Most kids are fascinated by dinosaurs at some point in their lives. These mysterious creatures usually bring up a whole raft of questions from kids, such as “Why are dinosaurs not here any more?”, “What did they sound like?” and “Which was the biggest dinosaur?”
Luckily for parents and kids alike, these days there are tons of high-quality apps, websites, videos and other online material that can answer all of these questions, and keep your little ones interested and entertained as they explore this fascinating topic.
In this article you’ll explore 14 of the best ways that your kid can discover and study dinosaurs using their computer or mobile device. Ready to dive into the world of dinosaurs? Let’s go!
This three-minute video from National Geographic gives your kid a good introduction to dinosaurs, with lots of amazing facts and figures! It covers digging for fossils; the huge amount of time that dinosaurs walked the Earth; different types of dinosaurs; how dinosaurs lived; what might have wiped out the dinosaurs; and today’s dinosaur descendants.
Dino Dog is a fun iPhone and iPad game designed for 6-8-year-olds (although my 4-year-old loves it too!). In the game, you help Doug, a loveable dog character, dig through the soil to uncover dinosaur fossils. Once you have all the pieces of a dinosaur, you break open the fossils, clean them, and then assemble them to make the whole dinosaur skeleton.
As well as the game element, Dino Dog features an entertaining cartoon story thread that runs throughout the game, starring Doug and his companion Bonnie as they travel the world to find new fossils. As you discover more dinosaurs, they get added to a museum, where you can learn about each dinosaur’s features and behaviour.
Dino Dog is great to look at, a bundle of fun to play, and an excellent way to introduce youngsters to dinosaurs and fossil hunting!
HISTORY.com has an excellent introduction to dinosaurs that also includes tons of great videos, covering everything from what dinosaurs might have sounded like through to what wiped out the dinosaurs. Each video also includes a suitable age rating — a nice touch for parents.
The Fantastic Dinosaurs app is a lovely interactive encyclopaedia packed with tons of facts and figures on 130 different dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles.
Each creature has its own detailed page, featuring everything from the meaning of its name and its vital statistics through to its habits, where its fossils were found, and where it fits into its family. In addition, each creature is illustrated with beautifully detailed 3D models that you can zoom into or rotate. You can also see how the dinosaur compares in size to a person and to a child, which really helps to give you some perspective.
You can browse the dinosaurs by family or by timeline, as well as search the database by period, type or zone. In addition, there’s a great list of dinosaur questions that kids always want to know the answers to, such as “What colour were the dinosaurs?” and “Why did the dinosaurs disappear?” (Answers are included!)
Another nice touch is the continuous background sound in the app, which really makes you feel like you’re in the forest with the dinosaurs!
This app will appeal to kids (and grown-ups) aged 9 and up who want to explore the different types of dinosaur and get some detailed dinosaur facts.
London’s Natural History Museum is one of the best places to learn about dinosaurs, and their website is also packed with lots of great dinosaur info and pictures for kids. The Dino Directory has facts and figures on over 300 dinosaurs, which you can explore by name, timeline, country and even body shape.
There are also 3D dinosaurs that you can spin round, some online games, and a fun quiz where you can find out what kind of dinosaur you are! (For the record, I’m a Plateosaurus.)
This YouTube playlist from the Discovery Channel features amazing animated dinosaur videos that really bring dinosaurs to life. Check out Dinos Invade Our World to see what dinosaurs would look like in today’s world, and MEGA-HUGE: The Biggest Dinosaurs Ever! to see some enormous prehistoric monsters.
The videos can be a bit scary and occasionally a bit gruesome, so they’re best suited to older kids.
Ever wondered what dinosaurs would look like roaming through the modern world? DiscoveryDinosaurs has you covered!
Dinox is a fun dinosaur quiz game for iPhone and iPad that features amazing video footage from the BBC’s epic Walking with Dinosaurs TV series (of which more in a moment).
For each quiz question, the game first shows you a dinosaur video, which you need to watch or listen to carefully. It then asks you a question on the dinosaur shown in the video, along with three possible answers. To get the most points, you need to select the right answer as quickly as possible. In addition, each right answer gives you a piece of a dinosaur skeleton; collect all ten pieces, and the dinosaur skeleton appears in a nice virtual museum where you can zoom into and rotate the skeleton.
You can play the game on your own, or with up to three other players, and there are three difficulty levels. The app can read out the questions and answers, which makes it suitable for younger kids too.
Dinox is a great way for anyone to learn lots of detailed information about dinosaurs, and the gorgeous videos and game elements will help to keep your kid’s interest up.
The basic game is free and comes with a small question set of 25 questions. To get the most out of the game you’ll want to get the extra question set, available as an in-app purchase.
Walking with Dinosaurs was a groundbreaking six-part BBC TV documentary made in 1999. Despite its age, its amazing CGI dinosaurs still look great today. This in-depth series covers a huge amount of ground, and will give your kids a solid understanding of the topic. On top of that, it’s fantastically fun and gripping to watch!
There is also a spin-off movie, released last year. Although it has amazing visuals and is aimed at kids, I’d personally recommend the TV series for overall quality and depth. However, the movie website does have some good resources for kids, including detailed dinosaur facts, videos and articles.
