Special Awareness Days

January 17th - Kid Inventors' Day


January 17th celebrates the birthday of one of the world’s greatest kid inventors— Benjamin Franklin, who, at the age of 11, invented the world’s first swim flippers! This unofficial special day was created to celebrate kids’ creative thinking and the practical ideas they can invent to solve everyday problems.

Did you know that kids invented the following items?

  • the snowmobile
  • popsicles
  • earmuffs
  • silly putty
  • braille
  • the microscope
  • the trampoline
  • paper bags

For more information, check out https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/kid-inventors-day/

Activity Bursts:

Grades K-2

Creative Thinking, Problem-Solving, The Arts

Ask the students to tell you what the word invention means. Share some of the inventions that were created by kids. (See list above)

Select one (or more) of the simple problems below and have a class discussion about inventions that might solve it.

For example, what could students invent that would…

  • help wash a pet dog without getting wet?
  • prevent the cereal from coming out too fast and spilling all over the table?
  • make soup cooler so that it wouldn’t burn your mouth when you eat it?

Feel free to add other ideas!

Share the suggestions and have the students draw their invention. Post under a “Young Inventors” banner. If it is practical, try making the most popular device! 

Grades 3-5

Science, Technology, Creative Thinking

Share the information in the introduction. Explain that anyone could invent something new if they really wanted to.

Explain that often, inventions come from trying to solve a problem that gets people thinking, ‘There must be a better way to do this!’

Ask students to either select one of the invention ideas below or to think of something that would be a cool invention.

For example, what could students invent that would…

  • make it easier for astronauts to eat their food in zero gravity?
  • help you clean up your room faster?
  • make school buses safer for kids (besides wearing seatbelts)?

Ask each student to create a design and instructions for use. Then invite them to share their ideas with the class.

Grades 6-8

Science, Technology, Creative Thinking, Media Literacy

Share the information in the Introduction above. Ask students what qualities they might need in order to create a new invention.

Explain that inventions often come out of a need. For example, the umbrella was invented to keep the rain off your head; the wheelchair was invented to help people who couldn’t walk; the telescope was invented so that astronomers could get a closer look at our solar system. Inventions come from someone’s creative idea and they are designed to make our world better.

Invite the students to come up with an invention that would make life easier.

Here are the guidelines:

  1. What problem or need are you addressing and how will your invention make a difference?
  2. Give your invention a name.
  3. Prepare a detailed drawing, illustration, or computer-generated image of your invention.
  4. Prepare and give a 1-2 minute presentation to market your invention to your clients (the class) and allow your audience to ask questions.

Following the presentations, discuss:

  • What improvements do you think are needed in order to make your invention better?
  • What would be the next steps for you if you wanted to market your invention?

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