There are many reasons why children enjoy dinosaurs. In the fictional realm, these creatures are presented as colorful and full of vibrancy. Parents usually get on board with the obsession because dinosaurs are both a part of science and a part of history and they find the hobby educational.
For these reasons and more, there many types of child-targeted merchandise like dinosaur baby costumes and dinosaur pet toys, and the film industry has also produced several cartoon movies featuring dinosaurs. Which films are the best? You decide. Here are ten of the best dinosaur movies that are sure to delight your young ones:
1. “The Good Dinosaur” (2015)
In a sweet “what if?” type of scenario, an alternate history is created when the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs misses the planet and not only do they survive, but they are forced to co-exist with humans. They inevitably make friends and have playful adventures throughout the beautiful forests.
This colorful Pixar film is sure to appeal to children and adults alike. While it is not regarded as a Pixar classic, it is still certainly entertaining and fun to watch.
2. “Dinosaur” (2000)
This is actually the first movie from Disney that combined computer animation with live-action backgrounds, and while it was groundbreaking in its time, it is now a mostly overlooked film among the majority of the studio’s offerings. While some critics have stated that it is a high-budget ripoff of The Land Before Time, it is a bit more polished story-wise than the earlier film, and modern-day dinosaur connoisseurs will be enthralled by the early, but still awesome, CGI effects.
3. “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” (2009)
This is the third movie in the Ice Age series and it features the troublesome Sid the Sloth stealing T-rex eggs and, boy, does their mama get mad. After the understandably upset mother kidnaps him, it’s up to Diego, the saber-toothed tiger, and Manny, the wooly mammoth, among other faces recognizable to fans familiar with the franchise, to rescue him. This movie is full of excitement and adventure, though it is not necessarily historically accurate since dinosaurs didn’t live through the Ice Age. The coolest thing about it is probably the slipped in, more mature jokes and pop culture references provided to entertain parents along with their children.
4. “Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone” (2005)
This is another tale based on the dinosaurs and humans co-existing, but this time the protagonist is a young boy that was shipwrecked on an island where each species has lived together peacefully for some time. This sleeper hit stars the voice talents of Kathy Griffin, Wayne Knight, and Alyssa Milano, among others, and it is certainly vivid, colorful, and entertaining.
5. “The Land Before Time” (1988)
This movie, which delighted many a Millennial in the late 80s is a hidden, often-forgotten gem that parents should delight in sharing with their children. The film follows the adventures of Littlefoot and his friends Spike, Cera, Petrie, and Ducky as they struggle along on an epic journey to reunite with their respective families.
It can get a little traumatic in spots, exploring prejudice in a creative way, and the tragedy of the death of a parent, but director Don Bluth, of “An American Tail” fame, created spunky characters against a beautiful, colorful backdrop that is sure to attract your young ones. With 13 successful direct-to-video sequels, your kids can also continue the adventure after this movie ends.
6. “How Dinosaurs Learned to Fly” (1995)
This fanciful tale follows a group of dinosaur buddies that simply enjoy jumping off cliffs, however, they are not so fond of the brutal landings. Then, one day, one of the pals began to flap his arms and he began to actually fly! This movie is an innocent way to teach young children that they can accomplish anything if they only believe in themselves. Just make sure they know enough not to plunge off cliffs!
7. “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story” (1992)
Featuring the voice talents of John Goodman, Jay Leno, Walter Cronkite, and Julia Child, among others, this Steven Spielberg-directed movie is about a scientist that is able to travel through time to the age of the dinosaurs. While in prehistoric times, he feeds a magic cereal to the dinosaurs he encounters and the concoction increases their intelligence. The crazy scientist invented the formula so dinosaurs will be able to time travel to present-day New York City and play with modern children.
This film, based on a children’s book, is a cute nod to the original story and kids are sure to love it!
8. “Stanley and the Dinosaurs” (1990)
Follow Stanley, an imaginative child who has vivid dreams of the stone age, which are encouraged by a trip to a local museum. The boy imagines an alternative prehistoric world where caveman and dinosaurs co-habitate and enjoy each other’s company, like many of the other tales on this list. However, since Stanley is averse to violence, he finds it difficult to exist in such a place. He then teaches the others that brutality is not the way to solve problems. As written, this movie is a great tool to help teach your toddler how cooperate with others.
9. “Dinosaur Train: Dinosaur Big City” (2011)
“Dinosaur Train” is not one film, but a series of films produced by the Jim Henson Company, and “Dinosaur Big City” is the perfect film to start with. The movies follow the lives of an adopted T-Rex and his family, composed of pteranodons, as they board a train and meet different dinosaur species in each installment. The show is quite educational, teaching dinosaur-obsessed children about different types of dinosaurs and what they looked like and how they acted.
10. “I Yabba-Dabba Do!” (1993)
How can you make a list of kid-friendly dinosaur movies without at least one full-length “Flintstones” movie on the list? This cute movie presents us with an all-grown-up Pebbles and Bam-bam who have fell madly in love and are planning to get hitched. As the father of the blushing bide, Fred plans to go all out, until he loses his job! With themes familiar to both children and adults, this is a feature you and kids can enjoy together.
In conclusion, there is nothing that brings out the twinkle in a child’s eye like dinosaurs. Whether they are playing with dinosaur pet toys, pretending to be the wild creatures or dressing in dinosaur kid’s costumes or even dinosaur baby costumes, they find the prehistoric creatures downright fascinating. Watching dinosaur movies together is a great way for parents to share in their enthusiasm!