Podcast

But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

But Why is a show led by kids. They 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. Know a kid with a question? Record it with a smartphone. Be sure to include your kid's first name, age, and town and send the recording to questions@butwhykids.org!

Episodes

  • Why Do People Like Different Types Of Music?

    Aug 17 2018

    In this episode of But Why, we hear music from Music for Sprouts' Mr. Chris, Drummer Seny Daffe, and cellist Emily Taubl and answer questions about strings, percussion, and the magic of music itself. Get ready to dance.

  • Why Do Turtles Need Shells? Why Do Frogs Hop?

    Aug 03 2018

    Why do turtles need shells? Why do turtles move so slowly? Why do frogs hop? Why are frogs green? Why are colorful frogs poisonous? Why do frogs inflate their throats? What some of the biggest threats are to amphibians and reptiles? We head out to the pond to get answers from some herpetologists! We also get a preview of the new Earth Rangers podcast!

  • How Was The Universe Created?

    Jul 20 2018

    But Why explores the Big Bang, earth, stars and black holes in this call-in episode that aired live on Vermont Public Radio. Astronomer John O'Meara tackles the big bang, the origins of the universe and how we know humans landed on the moon. Plus, why is the earth round? What is space made out of? How are stars formed? Why do the stars shine so bright? What's beyond space? How long does it take to get to outer space? Will humans ever be able to go to Mars?

  • An Introduction To VPR's Timeline

    Jul 06 2018

    In this episode we want to introduce you to another show made at VPR that we think you're really going to like. It's called Timeline and it explores the history of western music. Host James Stewart has just made 4 special episodes exploring the elements fire, water, earth and air. We're bringing you the water episode!

  • Why Is Milk White?

    Jun 22 2018

    'But Why' heads to the farm to answer a whole herd of animal questions: How do cows make milk? Why do cows moo? Why do some animals eat grass? Why do pigs have curly tails? Why do pigs have more teats than cows? Why do eggs in the fridge not hatch? How do chicks grow in their eggs? Why do roosters crow? Why do horses have hooves? Why do horses stand up when they sleep? Why are some fences electric?

  • Why Do Ants Bite?

    Jun 08 2018

    Why do ants bite? Do both male and female ants have stingers? Do ants sleep? What do they do in the winter? In this episode we learn all about the fascinating world of ants with Brian Fisher , curator of entomology at the California Academy of Sciences. Fisher has identified about 1000 different species of ants!

  • Hoots And Screeches And Whistles, Part 2

    May 25 2018

    How fast can the fastest bird go (and what bird is it?) Why do birds have wings? How do they fly? Why are birds so colorful? And why do they sing at dawn and dusk? In the second part of our live show in April with Bird Diva Bridget Butler, we learn all about birds, and get some lessons in how to sing like our avian neighbors!

  • Hoots And Screeches And Whistles, Part 1

    May 11 2018

    How do owls eat? Why are owls nocturnal and how do they see in the dark? How do owls swivel their heads all the way around? Why do birds move their heads back and forth when they walk? This episode was recorded live at The Mega Awesome Super Huge Wicked Fun Podcast Playdate in Brookline, Massachusetts.

  • Why Is Tape Sticky?

    Apr 27 2018

    Why is tape sticky? How do erasers erase? We'll tackle arts and crafts in this episode, answering not just those two questions but learning how to make paint out of rocks and spit!! Vermont artist and wildcrafter Nick Neddo joins us with some tips on how to create your own paint and art supplies.

  • Podcast Extra: Heterotaxy and Hearts

    Apr 20 2018

    After hearing our episode about hearts, 3yo Ethan Chandra, from Middlesex, NJ, wanted to share the story of his own heart. In this podcast extra, Ethan and his 5yo sister Zoe and their mother, Ali, talk about what it's been like for Ethan to live with a condition called heterotaxy.

  • How Does Your Heart Work?

    Apr 13 2018

    How does your heart keep you alive? How does it pump blood? Why is blood so important? Why do children have heart surgeries? Why is a baby's heartbeat faster before it's born? Why does blood rush to your head when you're upside down? Why can you feel your heart in your head when you're lying still or under water? In this episode of But Why, we're going talking about a very special muscle! It keeps us alive and it has its own special rhythm: the heart. Pediatric oncologist Dr. Jane Crosson from J...more

  • Why Do We Laugh?

    Mar 30 2018

    Why do we laugh? Why do you feel ticklish when someone tickles you? Why can't you tickle yourself? We learn about how humor develops with Gina Mireault of the Infant Laughter Project at Northern Vermont University.

  • Why Do People Dream?

