Is your floor littered with prehistoric figures? If so, you might have a budding paleontologist on your hands. Does your little love to absorb every dino fact? Has the desire to collect them all and read dino books over and over again?
Your preschooler may have taken their new-found obsessions to levels you thought impossible. They can pronounce more dinosaur names than you can and know everything about their dietary habits. Where did that new fascination come from though, did it just seem to happen overnight?
When your child develops an intense interest there are many ways to help them expand and grow their love for dinos. Twin Cities Kids Club is here to share ways that you can do that to take some of the guesswork out of it for you!
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So, What is it about Dinos?
There are many reasons that kids gravitate towards dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are a novel concept for children. Here are just a few reasons that kids, especially young boys, seem to be intrigued by dinosaurs!
Extinct, Big, and Scary!
Kids take an interest in dinosaurs because they are large scary creatures that lived over 65 million years ago. Because of extinction, they are not something that you can go and easily see at the zoo. Nor can you find real-time footage of them catching and eating their prey as you can do with large cats and bears.
These incredible, lumbering creatures help children to put their world into perspective and understand the timeline of the earth.
An average grade-schooler may not understand extinction exactly, but what they do seem to understand is that they are no longer around. So no matter how sharp a dino’s teeth or hungry they may be, it removes the need to fear them.
Dinos Do What They Want
In most books where a dinosaur is the main character in the story, they are portrayed as being able to do what they want. I mean, who’s going to stop them? These books spark a toddler’s imagination and feed into the most substantial part of a toddler’s brain- their id.
The sheer size of a dinosaur skeleton leaves children in awe. Also, their lack of existence makes their skeletons much less creepy than a large cat, wolf, or even a human. Kids often enjoy their skeletons more than they enjoy looking at an actual dinosaur.
There are also different ways to learn about dinosaurs now besides having to view their skeleton mounted in a museum. There are many recreated videos on National Geographic that will help your kid further their dinosaur knowledge.
The Benefits of an Intense Interest?
According to clinical psychologist, Dr. Randy Kulman, an intense interest in a topic like dinos, promotes skills such as practice, a sustained focus, and persistence. Each of these qualities will help a child succeed in school and in their work.
It may also promote a sense of efficacy as well as positive self-esteem. Even children appreciate it when their hard work and dedication are noticed. For this reason, they become masters at all things dinosaur-related.
Kelli Chen, a pediatric psychiatric occupational therapist, states in The Cut, “Exploring a topic and mastering it is beneficial because that’s how we form careers as adults. A kid’s primary occupation is to play, so they’re going about their job of playing through the lens of this thing they’re interested in about learning.”
So, while not all dino loving boys may not become a paleontologist, their love for everything dinosaurs may help them develop the skill-set they need for their future career.
Places to Take Your Dino Lover?
The more that you help your child follow their interests and passions, the more likely they are to carry some of it into adulthood. While technology has its benefits, we do not want that to be one of our child’s learning sources. Here’s a list of places that you can take your dino lover to help foster his love for dinosaurs.
The Science Museum is a great place to take your prehistoric lover if you have a free afternoon. They are located in St Paul. There are many different dinosaur exhibits where you can see full-size dinosaur skeletons. The triceratops skeleton is a museum favorite and is one of four real bone exhibits.
Also located in St Paul is The Bell Museum. The Bell Museum do not have dino fossils on display, but they do have an Ice Age exhibit. Your child will be able to see a wool mammoth and enjoy other prehistoric animals from the Pleistocene Era.
Another reason I suggest The Bell Museum is because they have a Touch & See lab. You can take your tiny Paleontologist into the lab to receive a magnifying glass and an identification sheet and help stimulate their love of learning.
Road trip to Hill Annex Mine State Park
The Hill Annex Mine State Park is located between Grand Rapids and Hibbing. If you’re up for the trip to see one of Minnesota’s treasures, they’re open to the public between May 23rd and September 7th.
There have been very few dinosaur bones discovered in Minnesota, but the latest find was in Hill Annex Mine. Hill Annex Mine State Park offers a fossil hunting tour where paid guests can spend the afternoon digging and hunting for their very own ancient fossils! Which your child is allowed to keep.
A trip like this one will be one for the books for your little Paleontologist. They will learn about the state park and how to identify their fossils finds!
This trip may take a little planning on your part, but the tour guides and park rangers are eager to answer questions you may have before planning your trip.
Trip to the local library
A nice easy afternoon trip to your local library will get you out of the house, and you and your kiddo can spend the afternoon sitting together and reading new dino and fossil books! The library is a simple way to get your kids out of the house and encourage their interest.
For more reasons to take your kiddos to the library, read this.
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