At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), we want children to know their ideas matter and anything is possible! Even the youngest minds have the potential to come up with incredible innovations if given the encouragement and space for their thoughts to flourish. No problem is too small to solve, and no child is too young to come up with creative solutions that can make the world a better place.
We also want children to know their rights as creators. When a child comes up with an awesome idea, they should know it has value and that there are ways to protect it.
Exploring Intellectual Property at Camp Invention
Camp Invention®, NIHF’s nationwide summer camp for grades K-6, is designed to give children the guidance, encouragement and resources to bring their dynamic ideas to life. Campers take on inspiring problem-solving challenges and develop unique innovations in four all-new, hands-on experiences each summer.
From ideation to prototyping, campers gain valuable skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), intellectual property (IP) and entrepreneurship. By the end of the weeklong program, they are familiar with the power of patents and other kinds of IP, and they understand how and why they should take steps to protect their ideas.
It is important for young innovators to know that applying for a patent is not about hoarding one’s ideas; it’s about allowing inventors to share their ideas while protecting their hard work. A patent helps an inventor to prevent others from making, using or selling their invention without their permission, but it also provides an example or stepping stone for other innovators to potentially improve and build upon.
As children develop their own big ideas and build their IP knowledge at Camp Invention, they take inspiration from NIHF Hall of Famers and their world-changing, patented inventions.
Finding Innovation in the Ordinary
Of course, inventing and problem solving don’t have to stop when a child’s week at camp ends! Parents can help children find innovation in all that they do and continue to build the mindset of an inventor.
Kids should be reminded as they explore and develop new ideas that their creations don’t have to light up or move around to be useful. Even the simple things we use every day started as ideas intended to solve problems, from small, everyday inconveniences to big, worldwide challenges.
For an example of how kids’ ideas can become valuable IP and start a real business, just look to the story of Camp Invention alumni Ayaan and Mika’il Naqvi. This pair of brothers developed an Innovation Mindset™ through their hands-on experiences at camp, and when they noticed ornaments falling from their family’s tree during the holidays, they were inspired to invent a solution.
Ayaan and Mika’il invented the Ornament Anchor to protect these sentimental keepsakes. As they worked to communicate their idea and grow their business, the brothers filed a patent for the Ornament Anchor to protect their rights as creators. Now, they’ve sold more than 400,000 units of their product, and the Ornament Anchor has been featured on CNN and QVC! They prove that with persistence, IP knowledge and hard work, even the youngest innovators can create, patent and market inventions!
For a deeper dive, we invite you to read our entire blog series covering the ins and outs of all things IP. And to give your young inventor a hands-on introduction to invention and IP, sign up for a fun-filled week of Camp Invention!