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Dinosaur Movies for Kids

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Dinosaurs may be extinct, but our fascination with the prehistoric beasts will keep the knowledge of them alive forever. Kids are especially in awe of, and sometimes obsessed with, dinosaurs and what it must have been like when they roamed the earth. Here are some fun kids/family movies about dinosaurs listed in order of their scare factor (movies for young children are listed first):

1. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Photo © 20th Century Fox
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs continues the story of the Ice Age gang. But this time, the prehistoric pals find a mysterious underground world inhabited by dinosaurs! The movie contains some perilous scenes involving ferocious dinos that might be frightening to young children, so this is one to preview first if you have any concerns. Most of the scary scenes are soon relieved by comical scenes. (Rated PG for some mild rude humor and peril. Ages 5+ depending on tolerance for scary dinos.)

2. Dinosaur Train: Dinosaur Big City

Dinosaur Train: Dinosaur Big City
Photo © PBS
Dinosaur Big City contains a four-part adventure as well as additional episodes of the PBS Kids series Dinosaur Train. Capitalizing on two things kids love: trains and dinosaurs, the animated series seeks to entertain kids while encouraging a fascination for natural history and life science. In the title episode, Buddy and his friends and family embark on an exciting adventure to the Theropod Club Convention held in the big city of Laramidia. Several DVDs containing episodes of the series are available, but this one contains the actual 4-part movie. (ages 3-6)
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3. Wonder Pets: Save the Dinosaur! (2008)

Wonder Pets: Save the Dinosaur!
Photo © Paramount/Nick Jr.
On this DVD, the featured episode "Save the Dinosaur!" is short and sweet, but follows the benevolent pets as the travel to prehistoric times to rescue a dinosaur stuck between a rock and a hard place. The program for preschoolers teaches kids about animals, places, and problem solving skills; most important of all, though, is the lesson that "What's gonna work? -- team work!" The DVD includes three additional episodes of the Wonder Pets. (Rated TV-Y, recommended for ages 2-5 years)
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4. Go, Diego Go!: The Great Dinosaur Rescue (2008)

Diego Dinosaur Rescue
Photo © Nick Jr./Paramount Home Entertainment
Jump back in time to the age of the dinosaurs with Diego and his friends. In "The Great Dinosaur Rescue," kids will learn about different dinosaurs, problem solving, and Spanish words. The double length feature if perfect for the fan who loves Diego and dinosaurs. (Rated TV-Y, recommended for ages 2-5)
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5. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? (Scholastic DVD)

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night
Photo © Scholastic DVD
Based on the hugely popular and fabulous book by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? follows the story exactly using animation that looks just like the book's illustrations. Kids will laugh and learn as they watch the things that dinos might, or might not, do when being put to bed. The DVD features additional scholastic stories, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? is also available in some of the Scholastic DVD box sets. (NR, ages 2+)

6. The Land Before Time (1988)

Land Before Time
Photo © Universal Studios
This classic animated dino movie won the hearts of many and led to a plethora of sequels (some good, some not so good). The movie tells the story of a group of adorable dinos who embark on a journey to The Great Valley and have many adventures along the way. The memorable song "If We Hold on Together," performed by Diana Ross, is featured in this movie. (Rated G, recommended for ages 3 an up)
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7. Drawing Power! with Michael Moodoo: Ultimate Dinosaur Drawing

Drawing Dinosaurs
Photo © Moodoo Productions
In Drawing Power: Ultimate Dinosaur Drawing, Micheal Moodoo instructs children step by step on how to draw several different kinds of dinosaurs. The pace is set so that kids can draw right along with Michael, as he demonstrates each component of dinosaur drawing right down to the finishing details. In addition to drawing instruction, Michael throws in fun facts about dinosaurs throughout the DVD. (NR, recommended for ages 5+)

8. Dinosaur (2000)

Dinosaur
Photo © Disney.
Filmed using cutting edge 3D animation for its time, the Disney movie Dinosaur tells the story of Aladar, an iguanodon who was raised by lemurs. When a meteor shower devastates their island home, Aladar and his family join a group of dinos searching for an oasis in the desert. Young children may be scared by the mean an rough leader of the group, or the carnivorous pair of carnotaurs who follow the group hoping to make one of them the next meal. (Rated PG for intense images, recommended for kids 7 and up)
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9. Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008)

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Photo © Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Scientist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) travels with his nephew and their beautiful mountain guide, Hannah, to an unknown land in the center of the earth. The land is inhabited by dinosaurs, along with other scary creatures and plant life. There are only a couple of scenes with dinos, but the family adventure is fun for adults and older kids. (Rated PG for intense adventure action and some scary moments, recommended for ages 8+)
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