by Nancy M.
Most children go through a dinosaur phase. They want to learn everything about them. The bizarre names, how they lived, the fossils and the fact that they are no longer here. And generally this means they like to play with dinosaur toys as it helps them learn more about them in a fun and engaging way. So the first question to ask is, why do kids have such a fascination with long extinct creatures?
What’s The Attraction Of Dinosaurs?
I believe that kids are fascinated by dinosaurs because they are the original big monsters. Creatures like the Tyrannosaurus Rex make an immediate impression on a young child’s mind. They see the razor sharp teeth, the blaring roar and the swishing tail of the giant T-Rex in movies like Jurassic Park and can’t fail to be awestruck. These creatures look so different from from anything the child has ever seen before that they just have to know more about it. And given that kids soon realize that Dinosaurs are no longer around, they are not truly frightening and curiosity can take hold.
And if the monster angle doesn’t work (toddlers won’t relate to a scary monster so much), there are so many Dinosaur character books, TV, cartoons, board games, computer games and much more. Think of Barney the friendly Dinosaur or the Dinosaur Train family. The Flintstones had a pet dinosaur, but that’s going back a few years now.
These characters are often personifications of humans. They act like humans and do the kind of things that humans would do. In many cases they do things that young humans would do and face issues that kids face. For example, in the Dinosaur train they live in a family and have squabbles with their brothers and sisters. So kids can really relate to them. But they also look cool because they are dinosaurs.
So it could be argued that kids are fascinated by dinosaurs because they are inherently fascinating or even that we, as adults, foster this fascination by putting dinosaurs in popular culture. In other words, many adults are just as interested in them as kids are.
So Where Do Dinosaur Toys Fit In?
Dinosaur toys bring kids closer to these fascinating creatures. They let them literally walk with dinosaurs and use their imagination and learning to make these animals live again.
The Dinosaur Train TV show, for instance, simply informs about different dinosaurs – how they lived, where they lived, what they did, what they ate and all the rest. When a child can take the toys from the show , the individual characters and the train act out their own adventures and learn more about their favorite creatures. This allows the child to become part of the action, or at least to direct the action.
Playing with toys is a more engaging way to learn than watching TV, and often even more than reading a book (even though the Dinosaur train was originally a TV show).
Other popular Dinosaur toys include remote control pets like D-Rex or even Spike. Kids love these kinds of toys, mostly because they are given a little responsibility and have to care for the other “creature”. Even though it’s not a life creature, children have, as we know so well, a pretty fertile imagination. For children that essentially have to live by their parents or older siblings rules, to call something their own that they can control and even confide in is a great feeling.
What do you thing about dinosaur toys? Does your child love them, too?