‘Elinor Wonders Why’ inspires kids to follow their curiosity

“Elinor Wonders Why,” the newest series from PBS KIDS, has a title that likely fits any 3-year-old you’ve ever met. The series fosters curiosity and encourages children to find answers using science inquiry skills. Meet Elinor in the series premiere Monday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and tune in weekdays at 10:30 a.m. starting Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The main character Elinor, the most observant and curious bunny rabbit in Animal Town, introduces kids ages 3-5 to science, nature and community through adventures with her friends.

“Kids love to ask questions about how the world works,” said Linda Simensky, vice president, Children’s Programming, PBS. “That’s what makes “Elinor Wonders Why” such a perfect show for preschoolers. Kids will recognize themselves in Elinor’s boundless curiosity as she pursues the questions she wonders about — making observations and reveling in nature’s amazing answers.”

The stories in “Elinor Wonders Why” center around Elinor and her friends Ari, a funny and imaginative bat, and Olive, a perceptive and warm elephant. As kids explore Animal Town, they will meet all kinds of interesting, funny and quirky characters, each with something to teach us about respecting others, the importance of diversity, caring for the environment, and working together to solve problems.

In each episode, Elinor models the foundational practices of science inquiry and engineering design — including her amazing powers of observation and willingness to ask questions and investigate. When she encounters something she doesn’t understand, like why birds have feathers or how tiny ants build massive anthills, she just can’t let it go until she figures it out. And in discovering the answers, Elinor often learns something about nature’s ingenious inventions and how they can connect to ideas in our designed world, and what it takes to live in a community. “Elinor Wonders Why” encourages children and parents to ask their own questions and experience the joy of discovery and understanding together.

DRAW ALONG: As your children watch the show, encourage them to try drawing Elinor and her friends!

“We want to encourage children’s curious nature and share with them the fun and joy of discovery. We hope to show children that science is not just a list of facts, but a way of answering questions, and of learning about the world,” said the show’s co-creators, Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson.

Cham and Whiteson have previously collaborated on several projects aimed at exploring science-related questions with humor, including a book (“We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe”) and a podcast (“Daniel & Jorge Explain the Universe”). Cham, who holds a Ph.D. in robotics, is the cartoonist behind the popular online comic “Piled Higher and Deeper” (a.k.a. PHD Comics). Whiteson is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, and is an active researcher, using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to search for exotic new particles.

Along with the television series, “Elinor Wonders Why” will offer digital content for kids, parents and teachers, also debuting in September 2020. “Elinor Wonders Why” games will be available on pbskids.org and on the free PBS KIDS Games app, along with clips and full episodes streaming across PBS KIDS’ video platforms, including the free PBS KIDS Video app.

FAMILY NIGHT: Have a family movie night with Elinor and her friends! On Sept. 11, 12 and 13, Family Night on Arizona PBS KIDS will be a mini-marathon of “Elinor Wonders Why” starting at 7 p.m.

An “Elinor Wonders Why” app will also launch after the series’ debut. Parent resources, including tips and hands-on activities to extend the learning at home, will be available on the PBS KIDS for Parents site, and PBS LearningMedia will offer classroom-ready materials for teachers, including video excerpts, games, teaching tips and printable activities.

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