’re nothing fancy, but they serve their purpose and the kids know exactly what each one represents.

    When it’s time to play dinosaur (when isn’t it?) Dad draws each kid a card with a number corresponding to a hat (because I can’t say those names). This keeps the big kids from always being the predators ‘preying’ on the littler ones. It also lets them learn about the different roles different dinos had besides their favorite ones.

    And it’s a lot easier to pass a dinosaur a carrot stick when you can say ‘parasauralophus didn’t eat cake, remember?’ Or ‘you’re a raptor, you can have either a hard boiled egg or some ham.’

    Our eldest is the one most obsessed with dinosaurs but the younger ones like stomping around and roaring too. At least I always know where they are.

  30. I was one of those kids. I drew a Tyrannosaurus rex aged 5 based on memory. All by free hand.  

  31. I love this SO much! Both my boys have loved dinosaurs, the younger one much more. He has so many T-Rex shirts it’s crazy lol. At six years old now, he uses big words and thinks his complex thoughts out loud. His twin sister has been drawing and singing since she could start to do each one, and has only gotten better as she gets older. They have amazing conversations and make up the best stories and games together. At the end of their kindergarten year, they are nearly at the top of their reading levels. My oldest took an interest in and taught himself origami and also loves the STEM toys that he can create with. Love seeing them each learn in their own amazing ways!

  32. My almost three year old is obsessed and can name about 15-20 Dinosaurs on sight. He is allowed limited YouTube time and spends all of it learning about dinos. There are some nice videos which teach the names. 

  33. My grandson loves his dinos, we do get him books, games, even clothes with them, sometimes he picks them out himself. Taken to see at museums, one of the like robots that look real. He does know their names and what they eat, meat, plants, and even know correct term for what they eat. He does correct us if we pronounce the name wrong. This all started when he was maybe not even 2 years, he is now 6 and still can not stop learning and playing with them. He builds cities for them and they destroy the cities, trains, cars, whatever. We so enjoy watching and listening to him as he tells us the story of what they are doing.

  34. When my daughter was only 4 she correctly identified a Parasaurolophus among the toys for sale in Lidl – she got the pronunciation right and yes, I did have to check how to spell it! She’s now nearly 7 and still very interested in dinosaurs; at the moment she wants to become either a palaeontologist or archaeologist.

  35. My son is almost 5, and he’s been dino obsessedsince age 3.5. My husband and I encouraged it having no awareness of this study, and having absolutelyno dino awareness ourselves. We are now a true dino family, and our son continues to learn something new every day.
    Now, it has turned into an obsession with other creatures, via the Wild Kratts.
    It’s true, we absolutely see how it leads to deepening his intelligence and a strong desire to learn.

  36. My son is almost 3 years old and has loved dinosaurs since he was very small. He has been listing them for over 1 year and it blows my mind. Lol. He has taught me so much. So fun. Thanks for the info! August 18th is his birthday and well be throwing a dino themed party.

  37. Dinosaur Train PBS kids is an awesome show about dinosaurs. My son loves that show and loves dinosaurs along with his trucks and trains. He has a wooden traintrack set he plays with a lot..

  38. I’m 30 years old an although my tastes have widly broadened I still love dinos!

    If your kid likes videos games I would recommend Parkasauras. It’s a really good park building game (think a cute fun jurassic park, that you build!) That can be a lot of fun for older kids or I would have loved playing this with my parents or an older sibling! It can be a bit in depth but I learned a lot playing around in roller coaster tycoon and would have loved a dinosaur version!

  39. I’ve been a nanny for a family going on 6 years. The little boy in my care is almost 9. Ever since he was little, he held intense interest in many things to the point of hyperfocusing on that subject or toy and little else. (and yes dinosaurs were one of the interests.) He knew so much about his interests and could tell you everything about it, like a walking encyclopedia. His interests would shift as he got older (trains, legos, dinosaurs, star wars, soldiers ect…) The knowledge he had about these subjects and the things he could relate to you about them was amazing! Clearly he is a smart boy. But I’ve noticed, that once he moved on to another interest, he quickly forgot a lot about his previous hobby. He likes soldiers and everything to do with wars currently. When I ask him what was the name of a certain Star Wars character that I can’t remember, he use to be able to rattle of the name, what episode he was was in, and what year the movie was made. Now, he doesn’t know and claims that he never knew who that character was. Same goes for all his past interests. Sure, he remembers things here and there, popular dinosaurs and movie characters but nothing like he use to. But ask him a question about WW2, his current obsession and he knows generals, battles, dates and times. I think a kid’s intense interest is a use it or lose it kind of knowledge. They may quickly forget information as rapidly as they obtained it. I think intense interests are a great look into how kids learn but not a predictor of intelligence.

  40. Maybe it helps to have super-focused interests in _anything_ that can be formally studied (not necessarily dinosaurs). I have a 140 IQ and a college degree, am self-taught in three languages, and have composed original music and poetry. But dinosaurs were never a big deal to me as a girl.

  41. My son loved them growing up! He even got a dimosaur watch for a birthday present with instructions ,”for hours of fun!” ( a watch with a rubber removable dinosaur on top). Little did I know he would become a genius playing with all those dinosaurs! ! Great info!