Dino Stuff for Your Mini-Paleontologist

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Does biostratigraphy excite you? Actually, let’s back up. Do you know what biostratigraphy is?

When watching The Land Before Time with the kids, does it annoy you that the dinosaurs are all from different time periods — Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus from in the late Jurassic period, while Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus existed in the late Cretaceous period — and thus could not have been such good pals?

Does the fact that brontosaurs do not exist upset or fascinate you?

If you’re looking to explore mereological nihilism with Little Foot, go ahead. It’s really none of our business how you spend your weekends. If you’re looking to pass your almost pathological love of dinosaurs on to your little one, now that we can help you with.

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Really who can blame you? A job that allows you to dig in the dirt (sometimes with dynamite) and collect cool fossils from things that lived millions of years ago? Oh, and you can study them later with high-tech toys like CAT scanners. I’m in. Where do I sign up?

Actually, you sign up after completing a master’s degree and perhaps conducting a little research. We can’t guarantee your kid entrance to a university, but we can help you cultivate their love of dinosaurs so you’ll have an equally flabbergasted Ice Age movie buddy. “Daddy why are there dinosaurs in a movie with woolly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers? And where is this secret world they’ve been living in? I’d like to see a fossil record of this glaring inaccuracy!” It’ll be a proud parental moment.

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For the littlest dino lovers put them in some paleontologically appropriate PJs …

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… and send them to sleep with the Late Cretaceous period on their minds. This CD features a 30-minute relaxation story about a sleepy pterosaur making his way back to his cliff-top home. It ends with a 60-minute ocean flying soundscape. Story + Makeshift sound machine = A kid who’s more likely to drift off to dreamland and stay there until morning.

Don’t forget to have them dress the part when they wake up rawring and start stomping around. This fleece dino hat will keep them warm on chilly days. Poor dinosaurs, we’re infinitely better prepared for an ice age than they were.

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And give them some reading material so they can study up. National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs has fun facts for kids ages 4-8 alongside beautiful illustrations of different dinosaurs.

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For older kids try Dinosaurs A Visual Encyclopedia from DK Publishing. Hundreds of photographs and computer-generated images bring extinct animals back to life for young paleontologists. The book includes up-to-date fact boxes, timelines, maps and diagrams that explore the beginnings of life on Earth. It also investigates early eras and life forms, and examines the world of the dinosaurs, their homes, food and young.

If you’ve determined that your kid really is the next Barnum Brown, here’s the real deal for kids 9 and older. Bones Rock!: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Paleontologist contains true stories about kids who have made paleo-discoveries and provides readers with the tools needed to make their own next big discovery.

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Examples from the fossil record help kids answer questionable dinosaur movie moments, such as “Really Jurassic Park? Can a Velociraptor really open a door?” Bones Rock! gets into how to collect, clean and study fossil samples. Field and lab techniques for determining the authenticity of a fossil are covered, too.

Methods for developing scientific theories, information about summer dig programs, ways to incorporate fossils into schoolwork, and plans for a future in science are also presented. The book provides aspiring scientists with applicable research tools as well as tips about safety, permission and mentorship. Kids really learn how to become active contributors to the field of paleontology.

Not that you don’t already have these, but just in case, you should support your child’s interest in awesome things by wearing this or this.

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And, of course, you can play this little tune while you and your tiny paleontologists get ready to dig:

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