But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids

But Why is a show led by you, kids! You ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.

Have a question? Send it to us!
Adults, use your smartphone's memo function or an audio app to record your kid's question (get up nice and close so we can hear). Be sure to include: your child's first name, age and town. And then email the audio file to questions@butwhykids.org.

But Why is hosted and produced by Jane Lindholm with help from producer Melody Bodette.

DONATE to VPR to support But Why

Subscribe to the Podcast

Loading...

nechaev-kon / istock

This episode is all about bugs! We've gotten a lot of questions from you about insects and other critters. So we're tackling them with the help of Jessica Honaker and Kristie Reddick, otherwise known as the Bug Chicks.

Visitors cross highway 178 next to a crack left on the road by an earthquake Sunday, July 7, 2019, near Ridgecrest, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo

Why do earthquakes happen? How do the tectonic plates move underground? How do we stay safe during an earthquake? For this week's show we headed to California to visit Jennifer Strauss at the Berkeley Seismology Lab and we hear from Celeste Labedz at the California Institute of Technology.

michaelmjc / istock

How do circuits work? How do electric plugs work? Why do some things conduct electricity and some things do not?

Younggi-Kim / istock

Where does electricity come from? What is electricity made of? Who invented it? How does electricity work? What are electrons made of? Where does static electricity come from? How is it generated? Why don't we use lightning as a power source? How does electricity power things? Electrical Engineer Paul Hines answers our questions, in part one of our live call-in program. Hines is a professor at the University of Vermont and co-founder of Packetized Energy.

An Amtrak passenger train pulls into a station on a rainy evening.
Courtesy / Amtrak

How do trains work? We're traveling to Union Station in Washington, DC and answering all of your questions with Amtrak's Patrick Kidd.

Claylib / istock

This week we're answering questions about gender. We've gotten a lot of questions about the differences between boys and girls so we're tackling them with Vanderbilt anthropologist Anna Catesby Yant and Dr. Lori Racha of UVM Medical Center.

Jane Lindholm / VPR

We're heading to the coast of Maine to learn a little bit about why the sea is salty and how mussels get their shells with Zach Whitener, a research associate at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine.

mustafahacalaki / istock

Lots of people are afraid of the dark, including many kids who have shared that fear with us. In today's episode we explore the fear of the dark with Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket, the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, and a picture book for young kids called The Dark.

5Second / istock

Why do we crave sweet foods even if they're bad for us? Why do we have to eat vegetables? Why does junk food taste so good? We answer all of your nutrition questions with Wesley Delbridge of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

istock
Keith Szafranski

Good Question! In this episode of But Why, we answer some questions that make us say, huh? Why do shoes get stinky? Why are little brothers so annoying? Also, why don't tow trucks have sirens?

The U.S. Capitol, where laws are made.
Tanarch / istock

Who makes the laws? That's what 5-year-old Paxton from Kelowna, British Columbia wants to know! We learn about laws with Mike Doyle of the Canadian organization Civix,  and Syl Sobel, author of How the U.S. Government Works.  Plus: how do elections work? And why does the UK have a government and a queen?

Melody A / istock

Why do we laugh? Why do you feel ticklish when someone tickles you? Why can't you tickle yourself? In this episode, originally from 2018, we learn about how humor develops with Gina Mireault of the Infant Laughter Project at Northern Vermont University. Plus: April Fools traditions and we listen to jokes sent in by kids with Vermont comedian Josie Leavitt.

Melody Bodette / VPR

In this episode, we're answering your questions about...us! Why do you make But Why? How are podcasts made? And we're answering questions about the physics of sound and radio.

Greenpeace U.S. actions director, Katie Flynn-Jambeck, holds up plastic recovered from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Tabor Wordelman

Why is there a big patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean? Four-year-old Leon has heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and he wants to know what the deal is. So we speak with someone who's actually been there! Teen Vogue News and Politics Editor Alli Maloney visited the garbage patch last year for a series called Plastic Planet. But in this episode we'll also explore how young people are becoming activists, trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced, waste that sometimes goes into the ocean. Anika Ballent, with the non-profit Algalita, shares what kids can and have been doing.

1001slide / istock

We're exploring two different animals in today's episode. One has a long neck and the other has a long trunk!

A sundial
ArisSu / iStock

How was time created? How did one minute become 60 seconds and one hour became 60 minutes? Why is time segmented into 12-hour periods? How do clocks work? Why is a year 365 days? Why is there an extra day in February every four years? Does time have a beginning or an end? Is time travel possible? Answers to all of your time questions with Andrew Novick of NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

But Why comes to the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro, VT on Saturday, Jan. 26 for an interactive show all about owls and other birds.
Photo: Southern Vermont Natural History Museum / Illustration: Anna Ste. Marie

How do owls see at night? And why do they spin their heads around? How do peregrine falcons fly? But Why?, VPR’s podcast for curious kids, comes to the Latchis Theatre on Saturday, January 26 for an interactive show all about owls and other birds.

An image of the moon.
NASA

Why does the moon change shape? How much does the moon weigh? What color is the moon? Why does the Earth only have one moon? Why does the moon have holes? Where does the moon go when we can't see it? Why do we sometimes see the moon in the daytime? Why does the moon look like it's following you when you're in the car? Answers to your moon questions with John O'Meara, chief scientist at the W.M. Keck Observatory.

elenabs / istock

What is it like to be an adult? It's a big question from a young mind! We invited adults who listen to share their perspectives and Nora McInerny, host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking, helps guide us through that and a few other questions about the strange world of adults: Why can adults do things that kids can't do? Why don't adults play pretend like they used to when they were kids?  What happens when you don't listen to your boss? And why do people cry when they're happy?

PALMIHELP

How does your body make poop? How many germs are in an ounce of poop? Why do people fart and why are farts stinky? Look, everybody does it, so today we're going to tackle one of the areas kids seem to find fascinating: why and how we poop! Plus, we get some help from Chicago public radio station WBEZ's Curious City to learn about what happens after you flush the toilet.

Pages