With the help of a curious and observant bunny named Elinor, PBS Kids is encouraging preschoolers to follow their curiosity and ask questions. But the network's latest animated series, Elinor Wonders Why, isn't just about well, wondering why. The show also focuses on helping kids develop the science inquiry skills needed to uncover the answers to their own questions. In an exclusive Elinor Wonders Why clip PBS Kids shared with Romper ahead of the series' Sept. 7 premiere, Elinor and her friends learn why fireflies light up at night.
Elinor Wonders Why centers around Elinor, an inquisitive rabbit from Animal Town, who loves to explore and investigate with the natural world around her with her friends Ari and Olive. Developed for children ages 3 to 5, Elinor Wonders Why aims to build on preschoolers' natural sense of curiosity to help them develop foundational science inquiry and engineering skills such as observing, predicting, and comparing.
"We wanted to create a show that nurtures and encourages the natural curiosity of children, and shows them how to find the answers themselves," Elinor Wonders Why co-creator Daniel Whiteson tells Romper. "One thing we're excited about is that the parents in our show don't always know the answers to their kids' science questions, so they explore the questions together."
"We hope this is a model that shows parents out there that you can talk to your kids about science without needing to have all the answers," Whiteson says. "Science isn't a list of facts, but it's a way of asking questions and finding answers by thinking and observing."
While Elinor Wonders Why has a heavy focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the series also tackles other themes, such as diversity, respect, teamwork, and caring for the environment. And, as the exclusive clip shared with Romper highlights, the show also explores a number of different aspects of nature.
"We're also excited about showing kids that nature is deeply connected to their everyday lives," co-creator Jorge Cham tells Romper. "Nature is full of wonderful ideas if you look closely and follow your curiosity."
In the upcoming special one-hour premiere, Elinor discovers how animals hide in nature, investigates a strange nighttime sound, and learns how flowers attract bees using color and smell.
Cham tells Romper he and Whiteson were inspired to create the series by their own children — the character Elinor, for example, is based off Cham's daughter. That being said, they hope all curious children can see themselves in Elinor and her friends. "We were inspired by our own curious children," Cham says, "but we also want the characters in the show to reflect every child out there and for kids who watch to identify with their curiosity."
Elinor Wonders Why will debut Monday, Sept. 7 on both the PBS Kids 24/7 channel and PBS Kids digital platforms. Check your local listings for air times.