    Mar 16 2018

    Why do people dream? Why do people have nightmares? How do dreams happen? Can people who are blind can see in their dreams? In this episode of But Why, we're answering dreamy questions with psychiatrist Dr. David Khan of Harvard Medical School.

  • Why Do We Need To Sleep?

    Mar 02 2018

    Why do people need to sleep? How do we actually go to sleep? How does sleeping get rid of toxins in the brain? And how come when it's nighttime I don't want to go to sleep but when it's morning I don't want to wake up?! Those questions and more, all about sleep. We're joined by pediatric sleep psychologist Dr. Lisa Meltzer.

  • What Are Olympic Medals Made Of? Why Does Every Country Have A Flag?

    Feb 16 2018

    What are Olympic medals made of? Why does every country have a flag? The 2018 Winter Olympics are underway in PyeongChang, South Korea. We reached out to medal-winning Olympians Elana Meyers Taylor, Andrew Weibrecht and Hannah Kearney to reflect on what winning a medal represents. And we learn about flags with vexillologist Scot Guenter from San Jose State University.

  • How Do Fish See? How Do Fish Sleep? How Do Fish Breathe?

    Feb 02 2018

    How did the first fish get into the ocean? How do fish breathe under water? If you put a fish's head underwater, but not its tail, would it survive? How do fish get diseases? How do fish see underwater without googles? Why do fish swim when they are asleep? Do fish drink water? Do fish have ears? How are fish born? But Why visits the New England Aquarium in Boston to get answers to those and other questions kids have sent us about fish.

  • Circle Round: 'The Lion's Whisker'

    Jan 19 2018

    Instead of an episode of But Why, we're going to check out an episode of one of our other favorite podcasts. Circle Round is a storytelling show from WBUR, a public radio station in Boston. On Circle Round, they find stories from all around the world and then get really interesting people to act them out. This week we're sharing one of their episodes with you! This is one of our favorites. And it's actually about sharing. It's called 'The Lion's Whisker.'

  • Are There Underground Cities?

    Jan 05 2018

    In this episode, we answer a question from 5-year-old Wyatt in Los Angeles and learn about ancient underground cities in Turkey, the subterranean passageways of Montreal and the dug-out houses of Coober Pedy, Australia. Also in this episode: Why is it so warm underground?

  • Why Do Snowboards Look Like Skateboards?

    Dec 22 2017

    We're marking the winter solstice with an episode all about snow! Why do snowboards look like skateboards? We get an answer from Burton Snowboards. How is snow made? Why is snow white? Why are all snowflakes different? We'll hear from Jon Nelson, author of "The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder." Also why does snow melt? And where is the deepest snow?

  • Why Is Money So Important?

    Dec 08 2017

    In this episode of But Why we visit a credit union to learn what money is all about and Slate Money hosts Felix Salmon, Anna Szymanski and Jordan Weissman answer questions about why money plays such a big role in modern society. How was money invented? Why can't everything be free? How do you earn money? Why don't kids go to work? How was the penny invented? Why are dimes so small?

  • What Is The Biggest Number?

    Nov 22 2017

    What's the biggest number? Who was the first mathematician? Why is seven a lucky number? Why is fifth grade math so hard? We're tackling something new: questions about math! With us to offer some answers and some mind-blowing concepts is author Joseph Mazur.

  • Why Do We Have Daylight Saving Time?

    Nov 10 2017

    Why do we have daylight saving time? And why are days longer in summer and shorter in winter? Daylight saving time is really just a trick. At least, so says Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time. He's our guest in this episode and he explains the reasons behind this semi-annual ritual of moving the clocks forward and back.

  • Looking For More Kids Podcasts? We've Got You Covered

    Oct 27 2017

    On this special episode of But Why, we're going to introduce you to some of our kids podcast classmates. We've all gotten together to create one big podcast episode that gives you a little flavor of what each one of us is all about. Enjoy!

  • Why Do Leaves Change Color In The Fall?

    Oct 27 2017

    Why do leaves change color in the fall? Why are leaves green? Why don't leaves turn all of the colors of the rainbow? In this episode of But Why, we're talking about fall leaves, and how trees go from green to fiery red, orange and yellow.

  • Why Do People Die? Questions About Death

    Oct 13 2017

    This episode of But Why is a serious one. We're talking about death. Why do people die when they get too old? What happens to people when they die? What does it feel like when you're dead? Our guide is Jana DeCristofaro from the Dougy Center: The National Center for Grieving Children in Portland, Oregon, which supports children and families facing serious illness or coping with the loss of a family member.

