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Dinosaur Train - Review for Parents

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Dinosaur Train
Photo © PBS KIDS
TV Rating: TV-Y
Genre: Children's educational
Guide age recommendation: 2-5
Episode length: Half hour (2 stories)
Network: PBS KIDS

Dinosaur Train - Overview

This animated TV series takes preschoolers on prehistoric adventures full of scientific fun with Buddy, a preschool-aged Tyrannosaurus Rex. Buddy was adopted as an egg by Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon, and he hatched along side his new brothers and sisters: Tiny, Shiny and Don. Together, this energetic family of dinos ride the time traveling Dinosaur Train to meet all kinds of dinosaurs in different eras. Through Buddy and his adventures, kids learn about natural science, natural history and paleontology.

Each episode of Dinosaur Train includes two 11-minute animated stories along with brief live action segments hosted by renowned paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson. The learning continues with an excellent online destination for kids featuring games, videos and more.

Dinosaur Train - Guide Review for Parents

Dinosaurs and trains: what kid wouldn't like that combination? Add to that a good dose of humor, music and the fact that the main characters are kid dinos, and you've got the perfect recipe for prehistoric fun. Parents can also feel great about Dinosaur Train, because the show introduces kids to natural science and natural history. As they watch their dino friends explore their prehistoric world with great interest, viewing kids will also become excited about things you don't expect preschoolers to get excited about--everything from dinosaur names and time periods like the Cretaceous period to things like weather and plant life cycles. I'm not ashamed to admit that even I've learned a thing or two from the series.

Like the subject matter, the animation in this series is a bit primitive. While the animation may not stack up to Pixar, kids will still enjoy the colorful characters and fascinating prehistoric settings. The show also makes up for the slight lack in presentation with content and character. This is one of those shows that effectively teaches kids valuable knowledge and love for learning and exploration, without letting on that there's anything educational about it. The stories are so fun and engaging, and the curriculum naturally works into the plot.

The learning continues online with an excellent Dinosaur Train website where kids can play games and watch videos, find out the latest dinosaur news, check out all kinds of dinos in the field guide, and more. The site is easy to navigate and safe for kids to explore.

*Kids who enjoy Dinosaur Train may also like these science-based shows for preschoolers: Sid the Science Kid, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, Curious George
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