Your little one is probably always asking, “Why?” Now preschoolers and their families can take a trip to Animal Town with the premiere of the newest PBS KIDS series, Elinor Wonders Why. The new animated show premieres Sept. 7 on PBS stations, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and PBS KIDS digital platforms.

Elinor Wonders Why

Elinor Wonders Why encourages children to follow their curiosity, ask questions, figure out the answers, and learn about the natural world around them using their science inquiry skills. The multiplatform series, created by celebrated cartoonist and robotics engineer, Jorge Cham, and physicist and educator, Daniel Whiteson, produced in partnership with Pipeline Studios.

In the upcoming premiere, Elinor, the most curious and observant bunny rabbit in Animal Town, plays hide-and-go-seek with her friends and finds out how animals hide in nature; investigates a strange nighttime sound made by an owl and realizes many fascinating creatures are doing interesting things at night; makes “Backyard Soup” with vegetables from her family’s garden; and sells lots of cupcakes by learning how flowers attract bees, through color and smell, and applying those concepts to baking. 

“We’re so excited to invite audiences nationwide into the fascinating world of Animal Town and introduce them to Elinor and her friends as they ask questions and explore the remarkable ways that our everyday lives are connected to nature,” said Linda Simensky, Head of PBS KIDS Content, PBS. “Kids learn best when their parents and caretakers are engaged in their learning. Elinor Wonders Why will spark preschoolers’ curiosity with an innovative science inquiry curriculum and will encourage the adults in children’s lives to help them answer their questions by exploring together.”

Elinor Wonders Why helps give parents the confidence to say, ‘I don’t know the answer. Let’s explore it together,’” said Whiteson. “Asking questions and investigating the answer are at the core of scientific discovery, and we designed the series to model and encourage children, parents and educators to do just that together.”  

“Much like my own daughter, Elinor, who inspired the series’ main character, kids everywhere love to wonder about things around them and find out the answers,” said Cham. “Our hope is that the show will help foster the natural curiosity of young children and make them want to explore and learn, just like Elinor and her friends do in these stories.”

Developed for children ages 3-5, Elinor Wonders Why centers on the adventures of Elinor and her pals, Ari, a funny and imaginative bat; and Olive, a perceptive and warm elephant. As young viewers explore Animal Town along with Elinor, Ari and Olive, they will meet all kinds of interesting, funny, and quirky characters, each with a lesson to share about respecting others, the importance of diversity, caring for the environment and working together to solve problems. Elinor models the foundational practices of science inquiry and engineering design in each episode, using her amazing powers of observation and willingness to ask questions. When she encounters something she doesn’t understand, like why birds have feathers or how tiny ants build massive anthills, she perseveres until she figures it out. In discovering the answers, Elinor often learns something about nature’s ingenious inventions and how they can relate to aspects of our designed world, as well as what it takes to live in a community.

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. 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.

—Jennifer Swartvagher

Featured photo: PBS KIDS

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