Ever since Jurassic Park opened in cinemas worldwide in 1993, people have been fascinated by these prehistoric giants that it had spurred sequel after sequel of blockbuster films. From the aggressive marketing efforts of these movie franchises came a lot of toys, playthings, and souvenir items that have become iconic signatures of a bygone era that is slowly gaining popularity in modern consciousness. And if you think that the 93 Jurassic Park has long been overshadowed by its 2015 rendition, a 5th installment is already in the making and is expected to be released by 2018.

But long before the Jurassic Park started capturing our imagination, many kids have already grown in the company of dinosaurs, most notably Barney, B. J., and Baby Bop. Of course, who could ever forget the 1914 Gertie the Dinosaur or even the lovable dinosaurs of The Land Before Time, Little Foot, Cera, Petrie, Spike, and Ducky? In fact, many of today’s most loved children’s shows have dinosaur characters, proof that these veritable creatures are something that need to be admired, not feared.

To show our respect for these lovable creatures’ invaluable contribution to child growth and development, we are bringing to you the top 10 dinosaur toys you and your kids will surely love.

How We Chose the Top Dinosaur Toys in Our List

Choosing the best and most popular dinosaur toys for kids is not really easy. Sure, everyone knows the T-Rex and the other species of the Jurassic and Cretaceous Period but we also had to look at other giant creatures like the brachiosaur, the triceratops, the brontosaur, and the pterodactyl, just to name a few. Of course, these are merely toys but we had to make sure that they are nevertheless developmentally appropriate for the age group that they are designed for. We then had to look at the toymaker’s reputation and credibility. If there are any indications of awards or certifications related to the design and manufacture of such toy dinosaurs, then we had to carefully consider that as well. Of course, we had to look closely at what other people are saying about these products. Overall, the whole process of identifying and scrutinizing each product took us quite a long time to complete. Nevertheless, we were able to accomplish it giving rise to our now famous top 10 dinosaur toys for children of all ages.

From Jurassic Park to Kids’ Imagination

Dinosaurs always have a very fearsome reputation. Some of their direct descendants still roam the planet in pretty much the same way as they once did. For example, the largest known lizard, the Komodo dragon, has a very terrifying character. However, you don’t even have to travel to Indonesia to know that the dinosaur’s most distant relative, the crocodiles, caymans, and alligators, all have equally fearsome reputation. These creatures strike fear in many of today’s children. Animal experts all agree that it is up to us to help educate children about these animals.

Enter the non-threatening environment of Barney and Friends, the Land Before Time, and Dinosaurs and our children today have a more or less positive experiences related to dinosaurs. Child developmental psychologists say that the toned down approach to learning about these prehistoric animals can be quite effective especially among children. The use of friendlier tones of voices plus the use of vivid colors can all help to project a more non-threatening nature of these animals. This allows kids to approach such living organisms with a much more open mind simply because they are no longer dictated by preconditioned fear.

Compared to adults who may think that dinosaurs are vicious man-eating creatures, the gentle nature of many toy dinosaurs present these animals to children in such a way that their imagination is brought to the fore. Sure T-Rex will still have its gnarly menacing razor-sharp teeth but these have all been subdued in such a way that they resemble the teeth found in ordinary human beings. If you don’t believe us, try imagining Barney, Baby Bop, or even B. J. complete with razor-sharp canines and lateral incisors. Do you think kids will learn to love them? The point is that many of today’s children’s dinosaur animation has clearly tamed the wild in these animals making them friendlier than a pitbull terrier or even a squirrel.

Playing with dinosaurs can have two very important benefits for children. First is the realization of the existence of prehistoric animals that once ruled the earth. All of these animals are no longer around for us to really appreciate them. The closest children will ever get to see a real-life dinosaur is by visiting one of those museums of natural history where they exhibit fossil remains of these ancient animals. Unfortunately, doing so will leave a lot of things to the imagination. The young mind will have to fill in the gaps and spaces with makeshift flesh and hardy leather-like skin complete with scales and other anatomic features. Now, of course, the second best thing is to really play with toy dinosaurs that mimic their sound as well as their movement. This helps children realize that these animals are essentially just like any other living organism. They will still require food and water and they need to have some form of protection against predators in the wild.

The second benefit is primarily focused on the use of children’s imagination. It is through imaginative and make-believe play that children can create their very own fantasy world where dinosaurs roamed the earth and that humans were merely another part of the larger ecosystem. They can start pretending to be Little Foot or even Dino from the Flintstones. It is in using their imagination that kids tend to begin appreciating causal relationships and the power of deductive reasoning and of establishing patterns of predictions. They begin to understand some of the unique characteristics of certain dinosaurs that make them ideal in certain ecosystems. This allows them to explore their creative and imaginative thinking.

When played with other children, toy dinosaurs can be a great conversation piece. Children can expand their vocabulary allowing them to better communicate their thoughts and feelings to fellow children as well as to their parents and other grownups. As they harness their language and communication skills, they begin to understand the importance of social interaction and how this can lead to improved self-confidence and self-esteem. In a way, it is through social interaction that children learn to appreciate their own happiness and sense of contentment.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons why people look to toy dinosaurs for inspiration especially in terms of helping their children grow and develop to their optimum potential. From toy dinosaurs to lovable children’s dinosaur TV shows and computer games, these toned-down versions of ancient animals have become a major centerpiece in helping children grow healthier and more developmentally-attuned. With our list of the top 10 toy dinosaurs for children of all ages, we are confident that you, too will feel more empowered taking care of your kids.

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Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!

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