Digging for Dinosaurs

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Digging for Dinosaurs Game Poster Image
The food chain may be natural, but can be scary for kids.

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Kids say

age 18+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Mother dinosaurs protect their young. Inquisitive paleontologists seek out truth and knowledge.

Positive Role Models & Representations

As the scientist at the center of the game, kids will be encouraged to be curious, adventurous seekers of knowledge, focused on the fun of learning.

Ease of Play

All activities can be handled very easily by kids in the target age range.

Violence & Scariness

Dinosaurs protect their eggs by either swinging their spiked tails at attacking predators or butting their horned heads into them. When this happens, a little white burst is seen and the predator vanishes. Predators who are not stopped will grab and swallow an egg. In a different minigame, players control hungry dinos and make them eat, which sometimes includes eating smaller dinosaurs and other animals. When this happens, the big dino bends over the smaller creature, which then disappears.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Digging for Dinosaurs puts children not only in the roles of fossil-digging scientists, but in the roles of the prehistoric beasts themselves. Playing as dinos, children will both defend their young with force and seek out smaller animals to eat. It's all natural dinosaur behavior (as well as natural behavior of millions of other animal species), and it's never depicted graphically, but it may be considered too violent or scary for some very young children.

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What's it about?

As a young paleontologist in DIGGING FOR DINOSAURS, you'll have to earn the skill points you need in order to go on digs and find fossils with which you can fill your currently empty musuem. Points are earned by playing visual trivia games, navigating mazes, or taking on the part of dinosaur and either defending you nest or hunting for food. Each time you hit 100 points, you go on a dig and locate some fossils. Then, each time you have enough fossils to complete a full skeleton, you engage in a dino-building puzzle and start filling your museum.

Is it any good?

For dinosaur-obsessed kids, Digging for Dinosaurs promises a load of fun and tons of prehistoric knowledge. Unlike the general knowledge passed on in many Leapster games, this one is very specific in its scope, and kids who aren't thrilled by all things Jurassic probably won't find much to get excited by here. The highlights come in the digging and building sections, which take a lot of work to get to, so children with a lack of patience might also want to steer clear.

Online interaction: Leapster 2 users can win rewards, like certificates or coloring pages, which can be downloaded from the LeapFrog.com website when the Leapster 2 unit is connected to a PC via USB cable. With an online account at LeapFrog.com, parents can also track their children's progress through this same connection.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the food chain and the circle of life. At one point in the game, you'll be trying to stop carnivores from eating your unhatched babies, but in another part, you'll be eating smaller animals yourself. How can both of these actions be okay? What truths about nature does this game reveal?

  • Also, what is it about dinosaurs that children find so fascinating? Is it their size? Their scariness? The fact that they're no longer around? Families can discuss these eternally mysterious creatures and their appeal to kids.

Game details

  • Platforms: Leapster 2, Leapster
  • Price: $24.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Scholastic
  • Release date: December 31, 1969
  • Genre: Educational
  • ESRB rating: NR
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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