Dinosaur lover's gift guide

by - Tuesday, July 07, 2020

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, meaning that if you buy anything by clicking on the links in my post I'll get a few pennies in commission ;)


Anyone else has a dino maniac? Adam has been obsessed with dinosaurs for so long now, that I don't even remember when it started any more! The dinosaur phase has been mad, and although he's still asked for a dinosaur for his birthday, with all the other stuff that interests him I have a feeling that it might slowly start to fade away. That's why we've thrown a small dinosaur themed birthday party for him, because it's potentially the last time he'd want one and I would feel bad for the rest of my life that he had never had it 😂

Anyway, if you also have a young dinosaur lover at home, I've compiled a list of gift, party and experience ideas for one - most of them we have actually bought or have done at some point with ours!






1. DINOSAUR TOYS

Well, obviously - the very basic! Every young dinosaur lover needs some to star with, right?

Our top dinosaur toys choices include:
  • Basic dinosaur figures. Get single pieces of the child's favourite ones, or go for the full set. There's loads available in The Works, B&M, eBay, Amazon and all the toy stores. I can't actually believe how many different ones there are, and most importantly that if Adam gives me any dinosaur name I can actually always find a figure of one!


   

  • Moving, walking, talking, roaring, etc. dinosaurs. Word of advice - do get it for your kid if you want, but if you value your friends then don't gift those to others ;)
  • Fossil excavation kits - it's usually a clay egg that comes with a set of excavation tools, and hidden inside is a little dinosaur fossil to uncover. Adam's been through a few of those - they can usually be found in pound shops or B&M and the likes, so a cheap little gift, but it does take a bit of time to complete the excavation and the child will feel like a real archaeologist.



  • Dinosaur 3D puzzles - these become more of a decoration once assembled. We have two of these models, and woe to those who would even think of playing with them after all the effort that went into putting them together! I'd probably recommend that for more "established" dinosaur fans ;)


  • Dinosaurs for the youngest - that includes the cuddly toys, and variety of baby and toddler friendly dinosaur toys: see below for examples.






2. DINOSAUR BOOKS

We have a fair few. Well, quite a lot actually. Although when I had a look through them before writing this, I've realised that majority are gifts from my parents, hence they are in Polish. Mostly translated though, so I went through our favourites and tried to find the English originals for you.


  • First Dinosaur Encyclopedia


  • Spot 50 - Dinosaurs - this one is a part of Spot 50 series of books. It's a little guide to, as per title, 50 dinosaur species. Each of them is accompanied by an illustration, labels, and key information.

  • The Dinosaurs Compact Knowledge series, from Lidl. Now, that's more tricky to get, because we all know the score with Lidl specials. We were gifted a Polish version by my parents, but I have seen this in Lidl in England some time ago and it might appear again some time. Or you might be able to find a second-hand one?
  • Dinosaurs by Pascale Hédelin - unfortunately I've struggled to find this one in English, but it's a super informative book with a bit of humour - my Polish readers might appreciate this one.
  • Harry and the Dinosaurs series. This one is not strictly informative about the dinosaurs, but they do feature as companions of the main character's little adventures. The series is about a 5-year-old boy named Harry, who has a bucket full of toy dinosaurs. Although they appear to be just toys to others, Harry talks to them and they have various experiences together. 



  • Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson. Again, not the book of facts, but it's a fun rhymed story of a duckbill dinosaur who accidentally grows up with the T-Rex family.
  • How do Dinosaurs...? series by Jane Yolen. Yet another set of stories rather than factual books. They are aimed at the youngest readers and building reading skills. Here the dinosaurs are our main characters, who teach the children some basic life skills - they start of by acting silly, but then show the children how they should act in presented situations (for example at school, dinner, tidying up).


