Smithsonian and Cricket Media Launch the 9th Annual Spark!Lab Dr. InBae Yoon Invent It Challenge for Kids Worldwide

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, January 17, 2020 / — On December 6th, 2019, Smithsonian launched the 9th annual global Spark!Lab Dr. InBae and Mrs. Kyung Joo Yoon Invent It Challenge. Today, in celebration of Kid Inventor’s Day, Cricket Media, in partnership with the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, honors the important role children play in sparking innovation worldwide and calls for entries to the Challenge. The Challenge offers eligible children from around the world the opportunity to showcase their creative thinking on a global stage and, 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.

“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.”

— Laura Woodside, Senior VP- Education Products, Cricket Media

This year’s challenge invites kids to think about challenges people face in accessing healthy food and then design real-world solutions that improve people’s access to it. Young inventors are guided to create solutions by thinking critically about how food is produced, packaged, stored, distributed, and consumed. “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 theme for the 2019 Challenge was “the daily lives of older adults,” and participants were challenged to create an invention that enhanced or improved the daily lives of older adults, such as helping them increase their mobility or enjoy the benefits of social engagement. More than 560 children ages 5-18 participated in the Challenge, and winning inventions included a virtual companion that allows distant family members to spend time together, a cane that unfolds into a step-stool to assist with reaching objects, and a smart-garden for indoors that improves mood and memory while also providing fresh food. “The Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center believes that everyone is inventive – especially kids,” says Sharon Klotz, Head of Education at the Lemelson Center. “The Invent It Challenge is a great opportunity for students to develop their original ideas and be recognized for their creative problem-solving abilities.”

The Spark!Lab Dr. InBae Yoon Invent It Challenge requires students to follow seven key steps in the invention process, including: identifying the problem, conducting research, sketching their ideas, building a prototype, testing the product, refining it, and marketing it to potential users. The process helps to cultivate and reinforce modern skills such as the use of digital technologies, and also meets several learning standards. A panel composed of Smithsonian and Cricket Media judges will select winners. The deadline for submitting inventions to the Challenge is April 10, 2020. For complete entry guidelines and Official Rules, visit:


ABOUT CRICKET MEDIA 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

ABOUT SPARK!LAB 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
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