  • Listen: Talking To Kids About Violence In the News

    Oct 02 2017

    In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history in Las Vegas on Sunday, we're re-releasing our special episode for parents. We speak with Dr. Robin Gurwitch about how to answer questions children may have about violence they hear in the news. She's a child psychologist at the Duke University Medical Center and she has served on numerous commissions and committees about children and trauma, including the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters.

  • Is It Ever OK To Break A Rule?

    Sep 29 2017

    Is it OK to do something that you were told not to do and then never tell anybody? We tackle that question from 10-year-old Finn from Seattle. Also in this episode: why do people make really bad choices and want other people's lives to be harder?

  • How Do Hurricanes Form?

    Sep 15 2017

    In the last couple of weeks, two big hurricanes have hit parts of the United States and Caribbean islands. In this episode we answer questions from kids who have been hearing the news and wondering: How do hurricanes form? Why do hurricanes strike Florida? Why do hurricanes have names? We speak with atmospheric scientist Shuyi Chen of the University of Washington.

  • How Is Glass Made?

    Sep 01 2017

    How is glass made? Why does glass break? Why do bubbles pop? What's it like inside a bubble? We make everything clear in this episode! Our questions are from kids in Arizona, Brazil, California and Cambodia.

  • How Do Bees Make Honey And Why Do They Sting?

    Aug 18 2017

    Why do bees pollinate? How do bees make honey? Why do bees have stingers? Why do bees die when they sting you? What's the difference between a bee and a wasp? Does honey have healing properties? Vermont farmer and beekeeper John Hayden of The Farm Between answers all of your bee questions! And we learn about one curious kid's app, which he hopes will help save pollinators.

  • Why Are There So Many Different Languages?

    Aug 04 2017

    In this episode, we're answering some of our frequently asked questions, the questions we hear a lot from all of you: why are there so many different languages? Why do we get hiccups? Why do our fingers get wrinkly in the tub? Why are plants so many colors? Why do leaves change colors in the fall? Why is the sky blue?

  • Why Do Flamingos Stand On One Leg?

    Jul 21 2017

    We're answering ten questions as quickly as we can in this episode of But Why. Why do onions make you cry? How do hummingbirds hum? Why do flamingos stand on one leg? Do moths have veins in their wings? Do cats that share a home have the same meow? What was the first book? How do libraries get money if people borrow books for free? Why do people have fidget spinners? Why can't my stuffed animal get wet? And how do pigs poop? Can we do it all in 20 minutes?!

  • How Do You Make Bread?

    Jul 07 2017

    How is bread made? Who made the first cake? Why shouldn't you touch raw eggs? On this episode of But Why, we're talking about baking. We get a lesson in bread making on a field trip to King Arthur Flour. Later, the Botanical Society of America weighs in on a recent episode where we talked about why some berries are poisonous.

  • Why Are Moths Attracted To Light?

    Jun 23 2017

    In this episode we're celebrating the official return of summer to the northern hemisphere by answering some summertime questions! How do fireflies glow and can they control how they blink? Why are owls nocturnal? How do they swivel their heads around? And how do they hoot? Plus a few burning questions about why bug bites itch, why poison ivy and caterpillars and berries can all be poisonous, and how come we have to wear sunscreen! We'll get answers from wildlife biologists Kent McFarland and Br...more

  • How Are Babies Made?

    Jun 09 2017

    How are babies made? We speak with Cory Silverberg, author of What Makes A Baby, for answers to questions about how we all come into the world.

  • Podcast Extra: Do Dogs Get Strep Throat?

    May 26 2017

    We recently did an episode all about dogs. But after that came out, Nash, from Fort Dodge, IA, sent us a question wondering if dogs ever get strep throat. So we reached back out to Jessica Hekman to get an answer!

  • Why Are Some Animals Pets And Others Are Lunch?

    May 26 2017

    This episode may not be suitable for our youngest listeners or for particularly sensitive kids. We're discussing animal ethics with author Hal Herzog. In a follow up to our pets episodes, we look at how we treat animals very differently depending on whether we think of them as pets, food, or work animals. Why do some cultures eat cows and others don't? Why do some cultures not have pets at all? And is it okay to breed animals like dogs that have significant health problems even though we love th...more

  • Why Do Dogs Have Whiskers?

    May 12 2017

    Why do dogs have whiskers? Why are dogs' eyesight black and white? Why do dogs have so many babies? Why do dogs have tails and we don't? Why are dogs thumbs so high on their paw? Why don't dogs sweat? Why do dogs roll in the grass? Why aren't dogs and cats friends? Veterinarian and dog scientist Jessica Hekman has answers.

  • Why Do Cats Purr?

