Why Do Kids Love Dinosaurs?

Written by: Brae MacAgy



Time to read 3 min

When I was maybe six or seven, I remember playing outside with my favorite dinosaur toys at a party my parents were attending. My favorite toy by far was the velociraptor; I was obsessed with the movie Jurassic Park at that age (who isn’t?), and I was enchanted by the idea of a dinosaur – something so ancient it pre-dated humans – being smart enough to open doors and solve puzzles on its own. Smart enough even to outsmart a human being.

As I played in the sand outside, the son of one of my parents’ friends approached me. He was older by a few years, and he asked me what my favorite dinosaur was (my favorite question, and one I miss being asked as an adult). So I told him, with excitement, “The velociraptor!” He scoffed, and he said, “But you do know that those are dangerous, don’t you?”

I frowned up at him in my Sunday-school tulle dress, under my long blonde bangs, and I said,

Yes. That’s why I like them.”

Even in my small understanding of the world and how it worked at that age, I did understand that animals could be dangerous. My father started explaining to me at a young age that even if I loved animals, if one attacked me, I needed to protect myself. I knew that nature was a dangerous, wild place where anything could happen at any time. But it didn’t feel as true with the dinosaurs. I knew, on some level, that any one of these dinosaurs could crush me flat with one large foot or a well-placed bite, but it didn’t feel real the same way that looking at a bear or an alligator at the zoo did. I could get right up close to dinosaur skeletons in a museum and know I was completely safe.

Dinosaurs feel safe to children

I think the same is true of many other children. When you’re very small, the world seems very big and very dangerous. But dinosaurs are bigger than anything else out there, and they can’t hurt you at all. They’re extinct! There’s no danger in something that hasn’t existed since before Grandma was born! And in knowing that, there’s safety. There’s comfort in knowing your favorite giant reptile can’t ever betray you by harming you in the wild.

In a way, as a child, the feeling of loving a carnivorous dinosaur that couldn’t hurt me was the same feeling as having a friend who could protect me. It made me feel bigger and braver and more important, even though it was all in my imagination.

Dinosaurs are a safe, comforting presence to a lot of kids in a lot of different ways, and that’s a very valuable thing.

Plus, dinosaurs are appealing to kids because they’re about as close to fantasy as we get in real life. What child didn’t fantasize about taming a unicorn in the woods, or riding a dragon over mountain peaks, or befriending a mermaid at the beach?

Maybe you can’t ever be a professional dragon-tamer in adulthood, but you sure could be a paleontologist!

As we grow up, most of us have had at least one childhood dream crushed by reality. But dinosaurs are safe from that, and that’s a very exciting thing to realize as a kid.

Kids love pretending to be paleontologists

Dinosaurs can be a constant source of inspiration for research in kids too. I know as a kid I was often begging my mom to take me to the library so I could find more books about dinosaurs and learn even more. This built a habit in me, where I wanted to read and research about things that interested me. I’m sure I’m not the only kid that ever happened to, either.

Give a kid a book about dinosaurs and they’ll read for the rest of their lives!

A love of animals can encourage a love of reading

While I was researching for this article (see? see how I’m still researching things? I told you!), I came across a few responses on Reddit to the same question posed today: Why do kids love dinosaurs? And almost every response from the adults who frequent the site was: “Because they’re awesome.”

So there you have it. At the core of the issue, dinosaurs are just cool. I think all of us, adults and kids alike, can agree on that.

And so to all the kids out there who love dinosaurs as much as I did as a little girl with a bunch of velociraptor toys: I hope you never stop loving these amazing creatures just as much as you do right now.

And to all the adults who haven’t been asked in a very long time and miss those days: What’s your favorite dinosaur?

Brae MacAgy

Brae MacAgy

Brae is the co-founder of the Book & Bear Company and packs most of what ships out. You’ve probably seen her signature inside your monthly box! Her lifelong love of animals and reading motivate her to bring the joy of both into the homes of families everywhere. ♥️

You can chat with her on her website: Bookandbear.com