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Dinosaur Toys, Games and Fun Facts
- Gaynor Humphrey
When we think of dinosaurs we tend to think first of the T Rex but did you know that actually most dinosaurs were herbivores? Kids love dinosaurs and they love dinosaur facts so here's a quick run down on the gentle giants of the dinosaur world.
If you spend any time with children there are 3 things that you can guarantee
1. They can smear tomato ketchup further than you would ever think possible
2. They only ever want to use a toilet when there are none available
3. They are absolutely fascinated with dinosaurs.
There is a reason why we do dinosaur toys and that’s because kids love dinosaurs! There is something about dinosaurs which absolutely fascinates children, whether its their sheer size, their ferocity, their extinction or the fact that they existed millions of years before humans, but most children love playing with dinosaur toys.
Although most people think of dinosaurs as ferocious, and the T Rex is definitely the best known dinosaur, in fact most dinosaurs were actually herbivores and only 35% were carnivores. But never fear, just because herbivore dinosaurs didn’t hunt it didn’t mean that the herbivore dinosaur toys are less appealing to kids as they all have unique features of their own to keep the Roooaaar in to dinosaur games. The Stegosaurus had ferocious spikes on its tail and the Triceratops had three horns attached to the front of its head to act as a shield against predators. They may not have been hunters but they were not the gentle creatures that herbivores are assumed to be.
The major difference between carnivorous and herbivore dinosaurs (apart from the obvious!) was that the carnivores like the T Rex walked on two feet. This made them faster and left their “hands” free to grab prey which is why the T Rex has its distinctive shape. Herbivores walked on all four legs, probably because of the weight of their bodies. Some could walk on 2 feet but only for a short time. The sheer size of these herbivore dinosaurs also meant that dinosaur skulls had large holes in them to make their skulls lighter, but we haven’t put holes in our dinosaur toys as we didn’t think you’d like it!
Plant-eating dinosaurs usually had eyes looking out to each side, so they could watch for danger while they grazed. When there are T Rex about you definitely needs eyes on the side of your head to keep watch.
Such huge animals needed to eat a lot of plants to keep them going, it has been estimated that they got through over a ton of food a day, that’s a bus sized heap of plants to get through every day.
Some facts about the 3 most well know herbivore dinosaurs.
- Triceratops. Weighing almost 5 tons, the 3 horns on the face were approx. 1m long and were used to defend itself against predators. The skull of the Triceratops reached almost a third of the total length of the animal. Some scientists believe that the Triceratops skin was actually covered with hair, making it a rare hairy dinosaur.
- Stegosaurus. The name means roofed lizard because the professor who found the first skeleton thought the protective plates on the dinosaur’s back looked like roof tiles! Measuring up to 9 meters long and 4 m high it also has the smallest brain for its body size of any known dinosaur. Huge body but brain the size of a walnut.
- Diplodocus. Living at the same time as the Stegosaurus the Diplodocus weighed up to 15 tons. Their necks were up to 20 ft long and their front legs were shorter than their back legs so it has been speculated that their necks were too heavy to hold upright and they grazed on shrubs rather than the tops of trees like a giraffe.
So while herbivore dinosaurs don’t get the glory of the T Rex they are every bit as fascinating and they make great dinosaur toys.
Ideas for Dinosaur Play.
If your child is fascinated by dinosaurs here are some ideas for fun games to play with dinosaur toys
1. Put your dinosaur rattles in a bag and get your child to guess which one they are holding by the size of the neck or feeling the frill of the Triceratops
2. “Which Dinosaur” A game for 2 or more children. One person thinks of a dinosaur and the other has to guess which one by asking just 3 questions, ie how many legs, are they carnivore or herbivore
3. For younger children put all the dinosaurs on a tray, remove one while the child is not looking and then ask the child to guess which one has gone.