July 04, 2022 — Ted Harris

Big and scary. That's probably the first thing that kids think of when dinosaurs are mentioned. This begs the question, why are kids so fascinated by dinosaurs? There have been some learned opinions given as to why children find dinosaurs so intriguing*, and we dug into the evidence to come up with the most likely four reasons that kids love them. 

Kids! Click here to read some dinosaur facts instead. And don't forget the challenge right at the end of this blog too.

4 Reasons why kids love dinosaurs

  1. Dinosaurs are big, scary and extinct. Extinct is the operative word here. The fact that dinosaurs are no longer around renders them harmless. Even if they were once the biggest and scariest creatures around. This is important in the mind of a child. They can let their imaginations run wild without having to be fearful when they go out into a wilderness area. They know dinosaurs are no longer a real threat, except perhaps if a dinosaur skeleton fell on someone in the Museum.
  2. Dinosaurs can do what they like. Pretend play is great and kids love to be something other than a child. Dinosaurs fit the bill perfectly. After all, who is going to challenge a massive dinosaur? Even parents have to ‘be careful’ of the child pretending to be a dinosaur, or walking through a dinosaur infested land. This type of imaginary play allows children a bit of room to push the boundaries safely. 
  3. Names of dinosaurs are cool. Being able to rattle off a good few dinosaur names is sure to impress Mom and Dad. Children don't understand that they're essentially learning Latin, but how impressive to think that's the case? It's especially impressive if Mom and Dad didn’t know the name in the first place (which is probably most of the time).
  4. Dinosaurs look weird but are real. A dinosaur’s appearance is almost better than a make believe beast and it really existed. This gives a child their first glimpse into the scientific world and what it offers. Rather, it blends their wildest fantasies with very real truths. Reading a book on dinosaurs is probably their first foray into non-fiction for a lot of children and opens up a whole new world of reading exploration. What else can be discovered? What else don't we know yet? 

Interestingly, an obsession for dinosaurs, amongst other things, can spark what is termed an 'intense interest'  in a child*. Scientists are unsure what triggers an intense interest, but about a third of children have them. While vehicles are the most common, dinosaurs are next by a wide margin. Intense interests are great confidence boosters for children and according to Kelli Chen, a paediatric psychiatric occupational therapist at Johns Hopkins University, who added that they're "also particularly beneficial for cognitive development".

Psst! Parents, grandparents, guardians and teachers... let the kids read this next part themselves! 

Fantastic facts: 7 types of dinosaurs and their weird names

These fantastic beasts that roamed the Earth so many millions of years ago have been named by scientists using Latin names. That follows a very normal scientific tradition in naming things, which is why the names of dinosaurs are really cool to learn. From massive to tiny, fast to slow, and ferocious to, well, prey, the facts about these creatures boggle the mind. There have been an incredible number of species discovered, but we've identified a handful for our favourite dinosaurs. Read all about their weird names and fantastic facts below.


Argentinosaurus (huge dino)

To date this appears to be the largest dinosaur that ever lived. It weighed as much as a Boeing 737 and was just as long. Just imagine how much it would have to eat just to stay alive! It definitely had second and third helpings, every day, every meal. 

Largest dinosaur ever






Occuludentavis (tiny dino)

The discovery of what is believed to be the smallest known dinosaur has scientists excited. This tiny dinosaur bird was about the size of a bee hummingbird, probably the height of two marshmallows and the weight of one marshmallow. That's tiny! Large eyes and a beak full of teeth makes scientists think this little fellow was a terror to insects. He'd be a wonder for keeping garden pests away!

Smallest dinosaur ever






Giraffatitan (giraffe dino)

Fossil evidence puts the Giraffatitan at about 22 metres long and about 12 metres high. This creature would have had to bath in a 25 metre swimming pool and could steal a sweet out of your room even if you lived on the third floor. It’s incredibly long neck allowed it to feast on leaves no other dinosaur could reach... does that remind you of an animal that lives today? 

Longest neck dinosaur ever






Stegosaurus (spiky dino)

The Stegosaurus looked quite weird. As a plant eater, it was probably prey for carnivorous dinosaurs and scientists think it used its spiky tail for defence. The big bony plates that stuck out of its back looked like shields and probably acted as shields. What an awesome goal keeper this spiky dino would have been! 

Stegosaurus spikiest dinosaur ever




Triceratops (horned dino)

This three-horned creature with a massive bony neck frill was, in fact, a herbivore. That means it ate plants. A fully grown Triceratops was roughly the size of the African Elephant. Scientists are unsure if the neck frill was used to cool the beast like a car’s radiator or if it acted as protection for its neck and shoulders. And the three horns? They were probably used when there was a Triceratops fight–imagine if you had three spiky arms to use in a fight!




Longisquama (feathered dino)

A lizard with feathers? Longisquama's ‘feathers’ weren’t feathers as we know them, but similar. Scientists are undecided as to the purpose of these strange appendages, but most agree that this creature was a little weird. We’re not too sure what to think of it!  

Longisquama dinosaur name







Tyrannosaurus Rex (king dino)

You thought we had forgotten this ferocious beast, but how could we miss it? At 12 metres long and weighing up to 8 tons, it was about the size of a bus. T. Rex was a terrifyingly huge dinosaur with the most powerful bite ever known. The T. Rex can devour 100 roast chickens in one bite. You don’t invite one of them around for dinner. 

T Rex dinosaur name







A Dinosaur Drawing Challenge

Kids, adults and everyone else: Here is a challenge. Draw us a picture of a dinosaur you have made up and give it a name. Email it to hello@imagnaryhouse.com with your name and age (illustrators, feel free to include a link to your website/portfolio). We’ll publish all of them on our blog and everyone will be able to vote on their favourite ones! 


* For further reading on the science behind kids loving dinos... check out this resource

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