What do trampolines, braille and fairy lights have in common? They were invented by children!
The 17th of January is Kid Inventors Day, so we thought this would be the perfect time to tell you a little bit about it, and why it is a valuable occasion to celebrate with your kids.
What is Kid Inventors’ Day?
Kid Inventors’ Day is a day to acknowledge the contribution and accomplishments of child inventors and celebrate the ingenuity and value of our youngest creators.
It is celebrated on the 17th of January and commemorates the earliest known kid inventor Benjamin Franklin’s birthday, in honour of his invention of the first swim fins/ flippers almost 300 years ago, when he was 12 years old.
Why should I Celebrate Kid Inventors’ Day with my child?
Kid Inventors’ Day is a brilliant way to start a dialogue with your child about the incredible things kids have accomplished, and the unique value they add to our society. It is important to recognise kids’ contributions and encourage their creativity through conversations like these to inspire them to think outside the box.
Many children and adults alike have no idea that children are responsible for the invention of things we use in everyday life, like earmuffs and ice blocks, and it can be exciting and confidence-boosting for children to learn that kids just like them have created some incredible things.
How can I Celebrate Kid Inventor’s Day with my child?
Celebrating Kid Inventors’ Day is all about bringing out your child’s creativity by supporting their inventions and designs, so you can absolutely let them lead the way. Some children will come up with hundreds of ideas on their own, some will just need the resources to be provided and others will require more structured activities to engage with their innovative side.
Here are some of our Choklits-approved suggestions for activities you can do with your child to encourage them to invent and innovate.
Make a marble or ping pong ball run
Collect paper towel rolls, dominoes, cardboard boxes, tunnels or flat panels to create ramps and channels for a ball to roll through. You can adjust this activity to be age appropriate with the size of the ball (larger for younger children and smaller for those who are older) and the level of assistance you provide in making the course.
Create an insect hotel out of natural materials in the garden
You can make an insect hotel free-form in a spot in the garden, or in a box or container with ventilation holes, depending on what suits your situation. Collect materials like sticks, branches, leaves and bark to create a cosy home for insects to enjoy. To attract critters like lady beetles and bees, try placing a shallow dish of sugar water (a jar lid works perfectly for this) in or beside your hotel and wait for the bugs to come!
Invent a new board game
This one is more suited to slightly older kids, kindy age and up, as it requires more advanced thinking skills. They can design a new game board for a game they already love, or create an entirely new game with their own rules for play. The opportunities are endless, and all they need is paper and pens!
Design an obstacle course
Encourage your child to use items in and around your home to create an obstacle course inside or outside. You can prompt them to think divergently and encourage them to problem solve by posing questions like “can you get to the other side without touching the floor?” or “can you do it on your tip toes?”.
Make play dough
Play dough is a tried and true favourite of children, and you can reinvent it to be like new by adding extra materials, like beads and paddle pop sticks to open a whole new world of possibilities for creations.
Putting together an inventors box is simple; all you have to do is find items around the house – paper towel/ toilet paper rolls, scrap paper, egg cartons, boxes, buttons, ribbons, paints, glue, sticky tape and then give your child free reign to create whatever their heart desires. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with!
Things to Keep in Mind when Inventing
- Inventing and letting kid’s creativity run wild is tons of fun, but it is important to keep safety in mind. Always monitor any sharp or small objects, and opportunities for injury (like falls) and make sure the activities and materials provided are age appropriate for your child.
- Acknowledge the value of your child’s ideas, no matter how trivial or bizarre, and encourage them to pursue their path of interest.
- Celebrate their creations by providing praise and joining in if possible, and show how proud you are of their efforts by putting a photo on the fridge, or calling grandparents to let them show off what they’ve made.
- Remember that the benefit of an inventive activity is in the doing, not the result, and encourage your child to enjoy and engage with the journey as well.
Kid Inventors’ Day is all about trying new things and having fun! We’d love to hear from you and your little ones about what they’ve invented recently; tell us about your creations when we see you next at Choklits Child Care Centre.