Long before I had children, I fell in love with the clay stop-motion characters of nerdy inventor Wallace and his lovable dog Gromit. And now that I’ve succeeded in bringing three more over to Wallace & Gromit fandom, I’ve found a fun little series that couples our love of these characters with stories about the coolest-of-the-cool inventions from around the world to get kids excited about science.
Six episodes of Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention have been neatly packaged for us here in the states since we didn’t catch them when they originally aired on the BBC1. Wallace, the earnest but befuddled inventor along with his silent but super expressive dog Gromit (the real brains of the operation) host the series from their home at 62 West Wallaby Street and provide the kind of humor-filled folly you expect if you know creator Nick Parks or any of his previous works.
In between the stop-motion animation are real stories about actual inventors. My science-experiment loving kids were totally glued to the TV as they were introduced to people like a man who has invented a device that can extract oxygen from water, or one that has created a self-powered creature from PVC pipes.
(Though I kind of dread our next trip to the hardware store after that piece.)
As a UK show, you might remind your kids that not all the terminology will be exactly as they know it–think Celcius versus Fahrenheit. And accents are thick, though our ears adjusted just fine. This series is probably best suited for grade-school on up kids, since really young kids may get bored with all the scientific chatter.
The best part? We’re only one show into this six-part series and the kids are totally hooked. And anything that pairs a couple of my favorite characters with such imaginative, thought-provoking fare will make me relax our “no television in the middle of the day” rule just a bit. -Christina