Dino-tastic!

My little man is truly obsessed with dinosaurs. He loves them. He knows so much about them and is quite happy to chat to anyone and everyone about them. At age 3, he can name more prehistoric animals than most adults and will cheerfully correct people when they try and talk to him about dinosaurs.

This is nothing to do with me, really. Aided and abetted by my husband, O has discovered various dinosaur related TV programmes a few months ago.

He now loves Prehistoric Park – a series where Nigel Marven travels back through a time portal to rescue dinosaurs about to become extinct and bring them back to a wildlife park with only wooden fences to keep the animals separated from each other. Did he not see Jurassic Park?!

Who couldn't love this idea?!

Who couldn’t love this idea?!

He adores Dinosaur Train, a wonderful animated TV programme by the creators of The Muppets. The premise is a baby T-Rex is adopted by a family of Pteranadons and, desperate to discover what species he is, they travel through time and space on the Dinosaur Train finding out about lots of other animals. In a totally unrealistic way it’s just fantastic. O has learnt his alphabet – A, apatosaurus, B, Brachiosaurus, C, Corythosaurus… He can explain the difference between carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, why dinosaurs may have developed their key characteristics and how they may have evolved into modern animals.There’s even an amazing paleontologist, Dr Scott, who clears up the science at the end of the episodes – We don’t think Arctic Troodons really played ice hockey…

Now, our whole family loves the programme and has learnt so much. O is just a sponge and remembers everything, including the catchphrases: I’ve got a hypothesis and Get outside, get into nature and make your own discoveries. Impressive for a 3 year old, though sometimes I don’t know whether to burst with pride or cringe when he tells people that when he grows up he’s going to be a paleontologist, and then have to explain what that is!

We have visited museums, got a pile of dinosaur books, figures, toys, jigsaws etc. dinosaur art and craft activites have been done, and more are planned. These will, of course, be shared!

We went to our local park the other day and O spotted some footprints in the tarmac path. I guess, as they were next to the pond, that a  duck waddled across before it had dried properly.

Duck footprints (my idea) or fossilised track made by a theropod hunting a sauropod (O's hypothesis)?

Duck footprints (my idea) or fossilised track made by a theropod hunting a sauropod (O’s hypothesis)?

O however is adamant that they were a fossilised track made by a theropod because they had three toes. Obvious really. Why didn’t I think of that?! We’ve even booked our first ever family holiday for later this year purely so we can go fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. And R, who only has a couple of words, roars whenever she sees anything to do with dinosaurs! We really are a dinosaur loving family now…

And this week I discovered Dr Scott is a real life famous paleontologist who blogs and has a facebook page. I read a bit then thought I should let him know what a difference he has made to our family, and O especially. So I posted a short message on his facebook page saying how great we think he is, then went off to check out what Steve Backshall of Dealy 60 fame, another of O’s loves, is up to.

And guess what, Dr Scott replied to me! And within an hour. He said to say hi to my son. Such a simple thing but how to make a little boy feel special and give him the biggest smile, from ear to ear. And O really believes that every status update written by his heroes is a personal message to him. Not only do I love Dinosaur Train but now I love Dr Scott too!

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