Parents and teachers who encourage kids to use their imagination and invent are helping them develop crucial skills for the future.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Kids have come up with innovative ideas for inventions that include turning snack-food bags into insulation, a crayon holder for those small bits of crayon, a patented-idea to make toys from recycled materials, and a simpler and cleaner way to cook bacon in the microwave.
With so many advances in artificial intelligence and technology, new generations will need critical thinking, visualization and problem-solving skills. They will also need to be creative, adapt rapidly to change and be open to learning new things.
Kids working in science and classrooms around the world learn these skills by teachers helping and instructing them to come up with creative solutions to problems as part of a science or school project. Some of these assignments are now products people can buy. Every single child has the potential to invent something that can change the world, just like these kids did with their inventions.
Inventions with Garbage
In 2016, a group of seventh and eighth graders from Florida set out to develop a new material that would put an end to the build-up of chip snack bags in landfills. Chip bags aren’t recyclable because they contain plastic, so they used them to come up with a new type of insulation material made from shredded and sanitized chip bags, calling it Chipsulation. The new material, which won several awards, oftentimes proves more effective than commonly used insulation materials.
Inventions with Old Craft Materials
Nothing is more frustrating than seeing crayons break into small pieces. Once they are tiny bits, small children can’t grab them with their little fingers. Cassidy Goldstein was using crayons for a school project and was sick and tired of seeing them snap all the time, so she came with a solution: a crayon holder. Goldstein searched through her craft box and found a small plastic tube. She placed the crayon inside the tube and started drawing again. She decided to work on a prototype for a crayon holder and in 2002 applied for a patent. Her invention is available in retail stores and sells for about $1 apiece.
Inventions with Everyday Items
Robert W. Patch was only 5 years old when he used boxes, nails and bottle caps to build a truck. His father saw the potential and filed for a patent. Patch was the youngest person ever to receive a U.S. patent. His invention is a toy truck that turns into a flatbed or a dump truck. He didn’t make a cent out of the toy he designed, but his imagination is a testament to what children can do when they have the freedom to explore.
Inventions with Food
Abbey Fleck and her dad love bacon. They often cooked it together when Abbey was only 8 years old, but they always encountered the same problems: how to cook bacon that’s not soaked in fat, and how to remove the fat without using paper towels? Abbey thought that if she cooked the bacon vertically in the microwave the problem would end, and she was right. Her kitchen gadget has a handle, three removable bars and a bowl. You can find Abbey’s invention featured in magazines, newspaper and websites.
About the Author
Gabriella Munoz is a freelance writer based in Melbourne. She was the editor of Science Illustrated Australia. She has written for many international science publications, including Muy Interesante, ScienceAlert and Wonder of Science. Gabriella has been teaching science communication to undergraduate students since 2017.