    May 12 2017

    Why do cats purr? How do cats purr? Why can't we purr? Why do cats "talk" to people, but not other cats? Why do cats sharpen their claws? Are orange cats only male? Why do cats like milk and not water? Why are some cats crazy? Can cats see color? All of your cat questions answered with Abigail Tucker, author of 'The Lion in the Living Room.'

  • Who Was The First Person?

    Apr 28 2017

    Who was the first person? Paleoanthropologist Adam Van Arsdale answers one of the most frequent questions we get here at But Why. Also: how does evolution work? Was there a first of every living thing? How did the first animal come alive? How did monkeys turn into people? And what did cavemen eat that we still eat today?

  • The Kratts Take Kids On Wild Animal Adventures

    Apr 21 2017

    For 20 years, brothers Chris and Martin Kratt have been taking kids on adventures around the world through their TV shows, including Wild Kratts, Zoboomafoo, and Kratts' Creatures. They spent many childhood summers exploring the wilds of Vermont. In this special episode, we are sharing a Vermont Edition interview Jane did with the Kratts for her other radio show.

  • How Do Butterflies Fly?

    Apr 14 2017

    How do butterflies fly? Why are butterflies called butterflies? How do airplanes fly? If gravity pulls everything down, how do planes and rockets get up in the air? Why do planes have engines and how do they make them? We're visiting ECHO, the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum for answers.

  • How Do Big Plants Grow From Such Small Seeds?

    Mar 17 2017

    Why are there so many plants? How are seeds made? How does germination work? How can plants grow so big if they start from such a small seed? Why are flowers different colors? Why are plants and trees green? Where does dirt come from? In this episode of But Why , we're talking about plants with garden consultant Charlie Nardozzi.

  • How Do Piano Keys Make Sound?

    Mar 17 2017

    Did you know pianos have strings and hammers? We're learning all about instruments and how they use strings to make noises.

  • How Does NASA Drive The Mars Rover?

    Mar 03 2017

    The discovery of seven new planets that could contain life has kids and adults pretty excited. We can't get to these planets yet but we do have tools to explore planets closer to home. In this episode, St. Michael's College astronomy professor John O'Meara answers how the Mars rover is driven from back here on earth?

  • Are Yawns Really Contagious?

    Feb 17 2017

    Why are yawns contagious? Why do we hiccup? How do teeth get loose? Why do your ears hurt when you drive up over the mountains? Why do we get dizzy when we spin? Why do people slip? Why do people faint? Why do we have saliva and mucus? Why do people cry when they get hurt? How do voice boxes work? Why does your voice sound weird when it's recorded? Dr. Lori Racha has more answers to your body questions.

  • Why Do Your Fingers And Toes Turn Wrinkly In The Tub?

    Feb 03 2017

    Why do your fingers and toes turn wrinkly in the tub? Why are people ticklish? How do you get freckles? Why do some people have birthmarks? How do our hands feel things? Are humans animals? Why don't humans have tails? Why do we need food and water to survive? Why do our nose and ears keep growing? How do bones connect together? We're talking about our weird and wonderful bodies with Dr. Lori Racha, a pediatrician at the University of Vermont.

  • How Do Popcorn Kernels Pop?

    Jan 20 2017

    How do popcorn kernels pop? How do salmon know where to return to spawn? How do rabbits change colors? Why does television fry your brain? How do zippers zip stuff? Who was the fastest runner in the world? In this episode, we'll tackle all these questions!

  • Why Is The World Split Into Countries?

    Jan 06 2017

    Why is all of the world split up into countries, states, cities and counties and more? Why can't we all just live as one big group? Which country has the least amount of people? We're talking about countries and borders with author Juan Enriquez. Also in this episode: why don't school buses have seatbelts?

  • How Is Chocolate Made?

    Dec 23 2016

    How is chocolate made? Why can't we eat chocolate all the time? Why does chocolate melt? Why can't dogs eat chocolate? In this episode, we travel to Taza Chocolate in Somerville, Massachusetts to get some answers. Plus, we visit a coffee roaster in Maine to learn about this parent fuel that so many kids find gross!

  • What's What With The Weather?

    Dec 09 2016

    We're getting answers to all of your weather questions! Where does snow come from? Why do clouds stay up in the sky? How hot is lightning? What are thunderstorms? How is wind made? Those questions and more are answered by meteorologist Mark Breen, author of The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting.

  • Thanksgiving Special: What Made The Turkey Trot To Boston?

    Nov 22 2016

    On this special episode, we're going to listen to a story about how turkeys used to get from farms in Vermont to markets and dinner tables far away in Boston, a distance of a couple hundred miles. This was before refrigerated trucks. So how do you think they did it?

  • Why Do We Like To Eat Certain Foods?

