With our latest review, we’ve just discovered another fun and educational show for kids: Curiosity Quest. This series, geared for ages 7-14, begins with a question sent in from a viewer. The host takes the audience on an intriguing field trip to learn about a new topic and to answer the question. The topics include such varied topics as cheese, how to make drums, recycling, glass blowing, and dog sledding.
We viewed the following Combo Packs, which each include 3 30-minute episodes.
- DVD Combo Pack – Produce ($24.95)
(Mushrooms, Cranberries, Orange Packing)
- DVD Combo Pack - Swimmers of the Sea ($24.95)
(Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, Salmon)
Emily and I both enjoyed this fun show. We love field trips and these shows felt like field trips to places we might never have an opportunity to visit in person.
Each episode begins with a viewer question that introduces the topic. The show is interspersed with “fun facts”—quick tidbits explained by children, and related questions asked of kids or adults “on the street.” For example, in the Cranberry episode, the questions were, “What does buoyant mean?”, “What is a harvest?” “How do you know when cranberries are ripe?”, and “Why do they flood the cranberry fields?” It’s fun to hear the (often confused) answers from the kids who are questioned.
The host, Joel Green, visits a site (such as a cranberry bog in Wisconsin), and observes and often joins in the process. At the cranberry bog, he put on waders and walked out in the marsh, exclaiming about how cold the water was. He tasted cranberries straight from the vine, drove the 4-wheeler pulling the cranberry trailers (They wouldn’t let him drive the harvester!), and visited the processing plant to see the cranberries blown dry, cleaned, and sorted. Meanwhile, he asked the kinds of questions that a curious child would ask. “Why do you have to dry the cranberries?” “Are these fields always under water?”
I found the topics very interesting. I had NO idea how mushrooms were grown. It is quite an elaborate and labor-intensive process, beginning with the fermentation of hay in which the spores are sown. Mushrooms are actually grown indoors, where the conditions can be kept ideal, and picked by hand by amazingly fast workers!
I did know that salmon swam upstream to lay their eggs in fresh water, but had certainly not ever seen the process. Nor did I know about the elaborate facilities that salmon hatcheries build in order to keep the wild salmon population up. Did you know that salmon travel as far as Japan, then, 3 or 4 years later, return to the very same streams in Alaska to lay their eggs?
It was enlightening to learn how involved the process of sorting and cleaning oranges is, in order to prevent spoilage. Oranges are always picked by hand, but much of the sorting and packaging process can be done by machine.
I love how the shows look at topics from a child’s point of view. The guide for each location gives a very interesting tour. Joel Green asks questions about every aspect of the topic, which enables the viewer to learn more. The key points are repeated frequently, which aids in the learning process, and the occasional “fun fact” and “question time” breaks keep the viewers’ interest up as well. He gets to do things that we would all like to try, like feeding and touching penguins and sea turtles, wading in a cranberry bog,
I think that many children even younger than the suggested age of 7 would enjoy Curiosity Quest. At the other end of the age range, even I, as an adult, learned a lot and enjoyed the show as well. On at least one occasion, Emily was in a bad mood, and grumbled about sitting down to watch it, but was quickly drawn into the show. We expanded the educational aspect by having her write quizzes for ME or taking notes as she watched some of the episodes.
If you have curious kids at your house, you will surely love this show!