How It's Made TV Poster Image

How It's Made

What goes into building a skateboard? Find out.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

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.

Positive role models

This series is an informative and educational look at the process that goes into creating items, but very little attention is paid to any role models -- positive or negative -- who are a part of the process. 

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 How It's Made is a fascinating fact-based educational series that 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.

What's the story?

HOW IT'S MADE is a fascinating educational series for all ages that 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 and speculate How It's Made. 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?

  • How does How It's Made inspire curiosity? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

Premiere date:January 6, 2001
Cast:Brooks Moore, Lynne Adams
Network:Discovery Channel
Topics:Science and nature
Character strengths:Curiosity
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of How It's Made was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 10 years old July 28, 2014

vary good.

vary good in education and learning.
What other families should know
Great messages
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
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