Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Dinosaur Train

Dinosaur Train

Spring 2015 Television
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Rating: TV Y

Dinosaur Train is a half-hour animated series developed by The Jim Henson Company and airing on PBS Kids. It's aimed at kids ages 4 - 7 and each program begins with a lengthy theme song explaining how a dino-mom adopts a dino-baby of a different species. She then takes all of her kids for a ride on the Dinosaur Train to meet many kinds of dinosaurs - a device that allows for the introduction of facts about prehistoric animals.

In a series of special episodes titled Dinosaur Train: Adventure Camp, each story follows a group of dino-kids called Nature Trackers as they take exciting field trips to locales like rivers, forests, canyons, and mountain ranges. They're led by the train's conductor and his nephew and these outings are peppered with dinosaur facts and vocabulary, along with nice nods to character skills such as teamwork and rules about safety and good manners.

In one episode, titled "Adventure Camp: Ziplining," the group takes a trek through the rain forest. They also ride on a zipline but the young triceratops has reservations. His friends encourage him to give it a try and he finds out new adventures are fun when your friends are there to support you. In another episode titled "Adventure Camp: Canyon Hiking," the dino-kids hike to the bottom of a canyon and learn about water erosion and fossils. Two other episodes in the Dinosaur Train: Adventure Camp series include rafting and mountain-climbing field trips.

Each story includes musical interludes and concludes with a live-action segment featuring Dr. Scott, a paleontologist who gives more facts about the topic discussed in the previous episode. These short packages are accompanied by fascinating video and photos and Dr. Scott always concludes with the suggestion that kids "get outside, get into nature, and make your own discoveries."

Dinosaur Train: Adventure Camp never loses sight of its educational goals, providing great facts in age-appropriate language. At the same time, it moves along at a fun pace and has lots of lighthearted moments, ensuring that little viewers will be more than happy to tag along with the Nature Trackers.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

Look for this product at:
The Jim Henson Company

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