There is no age limit when it comes to innovation and inventing. There’s a long history of amazing things being invented by kids including Christmas lights, the trampoline, popsicles and even Superman!
I spoke to Alicia who is the Director of The Young Inventor Challenge (YIC). The YIC is a public game and toy fair stemming from the annual Chicago Toy and Game Week (ChiTAG). Alicia, “The YIC is a place for kids to bring the toys and games they have invented and share them with others, and have them seen by some of the top toy companies in the world!”
ChiTAG Week is an exciting event that shares the latest and greatest innovations in toys and games and your 6 -18 year old can join them! “We encourage kids to think in all categories…board games, craft activities, active games, outdoor games, toys, educational games, plush … we want to see the craziest, most creative idea they can come up with.”
What began 14 years ago as part of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, has seen it all. “from card games to new kinds of jump ropes, and everything in between.” Alicia told me. “We see more board games than anything else. The past few years we have had toy and game companies publish one or two of the winning games each year! It is very exciting for kids to have their games make it to store shelves. Imagine going into Target and seeing a game idea you came up with selling thousands of copies to kids all over the country.”
There are two YIC challenges this year; Spring and Fall. The spring challenge deadline ends June 15, 2020 and is online only. The fall challenge deadline ends November 21, 2020 and will include both online and/or in-person challenge at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair on November 21, 2020.
If you’re a parent at home and want to learn more about it (and worried about it taking up a lot of your time) don’t worry. “Parents can download our “Inventor Handbook” and encourage their kids to walk through the design process with the suggested activities. “They can help out by providing materials for their kids to “tinker ” with and use to create toys, games and prototypes.”
And if you’ve got 2 or more kids, collaboration can be best when it comes to inventions! Also keep the cost low. Inventing materials are all around us. “Materials don’t need to be expensive… just reusable items around the house, corks, paper towel rolls, cardboard, markers, maybe even borrow pieces from other games!”
The event brings together talented mentors and professionals from the toy and game industry, volunteering their time and expertise in guiding the YIC entrants. Sponsored by Mattel, Scholastic, Magformers, ASTRA, and with many representatives from the toy industry on hand, the fun event is also a learning experience with their judges being YIC mentors. Visit https://www.chitag.com/yic to get started!
Story by: Cassandra Munoz
Photo credits: chitag.com