Hands-On Learning Leads to Extraordinary Accomplishments

When children make discoveries through hands-on experiences, those discoveries are meaningful and memorable. Support from National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Annual Fund donors allows NIHF education programs to provide children with hands-on learning materials that make such discoveries possible.

Compared to passive learning methods like listening to lectures or watching presentations, active learning methods are not only more engaging but also proven to be far more effective at promoting knowledge retention.

Every year, NIHF develops a new Camp Invention® program and uses high-quality learning materials to bring the program to life. The materials provided include exciting take-home items like robots as well as basic creative supplies like markers, scissors and glue.

By providing funding for all the necessary supplies, Annual Fund donors ensure equitable experiences for campers nationwide. As they collaborate and create at camp, children develop the 21st-century skills they will need to thrive in the future, and they do it in the most impactful way possible — learning by doing.

Treandos Thornton is one camper among millions who can attest to the power of hands-on experiences and materials at Camp Invention.


Gaining Confidence Through Experience

When he was 5, Camp Invention alum Treandos Thornton noticed his father Treandos L. Thornton trying on a few bow ties, and he felt inspired. “I told my mom that I like those bow ties on him,” Treandos said in an interview with NIHF. “So I asked my mom if I could start a bow tie business, and she said yes.”

Now 9, Treandos has grown his business, T&N Bow Ties and Apparel, into a company that offers many stylish designs and has been featured by local and even national news. What he likes most is how fashion has the power to help people feel more confident. “I think my bow ties give people magic powers that encourage bravery,” he said.

Treandos and his family credit Camp Invention with boosting his confidence as well as his entrepreneurship skills.

For the past three years, Treandos has enjoyed hands-on learning opportunities at Camp Invention. This has included sketching invention ideas, building and testing prototypes, creating product marketing campaigns, and developing and delivering powerful pitches — all made possible by using the hands-on materials provided by the program.

His mother, Shana Thornton, appreciates how the program has given Treandos practical entrepreneurial experience. “I love it because it’s partnering the love and passion that he already has but it’s taking it to the next level,” she said.

“Camp Invention helped me to speak in front of people,” said Treandos. Developing this skill has helped him talk about his business with others.

Through hands-on experience, children like Treandos prove their own potential to themselves. When they see what they can accomplish with all the activities and materials provided at camp, they gain the confidence to build new skills, express their ideas and accomplish their goals.

Because of these positive experiences, Treandos’ 6-year-old brother Noah (whom he recently promoted to president of his company) plans to join him at Camp Invention. "I am proud to see the boys thriving in their purpose,” their father said. “Education and exposure are key.”

Beyond growing his business, Treandos is passionate about encouraging budding entrepreneurs. With his podcast, Business Tips with Treandos, he highlights other young business owners. He says, “Kids out there, you can be whatever you want to be, so just believe in yourself.”

Shana agrees and says, “It’s important to listen more to kids and see them as the empowering and magical people they are.”


Help More Children Discover Their Magic

With both his growing business and his commitment to encouraging other children to pursue their dreams, Treandos demonstrates how profoundly hands-on learning can shape a child’s confidence and persistence, as well as their skills.

Your Annual Fund gift will make confidence-boosting, hands-on activities and materials available to Camp Invention participants across the country.

Use the link below and select “Area of Greatest Need/Annual Fund” as the program you would like to support to help make these wonderful experiences possible for more children.

When you give today, you can change tomorrow.