6 Brilliant Ways to Promote Kid Inventors in the Classroom
Inspire kids inventors in your classroom with these activities that look at the invention process, helping your students develop their own creative ideas.
Inspire kid inventors in your classroom with these activities that look at the invention process, helping your students develop their own creative ideas. Empower children who love to tinker, build and create develop and improve their own creative ideas.
Ways to Promote Kid Inventors in the Classroom
Inventors 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:
- Identify a problem or something that needs improving.
- Research the problem and get further ideas by talking to people who may use the final design.
- Brainstorm solutions using creative thinking and making connections.
- Devise an initial solution.
- Experiment and test invention.
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.
How to Facilitate The Design & Invention 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 invention 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.
- A Mighty Girl: 20 Women Inventors You Should Know
- Duckster: Biographies for Kids Scientists and Inventors
- ED Informatics: The Greatest Inventions of All Times
- Fact Monster: Inventions and Inventors
- Famous Scientists: Our Most Popular Scientists – Top 100
- National Inventors Hall of Fame: Search for an inventor’s biography
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.
- HuffPost: 9 Awesome Inventions Courtesy Of Kids' Fascinating Imaginations
- PBS Learning: Kid Inventor: The Collapsible Lacrosse Stick
- Smithsonian: Teenage Inventor Thinks Kids Have the Solutions to the World’s Problems
- Kids Invent Stuff: The YouTube channel where kids get their inventions made
3. Junk Modelling and the Invention Process
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 reflect, adapt and overcome challenges. With their end product, they will have a great sense of achievement.
- CBeebies: Make cool stuff with junk
- Education: Recycled Crafts
- Nature's Path: 19 Activities for Kids to Learn About Recycling
- PACEY: Benefits of junk modelling and non-directive play
- Sustainable Learning: Junk Modelling
4. Invent Your Own Game
Design a game or activity for friends or family to play. Think about if it is 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?
- Activity Village: Make Your Own Games
- Creative Kids at Home: Children's Games
- Instructables: Build Your Own Board Game
- PBS Kids: Design Squad Lesson Plans
- Wiki How: How to Invent a Game
5. Inventing Online
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 Inspiring Inventors
Browse Children’s Books about Inventors Perfect for Teaching STEM to take inspiration from a cast of creative characters and their invention process.
Inventors Month is every August but of course these steps can be followed any time, and so they should!
How do you inspire your students to experiment and take risks with their attitude to new tasks? Do you have any favourite picture books to promote an inventive attitude? Let me know in the comments below. I am always on the lookout for great invention related picture books. I will try and include them in a new list so let me know below if you have any suggestions.