How to Help Your Child Invent

There are many things you can do to help your child during this process. The most important thing you can do to help your child is to support and encourage them. Inventing is full of failed experiments, but that is part of the process. Experiments fail all of the time and it's to be expected that your child's first invention probably won't work the first time. If it does great! But if it doesn't, help them learn from there experience, and have them try again and again. All inventors fail, but why they succeed is because they don't give up.

Inventing is fun and exciting and when kids are given the right environment and the right direction, support and encouragement they can do great things. Another way to help your child is to feed their ideas and questions. Don't solve the problem for them, ask the questions that make them think and figure out the solutions to their problems. They will need to be able to explain their ideas, how their invention works and this is where you can help. When they have an idea, ask them how it works, ask them to tell you, ask them to show you. This is great preparation for the Invention Convention itself and it helps them with the process. Plus it's fun to watch kids when you ask them questions and you can watch the wheels turning as they figure out the answers.

Your approach is very important. Avoid "that won't work" or "it can't be done," instead ask them to show you or tell you how it will work. The benefits that kids learn from this experience are immeasurable and long-lasting. Self esteem, optimism, creativity, and problem solving skills are all things that they will develop and grow during this process.

About The Invention Convention

For over 15 years now, The Invention Convention and Just Think Inc. have been making a positive impact in children's lives and in the community. Like you, we believe your children are capable of great things. What we do is help unlock your child's potential by encouraging their curiosity and their creativity and provide opportunities to shine. We recognize and reward your child's achievements. Past participants have appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, on Nickelodeon's Figure it out, Ellen, on local news shows, and coming in November - Montel. That is in addition to the many prizes that we give away. We've given over $650,000 in college scholarships to date.

By participating in The Invention Convention, your child will learn invaluable problem solving skills that will benefit them for their entire lives. Kids enjoy creating and have a lot of fun participating in this program. The added benefits are the skills, self confidence, and self esteem that they learn along the way. Soon we will be adding video clips of what parents, teachers and kids have to say about the Invention Convention.

There is no cost to your child, school or teacher to participate, we have wonderful partners and sponsors that cover all of the costs of the materials and prizes. We help kids get started, provide teachers with materials, and together they do the rest. Inventing is fun, and with the right support and encouragement, children can do amazing things. Did you know that Becky Schroeder invented the glo-sheet when she was just 10 years old?

This section of the website was designed to assist you in helping your kids with this program. Your encouragement will do wonders. One part of inventing is 'failing,' and parents are the ones who can lift their kids up when they fall. Experiments don't always work, but the purpose is to learn from 'failed' experiments. Thomas Edison 'failed' thousands of times before he invented the light bulb, the important thing is that he didn't give up, and that he learned from each trial. Your kids will 'fail,' it's a part of the process, but if they have the right support and encouragement, they will try again, and that is one of the most important life lessons that they can learn.

Another way to look at it is if Edison had invented the light bulb on the first try, the story wouldn't be nearly as exciting. His perseverance is a lesson to all of us, because as the saying goes, sometimes "great challenges are what make great men and great women." Thomas Edison himself said, "Why, I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

There are tremendous benefits to your child above and beyond the recognition and prizes. The Invention Convention builds self-esteem, resilience, and optimism in your child, and all of these characteristics help people live happy lives. Unlocking creativity, developing problem solving skills, and expanding their thinking process are all crucial skills for kids to master.

We've seen what kids can do, kids of all ages, and backgrounds. Your child could be the next Invention Convention winner, be inducted into the young inventors' hall of fame, or just have fun and learn some valuable skills along the way. Every inventor is a winner because they have done something, made something better. Inventors are do-ers not just talkers. 

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Things to remember:

Inventing is usually a series of experiments - 'failed experiments.' When kids understand that a failed experiment isn't a reflection on them, but a part of the process, they become resilient and strengthen their sense of self. Tests fail, experiments fail - it doesn't mean that the person has. People learn from experience (often mislabeled as 'mistakes'), when really they are steps in the learning and innovation process. "White-out" was a mistake, Teflon was a mistake, trying is not a mistake.

The Invention Convention is a proven tool to exercise the mind that teaches kids to think. It helps kids learn, and learn to solve problems. And it is a fun exercise. This program not only energizes the gifted and talented students but it can help reach the hard to reach students. The competition inspires, nurtures and energizes while it teaches and rewards. Watching a child describe an idea they created is magical. Every student who participates in the Invention Convention is already a winner and receives participation certificates and ribbons. Each student talks with two adult Honorary Judges which is a brief moment that creates a lifelong memory for the child, parents, grandparents and siblings. For a few weeks in the child's life, their imagination and ideas take center stage within their family and the child is celebrated for what they have dreamed up.

The project has many partners and our objective is to make the Invention Convention fun and effortless. For schools, the project is "Turn Key" as we supply all materials for use in the classroom including lesson planning guides for teachers. Any child can be an inventor and The Invention Convention can bring out the best in kids. We encourage kids to think and to dream, and if they win the $2,500 grand prize college scholarship, then we can help to make their dreams come true.