    Nov 22 2016

    Why do we like to eat certain foods? Why do some people like to eat spicy food and some people don't like to eat vegetables? Why does pineapple hurt your mouth when you eat too much of it? Why do we taste things and how? Why do different foods taste different? Do animals have the same taste buds as people?

  • Ghosts And Fairies And Gnomes, Oh My!

    Nov 11 2016

    Are ghosts real? Why do some cultures believe in fairies and gnomes and some don't? We'll learn about how beliefs in ghosts vary in different parts of the world with Justin McDaniel of University of Pennsylvania. Then we're off to Iceland to learn about magical creatures with Terry Gunnell.

  • Why Do Geese Fly In The Shape Of A 'V'?

    Oct 28 2016

    How do birds fly? Why do they flock? How do they not get shocked when they sit on telephone wires? The Bird Diva has our answers to all of your questions about our feathered friends. And why do chickens lay different colored eggs? We visit the hen house at Shelburne Farms to find out.

  • Who Invented The President?

    Oct 14 2016

    Who invented the president? Which country had the first president? We answer presidential questions historical in nature with author Kenneth C. Davis . Also in the episode: why do leaves change color in the fall?

  • Why Is The Sea Salty?

    Sep 30 2016

    We're heading to the coast of Maine to learn a little bit about why the sea is salty, how mussels get their shells and how model ships get in those glass bottles.

  • Why Is Soccer Called 'Soccer' Instead Of 'Football'?

    Sep 16 2016

    7-year-old Kala wants to know why we say soccer in the United States, when the rest of the world calls the game "football." In this episode we hear from people who make their living in the game, professional players, coaches and commentators.

  • How Long Does It Take For A Baby Cheetah To Go From Fluffball To Hunter?

    Sep 02 2016

    How long does it take for baby animals to grow up? In this episode, we're learning about cheetahs and horses with two questions from siblings in Australia.

  • Do Bumblebees Have Hearts?

    Aug 19 2016

    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.

  • Why Don't Bicycles Fall Over?

    Aug 05 2016

    It's all about bikes in this episode of But Why? Why bicycles can stay up when you're riding them, but fall over when stopped. Olympian Lea Davison tells how to get started when riding, and we learn how a bike chain moves a wheel.

  • How Does An Engine Work?

    Jul 22 2016

    Seven-year old Sawyer wants to know: how does an engine work? We learn about chainsaws from Ashleigh Belrose, an instructor the Center for Technology in Essex, Vermont.

  • How Does It Feel When Your Family Changes?

    Jul 08 2016

    Families grow and change. What does that feel like? We asked kids to tell us about their families, and we speak with author Amy Bloom about how love is not something that needs to be divided up, like a pie, but can expand and multiply.

  • Why Is The Sky Blue?

    Jun 24 2016

    Why is the sky blue? We get an answer from a science writer for NASA's Space Place. And what are Saturn's rings? Carolyn Porco of the Cassini Imaging Team explains.

  • Special Episode: How Do You Talk To Kids About Violence In The News?

    Jun 13 2016

    This is a special episode just for parents. It's about how to address violence and tragedy in the news with your children. This podcast comes the day after and in response to the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

  • How Do You Make Paint?

    Jun 10 2016

    In this episode of But Why we're learning how to make paint from an artist who wild-crafts his own pigments, and we're visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to learn about the value of art.

  • Why Do People Have Different Religions?

    May 27 2016

    In this episode of But Why we tackle the question of why people have different religions. Our answer comes from Wendy Thomas Russell, who wrote a book on how to talk about religion for secular families. Plus we visit a farm where kids of both the human and the goat variety are involved in making cheese.

  • Who Invented Words?

    May 13 2016

    On But Why we let you ask the questions and we help find the answers. One of the things that many of you are curious about is language. How we speak, why we speak and what we speak.

  • How Does Music Move Us?

    Apr 29 2016

    We're turning things around! Instead of you sending us the question, this time we're asking the question and looking to you for some answers. We wanted to explore why music moves us.

  • What Is The End Of The World Going To Feel Like?

    Apr 15 2016

    This episode looks at a big question, a really big question. It's about the end of the world and what it might feel like. Parents: this episode is about asteroids and supernovas; some kids may find this episode a bit scary, or may have never considered those possibilities before, so you may want to listen first on your own.

  • How Do Bears Sleep All Winter?

    Apr 01 2016

    In our very first episode, we've got owls and turtles and bears, oh my! It's all about animals.

  • But Why: Intro For Adults

    Apr 01 2016

    My name is Jane Lindholm and I'm hosting a new podcast for kids from Vermont Public Radio.