How It's Made

Common Sense Media says

What goes into building a skateboard? Find out.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Encourages curiosity about the world. No mention of working conditions in the factories where the products are made.

Violence & scariness

Brief mention of topics like animal slaughter.

Sexy stuff

Segment on hatchery chicks talked about fertilized vs. unfertilized eggs.

Not applicable

The show is all about specific products, but brands usually aren't part of the deal.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fascinating fact-based educational series demonstrates how all sorts of items are constructed. Occasionally segments focus on potentially disturbing products, like hatchery chicks, in which baby chickens are seen hatching and then being sorted by hand and machine onto giant conveyor belts for eventual shipment to farms (and subsequent slaughter). Little kids might not be interested or have the attention span to follow the different segments, but children who like to know how things work may very well be entranced.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

This fascinating educational series for all ages reveals how every day products are made. Using clear, factual language, the narrator describes the steps involved in making food products, household goods, and more as viewers watch the production onscreen. Episodes usually feature four products, from car radiators and phyllo dough to aluminum foil and hatchery chicks. In the phyllo dough segment, for example, cameras capture the mixing of ingredients as the narrator explains the proportions of high-protein flour to low-protein flour. A machine shapes the dough into cylinders that workers then shape into balls by hand. The dough is then flattened, dried, stretched, cut, and packaged -- some by machine and some by hand -- until it becomes what consumers recognize from the supermarket.

Is it any good?


Curious kids and adults will learn from the show, and some segments can really broaden your perspective. For instance, the segment on hatchery chicks might encourage a discussion about where meat comes from or families' opinions about industrial versus sustainable food production. With its emphasis on facts, some might find How It's Made lacking in personality. Some segments will appeal to viewers more than others, depending on your interest or familiarity with the featured item.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about everyday products they're curious about. What things do you want to know more about? Which products seem mysteriously constructed? Have you ever thought about where your food, car, furniture, sporting goods, etc. came from? How do you think people would get by if they were responsible for obtaining and/or making everything they needed themselves?

TV details

Cast:Brooks Moore, Lynne Adams
Network:Discovery Channel
Topics:Science and nature
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:Streaming

This review of How It's Made was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old July 26, 2011

great but for tweens

i love this show but the reason i rated it 10 and up is because ages 1-9 wouldnt understand all this
What other families should know
Educational value
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Very interesting.

Very educational show! Suitable for all ages.
Teen, 14 years old Written bymiapie456 April 6, 2012

Awesome and Educational

I disagree with the fact that "Educational Value" is not applicable. I learn something new every time, and so does my dad. It is a very educational show! :)
What other families should know
Educational value


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