Encouraging kids to invent new things or invent improvements to existing inventions not only improves their self-esteem, it helps boost their creativity, their visualization skills and their ability to think critically. Kids that invent have to think dynamically and be prepared to experiment.
One way to encourage children to invent is to assign them an invention project if you are a teacher. Use it as a follow-up activity to studying classical or Victorian inventors. Parents can get their kids involved in inventing on rainy days at home.
Homemade Light Bulb
Though Thomas Edison created the light bulb decades ago, this invention from Home Schooling may help children and students to understand how electricity works and travels. It can also be modified so that your child can create his or her own lighting system.
A homemade light bulb is made from a clear glass jar with a copper stopper, a six-volt dry cell battery, copper electrical wire, iron wire and some electrical tape. Electrical tape holds one piece of stripped copper wire to either terminal of the battery while the other end of each wire slips through two holes in the copper stopper. A piece of iron wire connects the copper wires under the copper stopper and the copper stopper fits snugly into the jar. The connection should create light. Jars painted with colored paints create stained glass lamps.
This invention works well for children of all ages, especially those who love to play outdoors but are tired of playing the same games. The child examines all of her sports equipment and thinks about how different items, like hockey sticks and a soccer ball, could be used together. The child picks the equipment she wants to use and experiments with several different ways of using it. For instance, she may hit the soccer ball with the hockey stick to get it to bounce through a suspended hula hoop. Perhaps she exchanges the soccer ball with a basketball or a large super ball to make this easier. Then, the child comes up with rules for playing the game, including what the goal of the game is, which areas are out of bounds and what the penalties are. Then she names the game.
Instead of sending all of your recyclables to the recycling center, let your child have a look at some of them. She can examine things like cardboard tubes, boxes, old silverware, wire and more. From this, he may make something that moves or create a new use for an old container. For example, she may use old plastic tubs and tubing to make a small garden watered through siphoning, eliminating the need to water the plants every day. She may also use old parts from broken bikes and skateboards to make a new kind of vehicle, though inventions like this should always be supervised. She may use those same parts to set up a pulley system between her window and the ground or a friend’s window next door after getting parents’ permission.