Live from California, dinosaur expert extraordinaire Jack Horner joined an online event hosted by sight loss charity RNIB to share his expertise with over 50 children from across the UK.
The world-famous palaeontologist, who has worked as an advisor and consultant for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies, took time out from his busy schedule on Saturday 12 March to make sure children with a vision impairment experienced a sensory dinosaur lesson with a difference.
The session was part of the Shape and Share Dinosaur Discovery Family Event, organised by Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) Children, Young People and Families team.
This event was, of course, dinosaur-themed and Jack Horner talked to the children about his work with dinosaurs and answered questions from his curious audience.
The second segment of the event saw the children entertained and spell bound by the fabulous Dinomania puppet show where they met Trudy the Troodon, Pteri the Pteranodon, and Bradley the baby Brachiosaurus, to name but a few.
Prior to the online event, the children received a Dino Lab kit so they could get involved and smaller children received a dinosaur soft toy.
RNIB Shape and Share events form part of the support the charity offers for children and young people with vision impairment and their families. This event took place virtually in order to reach as many children as possible across the UK, but future events will comprise a mix of online and face to face experiences.
Other recent RNIB Shape and Share events have included craft and storytelling, ‘jump, jiggle and jive’, pizza making and sessions on online safety. Last year they welcomed HRH The Countess of Wessex who took part in a craft session with children and made her very own bird box.
The events, which run throughout the year, are aimed at encouraging children and young people with vision impairment to make new friends, try new things, and engage in some much-needed fun.
Jack Horner praised the interest and passion of the families who took part in the discovery session and said how much he enjoyed meeting them all.
He said: "It was a lot of fun.
"I love talking about dinosaurs with kids because they are often as interested in dinosaurs as I am, and they ask the very best questions.
"When I asked one young one how he thought T.rex got his meat – he answered, ‘he was a scavenger!’
"I was so impressed that I told him he could come be my graduate student!”
He also thanked RNIB for all the work the charity is doing to support people.
RNIB Children, Young People and Families (CYPF) Specialist Lead, Craig Brown said: "Our online Shape and Share events, part of our activity programme, bring children, young people and their families together for peer support, to share experiences and take part in fun activities like Dinosaur Discovery.
"We are thrilled that Jack was able to join us and lead on an engaging and fascinating session. RNIB Shape and Share events are open to families throughout the UK so we would encourage anyone interested to get involved in future activities."
Alicia Dodsworth, 12, took part in the event and said: "It was good to learn about the names of different dinosaurs and find out what they ate. Jack also showed us dinosaur bones which was really cool."
Alicia, who lives in Carrickfergus, has Myopia, Astigmatism, squint and nystagmus and has been using the services of RNIB’s Children, Young People and Family’s team since she was three-years-old and said Jack was ‘really nice.’
Mum Danielle added: "The event was great, as each event normally is with RNIB, always running very smoothly from start to finish. It was very interesting hearing from Jack and all his knowledge, it’s great to see Alicia learning about different things that she would not really hear about."
Find out more about RNIB’s Children, Young People and Families team and the services we offer, or phone RNIB’s Helpline on: 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].