Growing up, you probably remember that friend who loved dinosaurs, and could recall any bit of dinosaur trivia on command. It’s no surprise that many children find the world of dinosaurs fascinating. But you may not know that learning about dinosaurs can benefit other areas of your children’s learning and development.
3 Benefits of Learning About Dinosaurs
1. It Sparks Curiosity and Imagination
When fossils were first discovered by humans, people had to use their imaginations to explain their findings. People drew conclusions that dinosaur bones belonged to giants or monsters, according to the American Museum of Natural History. Studying dinosaur fossils encourages children to imagine a world very different from their own.
Even in the 21st century, there is much more to be understood about dinosaurs. Based on fossilized evidence, paleontologists rely on imagination to reconstruct dinosaurs’ appearance, behaviors, and environment. Through the study of dinosaurs, children connect to the timeless human endeavor to understand what life was like before us. They learn how to explore the unknown.
According to science writer Kate Morgan, deep-diving into interests, as some children do when learning about dinosaurs, is known as having an “intense interest.” Intense interests occur with the peak ages of imagination which are 3-5 years old. It is not surprising that intense interests develop around the time of peak imagination during children’s early years. Using imagination is important for child development. Education advocacy group Bright Horizons states, “imagination fosters cognitive and social development.”
When a child is imagining, they are practicing their critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. Their mind opens up to new possibilities. Learning about dinosaurs is a great way to spark and encourage a child’s imagination.
2. Dinosaurs can be an introduction to other science subjects
The discovery of dinosaur fossils has led to questions about what Earth was like long before humans existed and how the Earth has changed since the Mesozoic Era.
Attempting to gather evidence and answer some of these questions teaches us about other scientific concepts including plate tectonics and biogeography. When your child learns about dinosaurs, they will also be learning a lot about earth science.
Research on dinosaurs also gives us more information about different ecosystems and insights into evolution. According to The Guardian, learning about dinosaur fossils helps us understand how extinction has happened over time and how the diversity of species has recovered after a mass extinction.
Learning about the extinction of dinosaurs and the way dinosaurs teaches your child about how science plays a role in extinction, evolution, and the biodiversity of the earth both in the past and in the present.
Read More: Why Earth Science is Exciting For Kids (Link to Earth Science article)
3. Increases confidence and learning skills
Have you ever tried pronouncing or memorizing the many names of dinosaurs? Some of the names are difficult to pronounce, let alone remember. It is incredible how some children are able to retain vocabulary when they are learning about a topic they are interested in. This increases children’s self-confidence in their ability to learn and retain information.
A 2008 study cited by Morgan found that children who have intense interests benefit from better attention spans, deeper information processing skills, and increased knowledge.
“In short, they make better learners and smarter kids,” Morgan says. “There’s decades of research to back that up: Three separate studies have found that older children with intense interests tend to be of above-average intelligence.”
When children become more knowledgeable about a specific topic, they even find more confidence and curiosity in the classroom.
Live Online Classes About Dinosaurs
Is your child looking to learn more about dinosaurs? ZipSchool offers a live online paleontology class where your child can learn alongside other dinosaur-loving students. All classes are taught by a trained ZipSchool teacher, are for students ages 4-9, and have five students in each class. Learn more about ZipSchool classes here!