Dinosaur Documentaries for Younger Children
Sesame Street: Dinosaurs! Genius Products. (2008)
For the much younger set (toddlers), the Sesame Street: Dinosaurs! DVD is a way to introduce your child to the world of dinosaurs. Popular kid's characters, Elmo, Telly and Abby Cadabby, explore dinosaurs in an imaginative way. The 40 minute video does provide an educational aspect covering a couple types of dinosaurs and some facts about them such as what they eat. It also talks a bit about other pre-historic creatures. However, education is not the sole aspect of this dvd and know that a lot of the content is just for entertainment value.
National Geographic: Really Wild Animals - Dinosaurs and Other Creature Features. (1995)
Re-released on DVD in 2005, this 47 minute long documentary explores both the world of dinosaurs as well as insects, bats and other "creepy crawlers". Narrated by Dudley Moore and accompanied by rock music and interviews, it uses humor to take away from some of the "scary" dinosaurs and creatures. This film uses provides us with lots of scientific information, however, the oldness of the film makes the animation outdated-which adults and some children might find "corny." This also does not provide any newer dinosaur research, but is still a good introductory documentary.
Dinosaur Documentaries for Older Children
National Geographic Kids: I Love Dinosaurs
The movie's title and description seem to advertise to younger children, however, this documentary's focus is on paleontology and dinosaur digs, which may be less appealing to young kids. Older children however, can learn lots about what paleontology is and what a "dig" is like. It follows paleontologist, Paul Sereno, as he uncovers a T-Rex and all the work that it involves. This is recommended for the older child who has a science and/or paleontology interest-it may be a bit boring for those just interested in seeing "real" dinosaurs.
Prehistoric Planet: The Complete Dino Dynasty. BBC. (2003)
Narrated by the well-liked Ben Stiller, this dinosaur documentary appeals to all ages. It's an adapted version from the BBC Walking With... series. It provides both information and action using CGI dinosaurs. One fun special feature included with this DVD is a 3-D gallery in which kids can put on 3-D glasses (included with DVD) to view pictures of dinos in 3D! However, if you already have seen or own the Walking with... series, this documentary will be very redundant because it uses footage from the original series.
Dinosaur Documentaries That Appeals to All Ages
Walking With Dinosaurs. BBC. (2002)
A widely popular BBC documentary series on dinosaurs and prehistoric times, Walking with Dinosaurs is an informative dinosaur DVD for both children and adults. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, this takes on a nature documentary style by observing computer animated dinosaurs in their "natural" habitat. This appeals to anyone with a dinosaur interest. However, some feel that the scenes in this documentary can be a bit graphic-the film contains violent dinosaur fights, dinosaurs eating each other and dinosaurs dying, so some feel it may not be appropriate for younger children. Please know that this DVD also comes in the combo pack-"The Complete Walking with... Collection" for the extreme dinosaur fans.
Other dinosaur documentaries that may appeal to kids are "All About Dinosaurs" (2008), BBC's "Before the Dinosaurs: Walking with Monsters" (2006) and Discovery Channel's "Dinosaur Planet. Real. Big. Stories." (2004)