Amazon’s podcast studio Wondery and STEM toy makers Thames & Kosmos are releasing a new toy line tied to Tinkercast’s hit kids podcast, Wow in the World.
The line, which was planned by Thames & Kosmos in close partnership with the Wondery and the Wow in the World teams, will launch this fall with seven classic learning toys designed for kids ages 4 and above. “We pride ourselves on pushing the boundaries of STEM learning through play and wanted to take this opportunity to level up classic products and play patterns in a whole new way with toys that kids will learn something new from every time they play with them,” said Ted McGuire, president, Thames & Kosmos, in a statement.
More from The Hollywood Reporter
The toy line will mark the first based on a podcast from the Amazon studio and Wondery Kids + Family Network of shows, which also includes Who, When, Wow!, Whose Amazing Life, Little Stories Everywhere, Flip & Mozi’s Guide to How to be an Earthling and The Adventures of Cairo.
“Podcasts are the perfect complement to families’ existing routines, whether it’s their daily school commute, bedtime, and even playtime,” said Nicole Blake, head of franchise development, Wondery, in a statement. “As the leading innovators in STEM toys, Thames & Kosmos was the ideal partner to level up playtime by bringing together premium audio content with physical toys for the first time to offer a truly unique play experience.”
This is also the first known kids toy line to be developed based on a podcast, according to the companies. (While other publishers like PBS Kids have launched games, books, activities and toys with titles like Arthur, those toys were not based on the podcasts but the TV series that inspired them.)
“It has been incredible watching how Wow in the World inspires today’s generation of kids to follow their curiosity, and we are thrilled to see our mission extending into the world of physical play through this new collaboration,” added Meredith Halpern-Ranzer, CEO, Tinkercast, in her own statement.
The line will include kits like a volcano experiment and an air rocket that feature a classic science tool children can use beyond their traditional play scope, helping introduce younger children to physics, geology, biology and more. Toys will also come with exclusive companion audio content from Wow in the World co-hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas, as well as a complimentary three-month subscription to Wondery+ for adults. Both hosts provided guidance during the line development process, including overseeing audio enhancements that accompany the toys.
“Being true to the DNA of a brand is essential when expanding IP into new categories, and the involvement of Guy and Mindy and the team overall ensured that we delivered a line that was true to Wow in the World, and brought that WOW factor that they deliver for fans for each podcast, toy and science kit,” said Blake.
The toy line is the newest step for Wondery Kids & Family, following a new deal with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which saw the launch of two new podcasts, The Cat in the Hat Cast and ‘Tis The Grinch Holiday Podcast. In 2021, the podcast studio launched its premium premiere subscription tier for children, Wondery+ Kids, in conjunction with Apple Podcasts.
“Wondery is a true innovator in developing podcast IP beyond audio content into lifestyle franchises, and they share our commitment to making STEM learning fun and relatable. The partnership makes so much sense and we are incredibly proud of what we’ve created together,” Andrew Quartin, CEO, Thames & Kosmos, said in a statement.
The news is also the latest expansion of the kids podcasting space and for Wow in the World, following its bestselling book series published by HarperCollins, a sold-out live national tour, and “podject” TinkerClass, or podcasts and projects-based learning for students in kindergarten through grade five that encourages them to listen, tinker and make. Launched in 2017 as the first kids and family podcast distributed by NPR, Wow in the World is billed as a co-listening program for children who may (or may not) love science and their parents, who are taken on adventures from inside their brain to outer space.
“Wondery is known for its Hollywood-style content, and now we are taking a page out of the Hollywood franchise playbook,” Wondery’s head of franchise development told The Hollywood Reporter. “Coming from the world of TV and film IP development, I have seen different media — TV, books, video games — spawn franchises. Compared to those, podcasts are a faster, more cost-effective and flexible IP incubator, and it is exciting to be proving the thesis that audio IP can drive a 360-degree brand.”
The line, which Blake describes as “just the start” of Wondery’s announcements in the consumer products space this year, is different from the typical toys that spring out of entertainment IP, and are not only aimed at spurring children’s curiosity, but assuring parents feel playtime is meaningful.
“Parents feel good about purchasing STEM toys, and Wondery Kids & Family set out to develop a line that all kids’ would ask for, not just kids who are already into science. To deliver on that, we saw an opportunity for a strong content-led brand like Wow in the World to come in and bring freshness to the space,” Blake said. “Part of what makes Wow in the World such a successful podcast is that the shows are fun first, and through that fun, the podcast introduces kids and their grown-ups to the wonders of science and connects them with the world around them. This is what we set out to replicate with the toy line.”
Best of The Hollywood Reporter