Finally, fancy playing with some dinosaurs on your dining table? Check out the free Walking With Dinosaurs: Photo Adventure app. You print out the target image that the app saves onto your camera roll, then place the target on a flat surface. Choose Adventure Mode in the app, then point your device’s camera at the target and watch the dinosaurs come to life! They even walk off the target and around your room. Just make sure you always keep the target in the camera’s view.
There’s also a fun Photo Booth mode that lets you pose a dinosaur on the screen, overlaid on the camera image. Great for taking snapshots of your kids playing with dinosaurs!
Tracy V. Wilson’s fantastic in-depth dinosaur article on HowStuffWorks covers pretty much the whole topic in ten information-packed pages. It’s probably hard going for younger kids, but older kids will get a lot out of this.
The article covers the theory that birds are really modern-day dinosaurs; dinosaur fossils; when dinosaurs lived; different types of dinosaur, such as sauropods and therapods; what dinosaurs looked like; whether they were cold- or warm-blooded; dinosaur eggs; dinosaur extinction; dinosaur movies and myths, and lots more.
HowStuffWorks’s Palaeontology section is also worth a look.
March of the Dinosaurs — not to be confused with Walking with Dinosaurs! — is a one-off TV movie narrated by Stephen Fry. It tells the story of Scar, a young Edmontosaurus, as his herd begins a 1,000-mile winter migration south from the Arctic. The movie introduces lots of different dinosaurs and reptiles, from pterosaurs through to Troodon, Albertosaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus.
March of the Dinosaurs is a charming movie that makes for great family viewing, with only a mild bit of the inevitable blood and guts here and there. It’s available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon.
In addition, there’s a fantastic spin-off storybook app made by the always-excellent Touch Press. In this app, you get to follow Scar on his journey south by reading an interactive book. (For younger kids, a narrator can read the passages of text.) Each page includes animations and background music to help bring the story to life.
There is also a Meet the Dinosaurs section, where you can find out more about each type of creature in the story. In typical Touch Press style, there are lots of details and interaction possibilities here. You can swipe each dinosaur model to examine it in 3D; view the animal in action within the March of the Dinosaurs movie; and read lots of detailed text on the animal.
This is a really immersive app that will keep your dinosaur-loving kid engrossed for hours!
If your child is hungry for dinosaur facts and figures then FindTheBest’s database of dinosaurs is worth a look. This great website lets you compare and contrast different dinosaurs in almost every way you can imagine. Want to find the heaviest meat-eater in the Late Cretaceous? This site has you covered!
You can also view images and detailed facts for each dinosaur — such as when and where it lived, what it ate, who discovered it, and the meaning of its name — as well as view and create graphs that compare different dinosaurs. This site is a great way for your kid to delve into dinosaur details!
The Dinosaur Train website from PBS Kids is based on the TV show of the same name. This is a good place for younger kids to get introduced to dinosaurs.
The site features lots of good games that help kids learn about how dinosaurs survived. For example, in Hungry Hungry Herbivores your kid needs to guide the triceratops to eat the food while avoiding head-on collisions with other triceratops, not to mention hungry carnivores!
Meanwhile, the Field Guide allows your kid to explore different types of dinosaur, with information on what each creature ate, how big it was, and how it behaved. The “X-ray” feature, which lets your kid check out the dinosaur’s skeleton, is lots of fun!
The site also has lots of video clips from the TV series, as well as a whole bunch of printables to keep your kid busy when their screen time is over!
Author Bob Strauss has developed a fantastic mini-site over on About.com covering almost every known dinosaur topic. Your child can learn some basic dinosaur info; find information on hundreds of different dinosaurs; find out which dinosaur would win in a battle; catch up on the latest dinosaur discoveries, and lots more.
These articles are quite text-heavy, so they’re definitely more suitable for older kids. That said, they’re packed with fascinating facts and information that are sure to appeal to any young dinosaur fan!
This trilogy of apps lets kids explore dinosaurs in the three main Mesozoic periods: the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. They all follow a similar format, and feature two cute characters: Ansel, a travel photographer from the planet Virtoos, and Clair, his robot companion.
You start by flying to a fossil dig site, where you need to dig out and clean a dinosaur fossil. You can then fly back in time to the period when the dinosaur lived.
The app shows you a vista with several dinosaurs from the period. When you tap an object in the scene, Ansel and Clair talk about it. Pretty much all the information in the app is delivered through speech, so it’s great for younger kids or children with less developed reading skills. You can also take pictures of dinosaurs for your travel log, as well as earn stickers.
For some extra fun, you can also make your own dinosaur out of different body parts, and make it jump, stomp, roar and laugh!
The Ansel and Clair Dinosaurs apps are cute and entertaining to use, and contain a surprising amount of detailed information. They’re another great way for your kid to learn about dinosaurs!
Have fun learning!
I hope these websites, apps and videos help and inspire your kid to explore the amazing world of dinosaurs. After playing with some of these tools, don’t forget to take a trip to your local dinosaur museum to see these amazing creatures up close!
Do you know of any other great dinosaur apps or sites for kids? If so I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
[Image credits: Featured image from Fantastic Dinosaurs, cropped // All other images are screenshots or covers from the respective app, website or video.]