Learn about educational dinosaur toys that can teach children while they play.
From miniature replicas to remote-controlled creatures, the choices of dinosaur toys are plenty. Children of all ages can enjoy recreating their favorite dinosaur movie or television show through imaginative play, or they can build and paint their own dinosaur creation. With dinosaur toys, children can become young archeologists and learn about their favorite dinosaurs. No matter the size or type, dinosaur toys can be both entertaining and educational.
When shopping for dinosaur toys, those that encourage open-ended play and creativity are a safe bet. Building toys like plastic blocks or those with scale models of dinosaurs can work on a variety of skills, such as critical thinking and patience. Many interactive dinosaur toys are now robotic and look more realistic. Kids can use these simple remote-controlled gadgets to replicate movements the dinosaurs might have made many years ago. Ranging in price from about $5 for a magnetic dinosaur puzzle to more than $200 for a three-foot tall dinosaur that children can ride, choosing the ideal toy depends on the child's interests.
Parents and children who prefer educational dinosaur toys should review specialty toy stores either online or in person for particular dinosaur toys. What may be considered educational to one parent might not be as important to the next. Educational toys mainly work to challenge, stimulate and encourage creativity, and enhance a child's imagination. Dinosaur toys are no exception to this definition.
Kits are a mainstay among the best educational toys, with dinosaur kits featuring stamps, painting, molds, and casting dinosaurs available. Depending upon the kit, children as young as age 4 can work on these dinosaur projects. Puzzles and games are another staple in the educational toy genre, with a floor puzzle easy enough for a 3-year-old. Many dinosaur games teach children about science and history through dinosaur trivia, while others might use mathematics. Consumers should also consider remote-controlled dinosaurs, as these toys can encourage younger children to develop their dexterity and small motor skills.
In its ranking of the top toys of 2008 (tested by staff members), Parents magazine included a Lego set containing a dinosaur scene with cavemen and dinosaur families. This toy is best for toddlers age 3 and older. Also making the top toys list was another Lego dinosaur toy that allow children age 9 or older to design their own stegosaurus with red eyes that light up.
Parents should keep in mind when purchasing dinosaur toys that attractive packaging does not always mean the toy is educational. Some of the simplest and least expensive dinosaur toys come in bland packaging. For instance, according to Consumer Guide, a fossilized dinosaur replica enclosed in plaster that allowed children to excavate the bones was a huge hit with its testers.
As with any toy purchase, it is important to view the ages recommended for the toy's usage. Toys labeled for children age 3 and older may contain small parts that can be a choking hazard to those younger than 3 years old. Parents should supervise the child and the toy, at least initially. This is especially important for sophisticated electronic dinosaur toys.
Parents wishing to be proactive can either subscribe to online sites to receive recall information or pay close attention to news outlets featuring toy recalls. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a recall was issued in late 2007 on bendable dinosaur toys due to potential lead exposure.