6 Ways For Children to Celebrate Inventors Month

6 Ways For Children to Celebrate Inventors Month
8 Benefits to Reading With Children Every Day
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6 Ways For Children to Celebrate Inventors Month

Inventor’s Month is a great way to spark children’s curiosity and imagination. The United Inventors Association of the USA, the Academy of Applied Science and Inventors’ Digest magazine founded it in 1998. The month celebrates the people behind the many inventions we can’t live without. Inventors’ Digest says “We want to recognize those talented, brave individuals who dare to be blatantly creative, and therefore different, and whose accomplishments affect every facet of our lives.”

How Does an Inventor Design?

Inventors solve problems and improve our lives. They enjoy the process of creating, problem-solving and reflecting. Your child can do this too! First, they have to identify a problem and then create a unique solution. To work on their design, they would follow a design process like this:
  1. Identify a problem or something that needs improving.
  2. Research the problem and get further ideas by talking to people who may use the final design.
  3. Brainstorm solutions using creative thinking and making connections.
  4. Devise an initial solution.
  5. Experiment and test invention.
  6. Adapt, retest and learn from mistakes to improve the design.
Thinking of an idea is only one part of being a successful inventor. Positivity in the face of failure helps them improve their ideas. They learn from their mistakes and repeat the design process until they have a successful product. 

6 Ways For Children be an Inventor

Give the following activities a go and practice the different stages of the design process.

Though Bubble Idea for invention

How to Facilitate The Design Process

  • Ask open-ended questions – How could you make your life or the life of others better? What would happen if…? Why do you think this is happening? Is there anything you could do to improve the design?
  • Encourage reflection and work through problems with confidence and curiosity.
  • Discuss what happens once you have a completed design – How do patents work? Could you earn money from your invention?

1. Use Your Favourite Inventions as Inspiration

What are your favourite inventions? Research the inventor and find out about their process. How and why did they think of these ideas? What was their design process? Browse these links to discover more about inventors and their creations.

2. Be a Kid Inventor

Use the research from the previous activity as an inspiration for your own design. Spark your creativity by finding out about successful kid inventors below.

3. Junk Modelling

Provide ‘junk’ for children to explore, build, tinker, reflect and adapt. Experimenting with discarded items uses lateral thinking and maths, design and visualisation skills. As they continue to work, they will have to reflection, adapt and overcome challenges. With their end product, they will have a great sense of achievement.

4. Invent a Your Own Game

Design a game or activity for friends or family to play. Think about is it going to be an indoor or outdoor, active or sitting game? Does it need lots of space or just a table? Is it too complicated or too easy? How can it be improved? Submit it to the competition “Young Games Inventor 2018” (Closing date 1st Nov 2018).

5. Inventing Online

Create Laptop Inventors
Use coding websites to design games and stories. This selection of free websites introduces coding for children (and adults). Most provide opportunities for children to design their own activities.
  • Code: A non-profit organisation providing a free curriculum for children to learn to code. Comes with instructions and teacher notes.
  • Code Avengers: Online courses to teach programming, problem-solving, computer, and maths skills
  • Crunchzilla: A fun introduction to programming concepts with interactive tutorials
  • Daisy the Dinosaur App: Learn the basics of coding. Free app with a drag and drop interface
  • Hopscotch App: Learn to code and make your own games
  • Khan Academy: Computer programming activities
  • Kodable App: Coding curriculum for elementary students (Ages 4-11)
  • Scratch: Create stories, games, and animations. Created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab

6. Read About Creative Characters

Browse the Invention and Engineering book list to take inspiration from a cast of creative characters. I have picked out four of my favourites below.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

"When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.” Dial Books

Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones

"Izzy Gizmo's inventions are marvelous, magnificent... and often malfunction. But when she finds a crow with a broken wing, she has to help! Izzy tries again and again to build a new pair of wings, but nothing is working. Can Izzy overcome her failures? Or is her friend destined to live as a crow who can't fly?” Peachtree Publishers

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

"The girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!? But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.” Kids Can Press

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

"Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she's a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her Great, Great Aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal--to fly--Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt's dream come true. Her invention complete, Rosie attempts a test flight--but after a moment, the machine crashes to the ground. Discouraged, Rosie deems the invention a failure, but Aunt Rose insists that on the contrary, it was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. Reassured, Rosie returns to her engineering and inspires her classmates to join in the fun.” Abrams Books for Young Readers

*Disclosure: Amazon, Book Depository buttons are affiliate links. I will earn a small percentage of any purchases made. It won’t cost you anything!

6 Ways For Children to Celebrate Inventors Month
6 Ways For Children to Celebrate Inventors Month

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