3. VARIOUS DINO-THEMED BITS

If you're not after yet another toy or books, there are plenty of other ideas for you to get for the dinosaur fan in your life:


  • Dinosaur night light - For Adam's recent birthday we got one of those 3D effect lights. The dinosaur outline is printed on a flat piece of glass, but when turned on it does look a little like a 3D dinosaur model. I was sceptical when I first opened the box during the day, but when it's dark the effect is actually pretty cool. The one we have is like the one I linked in the picture below, but a different dinosaur (they come in variety of styles)


  • Dinosaur clothes - which little paleontologist won't appreciate a dinosaur t-shirt or a jumper? We've probably been through every single type of clothing that had dinosaurs on - from hats and jackets, through t-shirts and shorts, to shoes and even underwear. Oh, and don't forget the accessories, like backpacks.
  • Dinosaur bedding - when you're a fan of something, you probably want your room decor to reflect that (well, at least when you're a kid!). Pretty much every shop with a homeware section has some on offer - I've seen them in Matalan, Asda, Dunelm, B&M, eBay... If you can buy bedding there, chances are you'll find one with dinosaur pattern.
  • Other room decor - wall prints, toy baskets, curtains, rugs
  • Dinosaur mug
And really anything else you can think of! If you get an idea of an item your recipient might want, any item, chances are there's a dinosaur one available somewhere ;)



4. DINOSAUR DAY OUT

If you prefer to go out and enjoy an experience, rather than buying physical gifts - did you know that there are quite a few places in the UK to have a dinosaur-themed day out? We've only ever managed the first two off the list below, but I'm including others I've found and would love to do!

*At the time of writing this post, there are certain social distancing measures in place, and some of the attractions below might be closed. Please make sure to check all the details with the place of your interest*


  • Natural History Museum, London - The whole of the museum is just an amazing day out for the kids, but you can also just go specifically for the dinosaurs which are probably the most popular gallery. There you can find part of the first ever skeleton of a T-Rex discovered, skull of Triceratops, the most complete skeleton of Stegosaurus in the world, and a whole gallery of other prehistoric fossils. The museum also offers a tonne of activities on their website.
  • Gulliver's Dinosaur & Farm Park, Milton Keynes - We visited this one on Adam's 4th birthday. You will wander around the park filled with more than 30 different kinds of animatronic dinosaurs roaring and moving around. There are also dinosaur rides (sadly this was unavailable when we visited), observation tower, river cruise and the reptile and bug centre. Once you're done with the dinosaurs, you can move on to the farm, meet some animals and hop on the tractor ride. They also have a new addition of giant animatronic insects.
  • Dinosaur Isle, Isle of Wight - According to the National History Museum, it's the "Dinosaur Capital of Britain" with over 1,000 fossils on display at the Dinosaur Isle museum.
  • ROARR! Dinosaur Adventure, Norwich - It's woodland trail where you can meet a herd of life-sized dinosaurs, plus a chance to play paleontologist digging out fossils and bones.
  • Dan-yr-Ogof, National Showcaves Centre for Wales -  Home to over 220 life-sized dinosaur models, it's one of the largest dinosaur parks in the world. 



5. DINOSAUR MOVIE NIGHT

To finish off the dinosaur themed party, or if you're just planning a quiet day in, how about a movie?

  • Jurassic Park franchise - That probably goes without saying! We weren't sure if it was suitable for Adam, but gave it a go with an option to turn it off if it got too much for him. He was probably 5? when he went through all of the movies, and absolutely loved them! That will obviously vary from child to child, so next on the list are some 100% child-friendly animations.
  • Dinosaur (2000) - This animated feature by Disney follows the story of Aladar, young Iguanodon who was raised by a family of lemurs. After surviving the meteor shower, they set out on a journey for the new home, and befriend a herd of dinosaurs along the way. 
  • The Good Dinosaur (2015) - A Disney/Pixar production, set in an alternate history, in which the meteor that was supposed to cause the dinosaurs' extinction misses the Earth. It tells a story of a young Apatosaurus, Arlo, who lives with his family running a corn farm. They keep their crops in a silo that gets rummaged by a caveboy, and Arlo's mission to catch the thief causes him a whole load of trouble. They become unlikely friends, and travel together through the dangerous landscape to be reunited with their families.
  • The Land Before Time - This one is a franchise of 14 animated adventure films. The first one was released in 1988, but still makes a great watch for the kids (we got couple of them from my parents on DVDs).The films follow the adventures of a group of young dinosaur friends, who learn valuable lessons about life and friendship along the way.


Whether you're new to the dinosaur phase with your child, been through it and ran out of ideas, or just need a one-off inspiration - hope this list helps a little! If you use any of the ideas from my post, I would love it if you could let me know in the comments 😊

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