So whats the deal with the "dinosaur " phase many kids go through?

Not sure what forum is best, so I’ll start it here.

I have observed that about 8 out of every 10 kids I’ve had contact with as an adult (my own kids, nieces, nephews, friends kids, etc., etc.) go through this dinosaur phase. Fascinated by them, know their exact scientific names, etc… My youngest niece is only 4 and can rattle off the names and facts about any dino. Shes not even in school yet, so it can’t be that whats influencing her.

Is it just that they were so huge and monster like that kids so get into them or what? What do you think?

Yeah, that’s what it was for me. Dinosaurs are big and strong and huge and . . . and . . . and old. Like millions of years old.

It lasted until I was 10, and then I discovered astronomy which dealt with things even bigger and older than dinosaurs.

They’re monsters, but they’re dead monsters, so they’re safe. Plus you can growl and have fights and stuff. And young children are great memorizers; they just love to learn yards of weird information they can rattle off (Pokemon cashed in on this in a big way), especially if they are long complicated words grownups can’t pronounce.

Yep, my kids did it too, with dinos and other prehistoric stuff. My oldest had articulation problems, and his preschool teacher was stumped as to what he was trying to explain to her. Finally the exasperated three year old said “You know- early man!” He was saying “australopithicus.”

He knew hundreds of dinosaur names by the time he was four, and he still remembers them. So does the younger one.

Absolutely. Big stomping monsters. That there’s proof of. From ancient time.
An entire alien world that really existed once and that they can learn and know about. What’s there not to dig about it?

I believe I remember reading a column on this subject by Dave Barry. He said that it’s because dinosaurs are huge and powerful - even more huge and powerful than mommy and daddy! If a T-rex’s parents told him to go to bed early and he didn’t want to he could just bite their heads off!
My brother was quite interested in dinosaurs when he was young. (I also was, but my sister wasn’t as much).

But one of my cousins, whoa! He didn’t just sometimes pretend to be a dinosaur - it was a pretty much continuous impersonation for a year or two. Stomping around, growling, imitating their posture. My aunt used to joke he might not grow out of it before starting school, and that would be embarrassing (he did grow out of it though).

I loved that column. Actually it read more like if a T-Rex’s parents told him to stop pouring apple juice into the TV remote, he would just use his tail to swat them through the wall making cartoon-like mommy and daddy cutouts in the plaster, and then he would calmly go back to pouring apple juice into the TV remote.
Dave Barry used to crack me up.

A ha! I found part of the Dave Barry column in question here:

and further on:

The quote is a bit longer than that - you can read the whole column at that link.

I don’t know why, I was always just fascinated by them.

I didn’t ‘grow out of it’ until I was 10 or so, and I think that was because I was teased about it (after doing really good in the grade 4 science fair with my project on them…). In fact, I’m still a bit of a dino geek, I need to start collecting books and such again to learn about some of the new discoveries. I was starting on a path towards becoming a Paleontologist, but that got derailed by life.

They’re just awe inspiring creatures.

I went through the dino phase when I was about 7-8 or so. I think what made them so fascinating for me is the fact that there were these books with fanciful drawings of creatures that looked like they belonged in fairy tales, but were real. It didn’t get much cooler than that.

Would this be related to the “horse phase” that many a young girl goes through?

I think a horse phase is different. I didn’t have much of a dinosaur phase, but I was very big on horses, and that usually hits about 9-10, around fourth grade. Horses are more romantic, I think, and more like friends. A horse is going to be your always-understanding very best friend who loves only you forever and ever, and who is beautiful and powerful, with hair to brush, as well. You can escape with a horse and go running off into the wind, never to return.

There is the same memorization of all the different names and breeds, though. But there aren’t a lot of dinosaur novels, and there are tons of horse novels. I once owned the entire Marguerite Henry library and three copies of Black Beauty (but no Black Stallion books, didn’t like those).

It’s a Jungian thing; a sense of awe evolved from the instinctual fear of our far distant ancestors, the egg-stealing, ratlike creatures who scurried in the shadows of the true Leviathans. They may be long dead, but they have rarely been “extinct”—the legends of dragons, feathered serpents, the Chinese Lóng…creatures of myth, but spawned from the base racial memory of the beasts burned into our genetic code; a strength not even held by any god still worshipped by modern man.

To have unenlightened faith in your deity can be a powerful thing; but, imagine the god being wrenched solidly out of legend, and into the realm of facts. But beyond that, one learns not only of that “god’s” incontestable reality, but sees all it’s secrets dragged into the light of understanding. What was once an incomprehensible being of unlimited power, the master of the world, has fallen like the Colossus. When our ancestors fled from their “God” in cracks and shadows, we, their decendants, keep their bones under glass: as specimens, and trophies. Die Götter sind Tot—and they are at our mercy. We cannot help but feel both stunned awe and triumphant dominance, bewilderment and total comprehension, fear and glee. A fundamentally spiritual experience.

If you don’t like that story, I have others. :wink:

Because dinosaurs are REALLY COOL.


(I was a dinosaur docent at the Field Museum in Chicago until March. It’s possible I never grew out of this phase.)

Bingo! It’s a “safe” monster. I think it gives them almost a sense of security. It validates their fears (no one is going to tell them *“there’s no such thing”, * but it can’t get them. They feel like they have control or something.

Plus, they’re so cool!

It’s a phase? :eek:

I was supposed to grow out of it??

(32 years and going strong…)

That’s the most ridiculous, farfetched thing I’ve read today that I believe in.


:eek: How can you not like the Black Stallion? And you call yourself a female :smiley:

(Went through a horse phase myself, and a unicorn one–actually, I’m still in that one :D–and I read every Black Stallion book I could get my hands on, which was most of them. I only have a copy of Black Beauty by accident, though I had already read it by then)

I think it’s basically the ‘alien monster that can’t hurt me’ kind of thing. They’re big, scary and different, thus cool and fun to learn about.

Big monsters that used to walk the face of the Earth. Better yet, they’re extinct.

What’s not to love?

Yup. Ranchoth, that freaking rocked.

My own dino facination was helped along by the fact that we lived by the La Brea tar pits. They had a sabre toothed tiger skeleton that they projected fur and such on…used to freak me right out. Not that sabre toothed tigers were dinosaurs, but still. Then we moved here to Chicago, and they have a fully articulated tyranosaurus rex skeleton. Still blows my mind a bit to this very day.