How do you talk to your kids about climate change? Just ask 'Future Chicken'

The animated characters of Future Chicken, including a chicken,, an egg, a mushroom, and a catfish

From anti-racism to climate change, parents who want to build educational foundations about the world’s biggest challenges with their young ones are often left to create their own syllabi.

Climate anxiety is changing the way people parent — even down to the decision to even be a parent. These days, there’s an added responsibility to raising children, as parents field questions about climate change, or trying to supplement newly-created climate curriculum in schools.

That makes resources like “Future Chicken” necessary for bridging the gaps.

“Future Chicken,” is called an “eco-tainment platform” by its creators, Catherine Winder and Annabel Slaight (both of whom boast notable credits from other kids programming like “The Big Comfy Couch” and the “Angry Birds” film franchise). 

A screenshot of Future Chicken's Youtube channel
A screenshot of Future Chicken's YouTube channel

With a TV show that airs on Canadian television (but is easily accessible to stream on YouTube, as well), and accompanying games and podcasts, the new platform is intended to engage children (ages six to 10) in climate-related topics. 

The best part? There is a huge focus on climate solutions.

The main character at the heart of the platform — you may have guessed — is a chicken. Her name is Potato, and she has quite the back story. Visiting from 2050, Potato comes from an era when climate change has seemingly been solved, and she is here to impart wisdom on the solutions of her world.

“I think the concept of bringing good news from the future to the present is an amazing one,” Winder told Fast Company in December. 

And that amazing idea? It wasn’t just produced solely by Winder and Slaight — but brainstormed on a farm, with actual chickens, as kids shared their insights on climate change and eco-anxiety. 

“They even came up with the name,” Winder told Fast Company. “...The idea was: If we’re looking to empower, engage, and inspire kids, their voices need to be heard all the way through everything we do.” 

A screenshot of the Future Chicken website, with an educational module on water systems
One of the many educational modules on the Future Chicken website. Photo courtesy of Wind Sun Sky Entertainment

The educational elements of the platform came next, with interactive modules designed around the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

Kids can pick a theme — like water, clean energy, healthy communities, food systems, and cycles — select an activity, and then download accompanying resources. 

Some of those activities include things like nature searches, “Bird Bingo,” learning about climate careers, or conserving water

Audiences are also encouraged to play the “Future Chicken” game through Roblox, where characters can engage in activities on a digital farm (and even decorate their own yurts). 

“We’ve got to entertain, we’ve got to have fun,” Winder told Fast Company. “There’s also educational underpinnings in everything we do.”

Screenshots of two Instagram Reels from the Future Chicken account
Photos courtesy of @futurechickenofficial/Instagram

The educational video element of the platform — the “Future Chicken Today Show” — also welcomes guests who are experts in their fields, to help up the ante. 

In January, Potato welcomed video game streamer Mackenzie Turner

“By making small changes in your daily life… we have the power to improve the world around us,” Turner said in a clip of the show.

It’s that small action — even just leveraging screen time to learn about the environment — that “Future Chicken’s” creators hope to bring home. 

“Ultimately, as we grow our community and use technology, the strategy is to be able to show kids how with their small steps, combined with all the other Planet Protectors out there, makes a massive difference,” Wilder told Fast Company. 

Potato says — or clucks — it herself, inviting her friends to “make our world planet positive, one zany adventure at a time.”

Header image courtesy of Wind Sun Sky Entertainment

Article Details

February 21, 2024 9:21 AM
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