After the longest summer ever and with school starting, it’s hard getting kids back into the groove. If your kids are anything like mine, they’re watching a lot of Netflix. Now that my screentime limits have become far more generous, I’m looking for more educational fare. Since we’re virtual learning, I wanted to find something that could potentially fill in some gaps. Basically, I need a way to make Mom School more fun, and try as I might, I’m not a Pinterest mom.
Enter Emily’s Wonder Lab, a new STEM show for kids on Netflix, hosted and executive produced by Emily Calandrelli.
I have a six-year-old who is very interested in science. Admittedly, this isn’t my area of expertise. My adventures in science were limited to the yearly science fair at school, and I was usually a reluctant participant. So trying to be the mom who can engage with her kid about science doesn’t come naturally. When I heard about Emily’s Wonder Lab, I was thrilled to share it with my son.
The episodes of Emily’s Wonder Lab are short enough to hold younger kids’ attention, but full of information. that is presented in a fun, engaging way. We’re watching the show as a family, and I’m learning new things right alongside my kiddo. Each episode has a theme, and Calandrelli leads a group of six kids in an experiment. She asks the kids questions to make them look at things differently, allowing them to draw their own hypotheses and conclusions. It’s clear that everyone is having a blast, which makes it even more fun to watch. Calandrelli is made for this job.
Emily Calandrelli has the perfect personality for kids’ television. She’s bubbly, energetic, and most importantly, fun. She’s just as engaging and silly as Blippi, but less annoying. I enjoy watching her play with the kids as much as my son does, if not more. Her “wonder lab” is a rainbow fantasy land where kids get to make things explode, walk across eggs and swim in a giant pool of pink glittery slime.
But it’s not all just fun and glitter slime.
Emily Calandrelli is an MIT-engineer who also works with NASA. Additionally, she’s a featured correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World and executive producer and host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space. She’s been nominated for three EMMY Awards! She’s also active on social media — you can find her sharing videos and experiments on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram! If that’s not enough, she’s given three TED Talks. Emily is a certified badass.
Working with the kids on Emily’s Wonder Lab isn’t a new thing for her either. In addition to giving talks about STEM to kids all over the country, she’s written a series of children’s books. The Ada Lace Adventures series is named after mathematician and engineer Ada Lovelace. Getting kids interested in STEM is a passion of Calandrelli’s.
“I think that kids today need more science than ever before,” she said in an interview with Moms.com, “I think the society that we live in, in general is just becoming more technologically advanced. And that technology is advancing at such a rapid pace, right, that in order for us to keep up, we need the next generation to be more scientifically literate than we were.”
Plus, Calandrelli understands the importance of representation. She wants to make sure young girls see someone on their screen who is like them. “When I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of female role models and science to look up to. It’s just hard to not be able to see yourself in this field that you find interesting,” she told Moms. The need for representation is even more important to her because she is a mom to a little girl herself. She was actually nine months pregnant while filming Emily’s Wonder Lab, and she’s aware of how strong that image is.
“I’m just…so incredibly proud that my daughter will be able to watch this someday. When I was studying to become an engineer, I was one of 2 or 3 women in classrooms of 50 men. I’m hoping shows like this help change that demographic for her generation,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
“For many years I pitched science shows to large science networks and was unsuccessful. I would receive the feedback that ‘the majority of our audience is male, so we just don’t know if they’d relate to a female host,’” she added.
But they were wrong, and we know it.
As the mother of a son, I love that he gets to see a woman hosting a show where she is showcasing her talents. If we want to shift how men and boys talk and feel about women in positions of power, it’s important for them to see those values in action. By seeing Emily on his TV, my son realizes that women and men are equally capable. Her being pregnant is the icing on the cake, because he sees that mothers are more than just caregivers.
Right now, Emily’s Wonder Lab is his favorite show, and for good reason. At the end of each episode, Emily does a science experiment related to the episode’s theme. They’re easy to do at home, and don’t require any fancy tools or ingredients. Since the show is geared to the under-10 crowd, they need supervision, but they can take the reins if they want. From sucking an egg into a bottle to magnetic slime, there’s something fun for any kid.
My kiddo loves the messy type of science experiments. So after watching the Emily’s Wonder Lab episode featuring oobleck, he wanted to try it. And try it we did! We also tried walking across eggs like Emily and the kids did on the show. It was (slightly messy) fun for our whole family, and we are honestly excited to try more in the future!
Emily’s Wonder Lab is now streaming on Netflix. Grab the kids and check it out!