Smithsonian and Cricket Media Launch the 10th Annual Spark!Lab Dr. InBae Yoon Invent It Challenge for Kids Worldwide

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, January 19, 2021 / — On November 23, 2020, Smithsonian launched the 10th annual global Spark!Lab Dr. InBae and Mrs. Kyung Joo Yoon Invent It Challenge. Today, in celebration of Kid Inventors’ Day, Cricket Media, in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, honors the critical role children play in sparking innovation worldwide. The Invent It Challenge offers eligible children the opportunity to showcase their creative thinking on a global stage. Thanks to the generosity of the Yoon family, winners of the annual Challenge in each category will participate in a multi-day visit to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. (USA), during which they will undertake invention collaborations and get an exclusive look at the Museum’s invention collections. Individual students, entire classrooms, schools, and other organizations serving children between the ages of 5-18 are encouraged to participate. 

This year’s Challenge invites kids to become “game-changing” inventors who transform how we play and engage with sports. Young inventors are guided to think critically about sports from different perspectives and solve challenging problems: what inventions are needed to make sports more fun and accessible to people of all abilities, ensure fairness in competition, ensure the safety and health of athletes, and push athletes to greater heights and achievement? “Educating and inspiring the next generation of inventors requires access to role models and learning resources that share how real-life problems are tackled and solved,” says Laura Woodside, Senior Vice President Education Products at Cricket Media. “We are proud to once again join with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center and Spark!Lab to empower students across the globe to make a real difference in the world.”

The 2020 Challenge theme was “how to improve access to healthy food,” and participants were challenged to create an invention that improved access to healthy food by changing how it is produced, distributed, selected, stored, and prepared, as well as made more affordable. Hundreds of children ages 5-18 participated in the Challenge, and winning inventions included a ship that uses reverse osmosis and hydroponics to safely and scalably grow healthy food in urban ports, a stacking device that helps protect food in transit and a disposable utensil made from avocado stone that simultaneously reduces waste and seeds new plants in the environment. “Inventive habits of mind – which include curiosity, resourcefulness, resilience, risk-taking, and comfort with complexity and ambiguity – cut across all domains and disciplines and aren’t constrained by gender, age, or any other variable. The creativity of the Invent It Challenge winners points the way to a more inventive future for all.” says Sharon Klotz, Lemelson Center’s Head of Invention Education.

 The Spark!Lab Dr. InBae Yoon Invent It Challenge requires students to follow seven key steps in the invention process: identifying the problem, conducting research, sketching their ideas, building a prototype, testing the product, refining it, and communicating about it to potential users. The process helps to cultivate and reinforce process skills underlying inquiry, creativity, and innovation as well as content themes across science, technology, engineering, math, the arts, history, economics, and other domains. The deadline for submitting inventions to the Challenge is April 17, 2021. A panel of Smithsonian and Cricket Media judges will select winners. For complete entry guidelines and Official Rules, visit


Cricket Media, Inc. is a global education company providing award-winning content and safe and secure collaborative learning networks. Cricket Media serves millions of teachers, students and parents in over 200 countries and territories to fulfill its mission to engage, enlighten and educate children everywhere. Learn more at

Spark!Lab is a hands-on invention activity space operated by the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Lemelson Center engages, educates, and empowers the public to participate in technological, economic, and social change. Through historical research, educational initiatives, exhibitions, and public programming the Centers advances new perspectives on invention and innovation and fosters interactions between the public and inventors. For more information, please visit

Laura Woodside
Cricket Media
+1 703-885-3417
email us here