My daughter’s dinosaur phase lasted about 10 years. At age 4, she dressed up as a paleontologist for Halloween. Imagine a 4-year-old in a pith helmet knocking on your door.
Children are often curious about when dinosaurs lived, what happened to them, and whether they were on Noah’s ark. But many parents struggle to answer these questions. Christian parents contact RTB regularly looking for resources—books or videos—to teach their children about dinosaurs from a Christian perspective.
Unfortunately, most Christian books on dinosaurs are written from a young-earth perspective and promote scientifically untenable ideas. These two guidelines can empower educators to more effectively use the wide variety of resources available.
1. Encourage your child’s curiosity about God’s world.
Modern science was birthed largely because people were curious about exploring and learning as much as they could about the Creator’s world. Public libraries offer a treasure trove of information—all just waiting to be explored by your child. My daughter used to check out two or three books on dinosaurs each week. It seemed like there was a never-ending supply of options.
The advice I offer parents is to give their children some freedom in selecting topics that interest them. This autonomy is more likely to help them stay engaged over the long-term than if parents try to coax them along. And using mainstream books and videos will provide students access to the great body of knowledge from scientific research.
2. Don’t stress about evolution.
Many parents are concerned about the evolutionary content in secular books. In my experience, however, young children don’t possess the developmental ability to grasp the complexities surrounding the creation-evolution debate. I found that I was far more stressed about evolution than my kids were. To them, it was just another word in a book. It’s appropriate to begin addressing the evolution controversy in middle school, when kids generally are developmentally ready to start philosophical issues. Until then, it’s best to focus attention on fostering the child’s curiosity.
Even though the resources in a library or on television are written from a naturalistic point of view, the overwhelming majority of scientific data in them is correct. As you read or watch science-related material with your kids, engage them in a discussion about God’s creation.
Look at that dinosaur! It’s so unusual looking. Isn’t God imaginative?
What does this dinosaur eat? God designed its teeth to eat that.
The most important resource in any discussion with children about dinosaurs is you. No book or video can substitute for the ongoing discussions that can take place between parents and their children. For this reason, it’s absolutely vital that Christian parents equip themselves to be conversant on a range of science-faith issues, including dinosaurs, so they’ll be ready to give their children a response for the reason that’s within them.
For more on this topic, listen to Krista’s four-part podcast with her daughter Emily: “Dinosaurs and Kids.”