Tuesday, 19 October, 2021

Squishy toys for Christmas; Growing coral in the Bahamas; the world’s first space movie; and the pigs keeping us safe in the skies.



Earth Shot Prize winners: https://earthshotprize.org/

Russian film crew returns to earth: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/oct/17/russian-film-crew-return-to-earth-after-shooting-the-first-movie-in-space 

Pig patrol : https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-58928677

Andy Griffiths Treehouse Q+A – with all your excellent entries!



Squiz Kids Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/squizkids/?hl=en

Got a birthday coming up and you want a shout-out? Send us an email at [email protected]





It’s shaping up to be a squishy toy Christmas ladies and gents, as a global shipping traffic jam means only the smallest, squishiest toys will make it to our shores. 

Did you know that almost 70 percent of all toys in Australia are made in China? And that most of those toys make their way to Australia on a container ship? And right now, thanks to COVID and a shortage of shipping containers, it’s going to take longer for the bigger toys to make it into toy stores – or to the big storage warehouses next to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, for that matter.

Which means stockings this Christmas are more likely to be filled with plush toys that are easier to squish down, or smaller toys which are easier to transport in the limited number of containers there are, than by the larger sized toys like Tonka trucks or backyard swing sets – which are bigger, bulkier and harder to transport.

Which is totally fine: because some of the best toys this Christmas are of the squishy variety. 

And that, my friends, is a crash course in something called supply chain logistics. I know right … sometimes I even amaze myself. 

And remember yesterday we talked about how NSW and Victoria were gradually reopening their borders as COVID vaccination rates in those states continued to climb? The Queensland government yesterday released what it called a ‘roadmap’ for a reopening of its borders too. It won’t take effect until mid-November – and only if vaccination rates are sufficiently high – but there’s hope by Christmas the Sunshine State will be open again. Woo-hoo!



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today we’ve landed in the Bahamas, in the Caribbean .. where the palm trees sway and waters are turquoise and warm … ahh … and where a couple of friends have just won a million dollar environmental prize for the work they’ve been doing growing coral in a tank. 

The friends have worked out a way to take endangered corals from the ocean, put them in a tank and get them to grow at 50 times the speed at which they would grow in nature, then transplant them back into the ocean to help restore damaged coral reefs.

It’s genius. And just another clever way where science and smart thinking is helping to fight the effects of climate change. 

The friends’ coral growing project was among five environmental projects from around the world that received $1.8 million dollars to further develop their earth-saving idea. 

I’ve stuck a link in today’s episode notes to the five lucky winners of the Earth Shot prize … it’s clever, inspiring stuff. 




And now we make our way to Kazakhstan, where a Russian film star and director have returned to earth after spending 12 days on the International Space Station, shooting scenes for a space movie. It will be the first feature film made in orbit, and all that’s known about the plot so far is that a surgeon travels to space to help save a cosmonaut—which is the Russian word for astronaut. 

It’s a big deal for the Russians to have gotten their movie crew into space ahead of a project being planned by Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise and Space X CEO Elon Musk. In fact, Russia—which was once part of the USSR—has a history of winning in space. The USSR successfully launched the first satellite, the first animal, the first man, and the first woman into space. As the space race turns to tourism and movies, there are some people on earth who’d prefer those billions of dollars could be spent down here—like Prince William, who said last week that he wished the world’s greatest brains would focus on trying to repair this planet, rather than heading out into space. But what do you think? If you’ve signed up for Squiz Kids for Schools, there’s a classroom activity where you can explore that very question. Meanwhile -there’s a video of the Russians’ return in your episode notes. 




You’ve heard of Paw Patrol, right? Well settle in and let me tell you about Pig Patrol. 

Schipol Airport in the city of Amsterdam in the country of The Netherlands, is one of the busiest airports in the world. And the fields around the airport are really popular with wild geese – which like to nest and eat there.

But the problem was the geese were wandering onto the runways and there were lots of collisions with planes taking off and landing. And while that’s not great for the geese who get caught in jet engines – ouch – it’s also a risk to the safety of plane passengers and flight crew. So, the clever Dutch have sent in a herd of pigs. They graze in the muddy paddocks – sniffing out delicious sugar beet roots – and scare off the geese. 

The geese have found somewhere else to roost and feed, the pigs are happy, and the planes are safe. Win, win. 

I’ve stuck a link in today’s episode notes to video of the Pig Patrol in action.



Oh yes indeed it is, people … we asked you to send in ideas for Andy Griffiths’ famous treehouse – the one that is up to 143 storeys and counting – and you overwhelmed us with your responses. Which is a fancy way of saying – we had more entries than we could possibly squeeze into one Q+A.

Thanks to everyone who sent in a suggestion – they were all excellent. You really are a creative, clever, imaginative bunch. And congrats to those of you whose idea we selected to be featured in the Q+A. Have a listen to the chat with Andy – and you’ll hear how much he loved them. The Andy Griffths Q+A should play immediately after this episode if you’re listening on a podcast app – or you’ll find it on our website: squizkids.com.au.

And as a special thank you: we’ve featured every single entry every one of you sent in, on the Squiz Kids website. Take a look – there’s some wacky, wonderful ideas in there. 

All links in the episode notes. 

Meanwhile: Andy’s book the 143 Storey Treehouse comes out today .. look out for it wherever you buy your books. 




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. In which country in the Caribbean have a pair of friends worked out a way to make coral grow really fast?
  2. Which country sent a film crew into space to make a movie?
  3. What sort of animals have been sent to an airport in Amsterdam to scare away geese?




It’s October 19 … today is Mawlid – which in the Muslim faith is the day that marks the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today …

Sandip and Sanya from Sydney, Sophia from Craigburn, Silas from Woodhill, Orlando from Forest Lake, Lily-Ann from the Sunshine Coast, Elise from Abbotsford, Tani from Springfield, Liv from Ashgrove, Lily from Kempsey, Jess from Glen Waverley and Khloe from Munno Para.

And because many of our friends in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney still aren’t at school we are sending out home learning herograms … Cody and Logan would like to send one to all of the teachers at Yarrawarrah Public School – hey, that’s next to where I grew up …  Herograms also go to Miss Connor and class 3/4J at Lane Cove West Public School and to Miss Mickos and 5M at Croydon Park Public School. A home learning shout out to Ben from Mt Riverview, who has been working so hard throughout the long lockdown. Another home learning shout out to James at All Saints College – the St Peters Campus in Maitland with special thanks to Mick and Bonnie who both provide loads of support. 

And finally classroom shout outs – to those lucky Squiz Kids NOT in lockdown… to Mrs Walsh and class 3W at the All Saints Anglican School in Merrimac and to Miss Campbell and class 6C at Murrumburrah Public School. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. The Bahamas
  2. Russia
  3. Pigs