For two decades, brothers Chris and Martin Kratt have been developing quality educational programming for kids. Their enthusiasm, expertise and engaging style endears them to children and parents alike.
Generations have grown up loving – and learning from – their shows. Kratts’ Creatures and Zoboomafoo helped teach young children about the animal world. Be the Creature targeted an older audience and looked at nature in a more in depth, raw way.
The brothers’ latest creative endeavor is the animated series Wild Kratts. The show aims to teach children not only about animals, but also science. It has received critical acclaim, an Emmy nomination, a Parent’s Choice Recommended Award and is my four year-old daughter’s favorite.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Chris and Martin while they were performing at SeaWorld Orlando. We talked about the show, their work overall and their lifelong love of animals…
Your shows are rather unique in that parents love them as much as their kids do. Many families enjoy watching together. To what would you attribute that?
Chris: Well, I think in our shows, they’re learning about the world. They’re learning about different animals, different habitats, and what we try to do with our show is teach science through animals. So our educational theme is – animals can take you anywhere in science. Because no matter what science concept you are talking about, whether it’s chemistry or physics, you can find an animal – a really cool animal – that uses it in its daily life. For example, peregrine falcons use the force of gravity to be the fastest animals on earth by just basically dropping out of the sky like a rock…
Martin: So what we’re doing in Wild Kratts is having these stories with adventure and slapstick comedy and even bad guys, but our world is the natural world, and all our rules are the natural rules, and the characters are real animals. So whatever you’re learning in our show, you’re learning something you can take away into the real world.
How does being parents yourselves influence the work that you do?
Martin: All of our shows in the past we’ve done because we’re fascinated with animals, and we as kids never had enough information about animals. So that’s why we did Kratts’ Creatures and Zaboomafoo, just to get out there and explore the animal world and meet all these amazing creatures. But when you have kids yourself you start thinking, “If my kid’s going to be spending time with media, I want him to get something out of it.” So we kept that in mind as we were developing Wild Kratts, that for the half hour, or hour they were watching a show, if they are watching a show that has some content that means something, they can have fun and have a break watching but they can also – without even knowing it – have a great takeaway that they can apply in their own lives.
The show’s website – pbskids.org/wildkratts – just won the 2013 Kidscreen Award for Best Companion Website in the Kids category. The brothers talked about their passion for the site with me. You can view the full video of my interview with them here. Thank you to Chris and Martin for taking time to speak with me. It was a true pleasure.