Dino Dan TV Poster Image

Dino Dan

(i)

 

Young paleontologist teaches kids about Jurassic giants.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Educational value

The series exposes kids to different dinosaur species, examining their lifestyles, eating habits, and defense mechanisms. The show’s use of CGI allows kids to see the dinosaurs in action as hunters and protectors of their young. Each episode also introduces unfamiliar words like “herbivore” and “paleontologist” and includes their definitions so kids can expand their vocabularies.

Positive messages

The show celebrates kids’ natural curiosity and impetus to learn by observing the world around them. Each story relates a classroom topic to a new question Dan has raised about how dinosaurs lived.

Positive role models

Teachers and kids alike encourage Dan’s interest in dinosaurs, and they allow him the freedom to make connections between class work and his paleontological knowledge.

Violence & scariness

Some fighting among the dinosaurs to replicate real-life coexistence, but no injuries or death.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series is a surefire hit for kids with a passion for dinosaurs, since its CGI subjects come to life right in front of their eyes. The twist that puts the great beasts in modern time rather than in their own time period gives the show an even more exaggerated feeling of innocence, and the lack of violence -- beyond the occasional head butt or tail slap -- makes it totally kid-friendly. In addition to exposing kids to a variety of dinosaur species, the show also includes science-based vocabulary words and their definitions.

What's the story?

DINO DAN centers on young Dan Henderson (Jason Spevack), an aspiring paleontologist who discovers that learning how dinosaurs lived is as easy as looking out at his own backyard. Unbeknownst to everyone else, Dan can see dinosaurs roaming the streets, parks, and school grounds amid the unsuspecting people, and by watching them interact, he learns a lot about how they lived so many years ago.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

CGI brings to colorful life these replicas of the Jurassic giants, and kids will delight in the chance to see what scientists believed them to look like during their heyday. Their physical appearance, size, and demeanor hold clues for kids to the way they lived, ate, and protected their young. In addition, each new story introduces kids to and defines science-based vocabulary words like “herbivore” in an attempt to increase their vocabulary.

Older kids will find the show a little cheesy and overacted, but younger kids who don’t know the difference will enjoy the chance to see these dinosaurs in action. The best news is that compared to other CGI dino tales marketed for kids, this one is completely harmless, since the dinosaurs’ interactions are brief and virtually violence-free.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about science. What aspects of science are your favorites? How does studying science help us understand the world around us? Why is it important to learn about extinct species like dinosaurs?

  • Kids: What are your favorite hobbies or interests? What books or other rescources help you learn more about these interests? How do they relate to your home or school life? Do your friends share your interests?

  • What kinds of fossils have been found where you live? What do they tell us about the creatures and people who lived here before us? Where can you go to see some of these items?

TV details

Premiere date:May 11, 2009
Cast:Jason Spevack
Network:Nick Jr.
Genre:Educational
Topics:Dinosaurs, Science and nature
TV rating:TV-Y
Available on:DVD
Award:Emmy

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Quality

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What parents and kids say

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Educator and Parent Written bydebn6 May 11, 2013

Concerns about the message this show gives children

As a parent and clinical psychologist I really struggle with this show. The creators missed the mark. Dan has many of the hallmarks of a pervasive developmental disorder, which is absolutely fine if the message the creators wanted to give was a show about how he is able to improve his social skills and live in his world of dinosaurs and effectively interact with others as well. Sadly, this is not the show that was created. In this show there is no mention of Dan's obvious struggles. Instead, he focuses with an extreme obsession on his singular topic of interest- dinos. He exhibits a complete lack of social skills, turning every conversation, including classroom lessons, back to his worldview about dinosaurs and cannot engage with anyone about anything else. Further, he exhibits such rigid thinking about this topic that he cannot accept others opinions either. The adults in his world perpetually seem a little annoyed by him, from his mother to his classroom teachers who try in vain to get him to think about life outside of dinosaurs. Due to his lack of social awareness he is oblivious to their frustrations. (I won't even start in on the issue of his father who is perpetually absent on his paleontology work and the relationship between that and Dan's obsession.) In summary, I think the show either needs to go further and acknowledge Dan's struggles as an opportunity to educate about kids who live with pervasive developmental disorders. If the show moved in this direction it could be a teaching tool and an important resource as well as a positive role model for children. However, as the show currently stands it should go off the air completely.
Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written byJohnandstephensmom November 17, 2010

Great dinosaur show for younger kids!!

I love it!! My son has started using the scientific method to solve "problems", thanks to this show, and he is only in preschool. He looks at pictures of different animals teeth to help him determine what they eat, can correctly pronounce the names of several dinosaurs, and has a greater curiousity, not only in dinosaurs, but animals in general.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bygamera December 3, 2011

Great kids show - don't let other reviews scare you - they're nuts!

Wow - what is wrong with some of these parents? The show is about the fun of IMAGINATION! Not schizophrenia. And yeah, there are child actors involved and they'e a mixed bag. But this show is for little kids who are interested in dinosaurs, which is a great way to interest your kids in science and (pre)history. Personally, I always enjoy watching the show with my 3 year old who knows more dinosaur names than I ever knew (now I know more thanks to my kid) and loves visiting our local museum. I am consistently impressed by the visual effects, especially Dan's interactions with the dinos. It's not ILM, but for a low budget show, it's better than expected.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages