If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you might be confused, perplexed, wondering why my feed has been cluttered with so many dinosaur related posts all through November. ‘Why on Earth have you been playing with dinosaurs,’ you may be asking.
— Three Time Daddy (@threetimedaddy) November 5, 2017
Well, it is November, so that can only mean one thing: Dinovember!
What is Dinovember?
I first heard of Dinovember back in 2013 and loved it immediately. Every year a two parents Refe and Susan Tuma spend the whole of November trying to convince their children that while they sleep their plastic dinosaur figures come to life. They didn’t want their kids to lose their sense of wonder in a world where all the world’s mysteries can be debunked with a quick web search. Their shenanigans can be found here.
It was one of those ideas that I couldn’t believe hadn’t been done before, but it wasn’t until a year later that we joined in. Once NJ (five at the time) had gone to bed we would move his dinosaurs into a variety of silly scenes – playing instruments, making a mess in the kitchen or playing with board games. In the morning, waiting for him to go downstairs and see what his toys had been up to, and then have him excitedly tell us, made it all worth it.
A year later we took part again, but we were unfortunately rumbled. NJ worked out that it was just his parents moving the dinosaurs around. After that, it didn’t feel as much fun.
Now that Roo has grown up and it has given us the perfect opportunity to join in again (with NJ joining in too). She is only four and hasn’t quite worked out how they do what they do – she currently thinks the dog lets them out of their box and helps them. Until the day she works it out, here are four reasons why we love Dinovember.
1. Dinosaurs are awesome
Seriously, who doesn’t like dinosaurs? There is something fascinating about how no one has ever seen a real-life one yet everyone has a preconceived idea of what they look like, how they act and what they ate, with all of this ultimately coming from fossils that are at least 65 million years old. Kids may love dragons and unicorns and other mythical creatures, but dinosaurs really did walk the earth.
‘Coffee! COFFEEEEE!!! Just pour it down my throat!!!’
— Three Time Daddy (@threetimedaddy) November 3, 2017
2. It creates a bit of mystery
Any parent of kids capable of getting giddy will know the feeling – on Christmas morning their child legs it downstairs to see what Father Christmas has left them. If you look closely, the same look of wonder and excitement is there with Dinovember. Presents are swapped with mess and the Christmas tree is swapped with pesky toy dinosaurs, but you get what I mean. I think this is also partly the reason Toy Story is so popular – we love the idea of our toys having other lives when we’re not around.
NJ is now eight – he knows the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are just his parents fulfilling their parental obligations. He still believes in Father Christmas (at the time of writing) but I suspect deep down he is just playing along. As the Dinovember creators say themselves – it is great to keep a bit of magic going.
As they played dinosaur Top Trumps, Stegosaurus choked back a tear.
— Three Time Daddy (@threetimedaddy) November 9, 2017
3. It invigorates interest in otherwise ignored toys.
I hate to think how much money was spent on dinosaurs when NJ was younger. Now they don’t get much of a look in – his word is all about football, Match Attax, Lego and Minecraft. Even Roo doesn’t play with them much – she seems to prefer drawing. It is a sad truth that the toys they used to love just end up in a box so it is great to give them new lease of life for a whole month.
This year NJ has been keen to get involved and being the first one downstairs every morning has meant he can set his own scenes. Like this one:
Inexplicably forgot to do #dinovember last night. Came downstairs to find 8yo bailed me out – his little sister none the wiser. They even like BBC 6 music. #Dinovember day 15 is back on! pic.twitter.com/SGkicMPbxZ
— Three Time Daddy (@threetimedaddy) November 15, 2017
4. We get to play with dinosaurs after kids have gone to bed
When I was younger, I was a lot more creative. I never saw myself in a 9-5 office job typing away at a keyboard but here I am, ironically typing away at a keyboard. Having kids has given me an opportunity to keep my creative side alive, whether it is making up bedtime stories, helping build enormous hot wheels tracks, or helping out with LEGO. When setting up dinosaurs in a variety of scenes I always try to tell a story. I’m probably over-thinking it and should just let them make an almighty mess in the bathroom, but I hope my approach helps to feed our kids’ imaginations.
Overall, I can’t describe just how much our house has enjoyed Dinovember over the years and for that I will be forever indebted to the Tumas family, and the genius idea that they have shared with the world. It may be nearly the end of November, but it’s not too late to join in.
— Three Time Daddy (@threetimedaddy) November 17, 2017