Most children’s toys can be used to begin a new era of learning in that child. But you have to be clever and look at each toy your child takes interest in and see in it an educational potential. This is especially true if your youngster develops a love of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are the type of creature that seems to span gender lines. Little girls come to love them as much as little boys do.
Part of the reason for that is how often dinosaurs become part of children’s entertainment. Barney and the cartoon show, The Flintstones are examples of how creative companies who make their living entertaining children often use the image of a dinosaur to entertain the young. If that is the case with your child, you no doubt have dozens of pictures of those dinosaur characters along with coloring books and stuffed animals all around the house. Those images may be a good way to start to take your child’s fascination with dinosaurs and guide them into a discovery of the world of fossils and science that will stay with them for life.
As a parent, you can add fuel to the fire and take a childhood love of cartoon dinosaurs or talking dinosaurs and begin to migrate that into a fascination with real dinosaurs and the fossil records that give us the knowledge we have of them. There are dozens of ways to give your child new and colorful pictures of dinosaurs including placemats, t-shirts, playing cards and posters. A package of playing cards each of which shows a different dinosaur with the name of the example and a little bit of scientific information about it may become a child’s most treasured toy and one they love to use to play cards with the rest of the family so the cards can be shown off to everyone.
Placemats and posters can use an exciting image of a dinosaur and then use smaller boxes around the sides to show pictures of the very fossils that were used by paleontologists to create the image of that dinosaur that the kids love to see on their clothes and walls at home. These “teasers” use the natural instinct of children to play with dinosaurs and it introduces scientific knowledge into their play.
As they become more fascinated with real dinosaurs and fossils that you gave them in various pictorial gifts, you can then take that interest and grow it through field trips to museums that feature fossils displays and even to places that will let the kids perform a version of play archeology in a realistic setting. They may never want to look at Barney or the Flintstones again when they come to appreciate how much fun can be had learning about real fossils and real dinosaurs from real scientists. And the pictures of fossils you cleverly used to create that fascination will have served you well.