Can you distinguish a Tyrannosaurs from an Ornithopod? How about a Sauropod from an Adeopapposaurus? I know, me neither. But there are kids who know and they cannot wait to start a conversation about dinosaurs. Little geniuses, you wonder?
Science actually agrees, so it seems those dinosaurs are not going to be leaving your house anytime soon. A new study has found that young children who are obsessed with dinosaurs tend to be smarter and mostly do better later in life.
This kind of focus is called an "intense interest".
They do better in life
In a study published by the journal for Developmental Research, "a third of young children develop an intense interest sometime in their development, and dinosaurs are one of the intense interests some children have". This study compares how children who developed an intense interest in objects go about exploring their obsession.
Pediatric Psychiatric Occupational Therapist Kelli Chen says "asking questions, finding answers and gaining expertise is the learning process in general. Exploring a topic and mastering it is beneficial because that's how we form careers as adults."
Also, it boosts their confidence in that in this instance they are not the ones who receive information from their parents, but are instead teaching their parents.
However, Chen says "intense interests seem to fade after the child reaches three years and only 20% of those with intense interests still have the same fascination when they reach school going age". Researchers assume this is because of generalised learning in schools and that "boys seemed to have more intense interests than girls".
They suggest that if parents want to keep these interests up then toddlers should be taught about their interest in a way that includes facts, to encourage active learning over pretend adventures.
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