Get Ready to Invent Something for the Invent It! Challenge

Go ahead and get your kids thinking about a real world health problem because the Invent It! Challenge is back and better than ever! This 5th annual challenge, a partnership between Cricket Media and the Smithsonian Institution is launching on January 15, 2016 and kids from ages 5 to 21 are invited to participate.


To enter the Invent It! Challenge, kids can work individually or in groups to identify a real-world health problem and create their very own solution to the problem. Each invention must demonstrate all seven of the Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab Key Steps of the Invention Process:


Step One: Think it

Invention is all about solving problems, so your first step is to identify a health problem or challenge you want to work on. Look around you – what health challenges do you see at school or in your community? Ask friends, teachers, family members, or even your doctor or a nurse, about health issues that are important to them. Make a list, and choose the one that you want to help solve.


Step Two: Explore it

If you’ve identified a health problem that affects many people around you (or even around the world), you’re probably not the first inventor to try to solve it! Do some research to learn how others have addressed the problem. What do you like about their solutions, and what do you think you can improve? Think about what your invention will do, who it will be for, and how it will be different from any of the other inventions you read about.”


Step Three: Sketch it

Once you have a basic plan for your invention, make some simple sketches of your idea to show how it might work. Sketching helps you get the idea out of your head and onto paper where you can really see it.


Step Four: Create it

For many inventors, this is the most fun part of the invention process! This is where you create a prototype, or model, of your invention. Using your sketches as a guide, build a prototype. Creating your prototype will help make your ideas visible to others.


Step Five: Try it

Once your prototype is finished, ask friends, teachers, parents, and neighbors to try it or review it. It’s even better if you test it with someone who is affected by or interested in the health challenge you’re trying to solve. What suggestions do they have for making your invention better?


Step Six: Tweak it

Tweak it Using the feedback you got in the Try It step, identify ways you can improve your invention. Keep working on your idea!


Step Seven: Sell it

Once you’ve created your invention, you want people to start using it! How will you convince others to try your invention? Think about your target audience. Then create a “fact sheet” or a video or a written pitch about your invention. What health problem does it solve? Who should actually use it? How does it work? How is it different from other inventions? Answer these questions to explain how your invention will lead to a healthier future!


You should also have your child check out the videos submitted by previous winners to get a good idea of how other kids took on the Invent It! Challenge. And be sure to look for more blog posts here featuring tips, inspiration, and information that might make the process even more enjoyable and productive.


Also, be sure to check out the Invent It! Challenge homepage on January 15, 2016 to view the Scoring Guide for this contest and the Official Rules which set forth entry details, deadlines and eligibility requirements.


We can’t wait to see the real world heath challenges our young inventors solve this year. We know we’ve got some of the world’s best minds on the case.