Did you know that some everyday products like the trampoline and the popsicle were actually invented by children? Check this list out of Children’s Inventions. It just really shows what necessity, ingenuity and passion can result in no matter what age a person is!
In the name of research, I decided to do a little inventor’s lab with my 2.5-year-old this evening. I filled a bag with stickers, ribbons, a glue stick, toddler scissors, feathers, fabric and wrapping paper and put it on the table for her to discover. Once she dumped all the materials out, I encouraged her to make whatever she wanted to make and tried not to give her any ideas. At first, she inspected the items and began using them literally (stickers on her hands etc.) After a few minutes, she started fashioning a belt and bracelets for herself. After 10-15 more minutes, she had cut/torn a piece of wrapping paper, turned it over and decorated it with stickers to make a picture frame and asked Daddy to help her make a handle. I don’t think we’re ready to pitch any ideas to investors yet, but it was a really simple, fun way to give her a chance to create something with her own hands and ideas. I can’t wait to do it again as she grows so I can see how her imagination and abilities continue to blossom!
If you have a little tinkerer who is always building, creating, drawing, planning, and/or discussing ideas to make things better, check out of some of these ways to peak your little inventor’s interest:
– Head to the Houston Children’s Museum ASAP to check out the current exhibit Invention Convention and their upcoming engineering and inventor workshops!
– Watch Shark Tank with your child and talk about the products and the entrepreneurial process involved! Notice how sometimes there is a deal and often there isn’t!
– The next time you are drawing together, try creating a new animal for the zoo (or a new species of dinosaur)!
– Look at subscriptions for STEM-themed, engineering and science activities for your children! I haven’t tried it yet but Tinker Crate and Creation Crate keep catching my eye for future gift ideas for my girls!
– Get a science experiment book from Half Price Books or YouTube some easy ideas for home (Do in the bathroom or in the backyard for the least mess!)
-Register for a week-long summer camp at Camp Invention where children will have the opportunity to experience learning and enhancing their skills in communication, finance, art, creativity, science, math, engineering, and more in one week!
What is Camp Invention? “Camp Invention is the only nationally recognized, non-profit summer enrichment program for kindergarteners through 6th graders that is inspired by the brightest thinkers around—the Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Children are empowered to have big ideas while they take on challenges that inspire them to question, brainstorm, collaborate with teammates, and build amazing invention prototypes in an environment with no wrong answers!”
What will my child do at Camp Invention? We asked Ms. Miller of Camp Invention who told us that “Camp Invention presents children with fun challenges that emphasize STEM, creative problem-solving, collaboration, and entrepreneurship through innovation. Its priority is to inspire future innovators and build their confidence in the natural ability to dream and create.” An interesting aspect of the program is that students will have the opportunity to learn naturally that ideas/inventions may fail completely, may need many tweaks until they work or may help be a springboard for new/better ideas! Some of the activities this summer include growing crystals, designing accessories with everyday products, starting a mock business, exploring energy with Bubble Blasters and more!
Why STEM? I recently took a tour of a STEM preschool with my husband and daughters. The first thing they talked about was that they opened their school because they wanted to fill the need for more access to STEM, exploration and discovery education for our students since a lot of instructional time is devoted to reading and writing in local schools. Camp Invention fills this void for a large age range of students!
Where are they located? Camp Invention is a well-established program located in every state in America. In Houston, there are programs to serve Tomball, Houston (inside the loop), Spring, The Woodlands, Katy and more. The locator on their website maps their programs instantly so you can view the multiple options within a small radius of your home. I liked that the camps are conveniently located, but in somewhat different areas than the “typical” places because I think it would provide a great opportunity to for children to meet new friends with similar interests.
When is Summer Camp? Camp Invention offers weeklong day camps in the summer in Houston! There are actually so many program locations, dates and themes available that you could potentially sign your child up for a few Camp Invention summer camps around town this summer and it would be still be fresh and new!
Who are Camp Invention programs designed for? It depends on your location, but nationally, they offer programs from PreK all the way to 12th grade! For now, programs in Houston are geared towards K-8th. If you have a 7th to 9th grader, they can even apply to be a Counselor in Training and practice leading and teaching at one of the camps for younger students! I am seriously so sad that Camp Invention isn’t available for preschoolers in Texas (yet!). I know that my little Ruthie would have a blast and learn a ton at a Camp Invention program – and I really haven’t heard of any other programs like it in our area!
By Mary West
About me: Mama, wife, daughter, sister, teacher/tutor. At our house, we love watching Shark Tank to discover invention and ingenuity!