How To Turn Your Child Into a Dinophile

A few days after George started school, he came home and said something heartbreaking.

“Mama, no one wanted to play with me on the playground.”

Well, after my heart took a little bit of a beating, I started to think this through. After all, George is relatively similar to other little boys, especially since they all seem to run around like crazies on the playground anyway. Why did he feel left out?

As I watched him play with his U.S. president flash cards and sing the periodic table song to himself, a light bulb went off. He thought the other boys didn’t want to play with him because they didn’t want to play what he wanted to play. I mean, how many almost-4-year-olds do you know who love chemistry? Or geography?

So, I started to wonder about the interests of more traditional preschool boys. And I came up with…dinosaurs. After all, what little boys don’t love a reason to roar and chase each other?

This works perfectly for our family, as my husband was obsessed with dinos back in his heyday. He was the kid correcting you that, no, that’s not a brontosaurus, it’s a brachiosaurus, thankyouverymuch. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve heard through in-law family lore.


I started where all of George’s academic endeavors began—flash cards.

We then branched into books, puzzles, and music. The music—Wee Sing Dinosaurs—is a throwback to my husband’s childhood, and my children are loving it just as much.

Just in case you have a dinophile on hand or, like me, want to push your children to fit in with the cool kids, I thought I’d pass along some resources.

Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli

Have you discovered these incredible board books yet? We started with Alphablock, then acquired Countablock. Those two helped George learn his ABCs and 123s, respectively. There are also Cityblock and Buildablock, which we may memorize, should the preschool crowd discover a distinct liking for all things metropolitan.

Dinosaur Hunt by David Catrow

This currently ranks No. 1 as George’s bedtime-story pick. He loves the determined paleontologist dog who hunts with his eyes and nose to find dinosaur fossils. The cat scoffs until the dinosaur rises again!

Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs by Robert Sabuda

I know, I know, I’ve referenced this pop-up book before, but it’s that cool. Each page has at least two to four intricate pop ups, so maybe save it from clumsy (i.e. destructive) baby hands.

Melissa and Doug Dinosaur Puzzle

George is a fan of puzzles. He loves a 200-piece periodic table puzzle, but he’s more comfortable with bigger pieces and smaller numbers. I impulse-bought this floor puzzle at TJ Maxx, as that store is notorious for a long check-out line stacked with thousands of impulse-buy-worthy items.

Maybe she does want some Peppa Pig…

I’m trying to decide about George’s Halloween costume, as he’s showing zero interest. Do I try to top his noggin with a dinosaur head? Will he tear away from me if I suggest he slip into some unbelievably hot and uncomfortable polyester? Only time shall tell. For Olivia, I’m debating between Minnie Mouse and Peppa Pig.

The Minnie Mouse tutu would be infinitely cuter than a pig head, but she vacillates her affections. We shall see.

Have you gone through the dinosaur stage with your kids? Got any tips?

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