It started out slowly with an accidental viewing of Jurassic Park, of which he was both fascinated and terrified, and then became a full fledged obsession watching Dinosaur Train in the mornings and anything else that had dinosaurs in it. We've had fun learning about all the different species beyond the typical T-Rex and Tricertops we knew of as kids. In fact our minds were a little blown away when we realized we'd been identifying several dinosaurs incorrectly (thanks PBS Kids for letting us know). And now, we are completely immersed in the dinosaur world and generally have one within arms reach at all times. It's not at all surprising to reach into my purse looking for gum and come out with a Velociraptor. This is just my life now.
So, in an unexpected parenting move, I let him watch the rest of the Jurassic Park movies. While he was quite terrified at some parts for some time, he also learned there was nothing "real" to be afraid of, that it was just a movie and the parts he didn't like, he didn't have to watch. He could simply leave the room, hide or cover his eyes. Once he realized he had control over that feeling, he began to make more commentary about the actions of the dinosaurs. At one point in the first movie he's been known to exclaim "Rexy SAVED them" because all he sees is the big dinosaur besting a smaller one while the people were able to escape. The fact that the T-Rex is a ferocious predator is slightly lost on him.
We got a lot of quizzical looks and raised eyebrows whenever we mention he's seen the Jurassic movies and to be fair, I get it. He's not even 4 yet, but since he is dino obsessed and I am a HUGE fan of the films (I've been known to do weekend movie marathons) I just thought it would be a fun way to spend time as a family. And, oddly because he's been watching the movies, now Sweet Pea has finally seen them all as well. It was only a few short years ago that she would run from the room if the even heard the bone chilling Tyrannosaurus roar, but since her baby brother has seen them, it gave her a boost to think she can too. We all have fun talking back to the screen and still shaking our heads at some of the characters actions. When we saw the trailer for the latest installment 'Jurassic World' I turned to my husband, eyes wide with excitement, and nodded my head like "ohhhh yeah...it's going down." His first thought was to take the three year old who has a history of not being a fan of the movie theater. Mine was not. While I do think he maybe wants to see it (he enjoys the commercials) I think it's a probably a bit too much coming at him and too loud on the big screen just yet.
Luckily for us our friends at Universal Pictures understood our struggle and were kind enough to send over some fun items for us to create our own Jurassic experience. A backpack and hat to make the boy feel like a 'real explorer' AND a Jurassic inspired LEGO set. Baby Ninja is going to pee on himself when he sees it all as he already has a 'kit' he needs when watching the movies (a flashlight, Rexy and friends, and his 'noculars) so this is just right on time for him and I couldn't be more grateful to them for helping to encourage his imaginative play.
I get a kick out of watching him hunt for dinosaurs and spy their 'eggs' everywhere we go. It's a big difference from the pony, doll and glitter filled life we experienced with Sweet Pea.
This just further fuels my desire to take him to the Natural History Museum so he can see the fossils live and in person as well as the La Brea Tar Pits to further explore the dinosaurs extinction. See how I squeezed in some educational elements with the fun? That's what summer is all about right? I know if I told them we were going to the museum just to be going , there would be groans and sighs but coupled with a viewing of one of the movies I think (hope) it's only going to spark more excited conversations about the history of the world and the evolution of life on this planet. And as cheesey as it sounds, I love those moments. Where something fun becomes something teachable and they don't even know it! It's like sneaking beets into brownies, they like it and and never even know there's something good for them in there! Mom win!
Do you have plans to go see the movie? Did you see it already? If so, tell me what you thought!