FAQs for Parents

Find answers to parents’ and caregivers’ most frequently asked questions about National Inventors Hall of Fame® education programs.

Camp Invention FAQs

Camp Invention® is a nationally acclaimed summer program where children in grades K-6 build confidence, persistence and creative problem-solving skills through fun, hands-on invention education. Led by qualified educators, this program has tapped into children’s natural curiosity since 1990, giving them the opportunity to become creators, innovators and entrepreneurs.

We have developed Camp Invention with safety in mind. Programs will follow state and local CDC guidelines to help provide a healthy, safe and fun environment.

Please check out our Camp Invention page for a sample schedule. Newsletters recapping each day’s experiences will also be listed on our Parent Resource Center as they become available.

During each day of camp, families sign their children in at Base Camp, where they join their designated age group for a warm-up activity to kick off the day. Campers rotate through two experiences in the morning, then break for lunch and outdoor games (weather permitting). In the afternoon, children regroup for two more exciting experiences before ending the day at Base Camp for one more problem-solving challenge. Families then sign their children out at pickup, and the inventing can continue at home!

To switch your program location, please call our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332 at least six weeks prior to the camp start date. There is no additional cost to change locations, but if a higher price is associated with your new program site, you will be responsible for paying the difference.

Children are grouped based on total program participants and grade. Program experiences have primary and intermediate versions to accommodate for different grade levels.

Collaboration is a key component of the invention process, and children will have opportunities throughout each day to share ideas and make new friends! Groups are assigned by grade level, and children will work with peers to build imaginative inventions and lasting friendships.

It's common for a child to be nervous or hesitant at first — that’s OK! Our experiences are designed to be immersive and engaging, getting even our most shy campers excited to share ideas and make new friends. By the end of the week, they won’t want it to be over!

Some of the program experiences can involve outdoor fun; however, this depends upon the host site property and current weather conditions. At no time will children leave the program location.

Camp Invention maintains a Program Team Member-to-child ratio of 1:8.

Camp Invention combines teamwork with the need to work independently at times. Participants should have the basic skills to be self-sufficient, adhere to the behavior policy and be willing to participate in the imaginative, creative process with peers. We produce a high-energy experience that at times can be noisy and highly stimulating. Attendees will rotate rooms and Instructors throughout the day for each experience, which can vary from a typical single classroom/teacher setting. Please keep in mind that locations hosting summer/after-hours programs do not have the same personnel and tools available as they would during the school year. Nurses, special education assistants, aides, etc., are not on site unless a parent or guardian arranges an approved accommodation beforehand based on their individual child’s needs.

If you would like to speak with someone to determine if Camp Invention is a good fit for your child, please contact us at 800-968-4332 a minimum of eight weeks prior to the start date of the program. If assistance is requested, we will provide you with a form to submit any necessary information and then work with you to identify reasonable accommodations if available. While a request cannot be guaranteed, all accommodation inquiries will be reviewed for safety and program integrity.

When a location signs on with us, we send an email to all the families that attended the year before to announce that the program is returning. This email is typically sent within a few days of the location signing on with us. Keep an eye out for this email, as it contains exciting information about the brand-new program! We also encourage you to check our Program Locator regularly to see if your location has returned.

Some locations fill up faster than others, and we cannot hold spots without full payment. If your desired program is full, you are encouraged to consider other locations available in your area or sign up for Camp Invention Connect®, offering an at-home experience for children across the U.S. throughout the summer. If an in-person format is preferred, your child can be placed on a waitlist at the time of registration.

If an in-person opening does become available at a sold-out location, our Customer Relations Team will call and email parents of children on the waitlist in order of registration date. Once you are contacted, you will be given a designated timeframe in which to call us back with your full payment before the next child on the waitlist is offered a spot.

Some of our program materials may contain latex or gluten. If your child has a severe allergy to either of these, please contact our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332 to discuss alternative items children may be able to use during the program. However, we are unable to provide any guarantee of “gluten or latex free” products due to the possibility of secondary contamination outside our control, including items participants bring to in-person programs from home that could potentially cause an allergic reaction.

In the case of a severe allergic reaction, Program Team Members will follow emergency procedures for treatment. If your child has severe allergies, please indicate the specifications during registration. If your child needs medication during the program, please provide the necessary information during registration and bring the medication in its original container with a signed physician’s note (if prescription), the approved administrator and instructions.

All medication must be delivered in its original container with instructions and a physician’s note (if prescription), and it will be administered by a preauthorized individual designated by you. No Program Team Member is permitted to dispense medication except in the case of the administration of an epinephrine injector (learn more about these situations below). We will, however, remind children when it is time to take their medication and supervise them as they take it, so long as you have authorized self-administration. If you are not comfortable with your child self-administering their medication, you or a preauthorized individual are welcome to come to the site to dispense the medication when necessary.

Parents or guardians of participants with severe allergies requiring an epinephrine injector should select YES in the epinephrine injector section when registering their child. The Director must be trained by the parent or guardian in the administration of epinephrine, and arrangements should be made before the program start date. For any additional questions, please call our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332.

Many locations offer an Extended Day experience at Camp Invention, which will appear as an option when registering. Exciting activities will be available during these extra hours to help accommodate families’ busy schedules. Additionally, some sites may provide before- and after-hours options using a local source. This information will be listed under participating locations on the Registration page, or you may contact our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332 with any questions.

It is important to remember that children must be dropped off and picked up inside the scheduled hours of a program. Repeat occurrences of pickups or drop-offs outside program hours are subject to attendance restrictions and/or additional fees.

As a nonprofit, the National Inventors Hall of Fame allocates the funds paid for your child’s registration far in advance for the materials and Program Team Members needed for your child’s program experience. Due to this, Camp Invention is unable to prorate the cost for the days your child cannot attend. However, our program experiences are designed to be flexible and progressive, so children can continue building upon their inventions at home.

To register for Camp Invention, select the Register for Camp Invention button in the upper right-hand corner. You will be directed to the search page where you can search for programs in your area. You can also give our Customer Relations Team a call at 800-968-4332 and we will be happy to assist!

Upon registration, you should receive a confirmation email with a link to the Parent Resource Center for helpful information about how to prepare for your camp. We will also send you an email with program reminders about one to two weeks prior to your start date.

If you have not received an email from us inside this time frame, check other folders besides your inbox, such as the “Promotions” tab in Gmail, and make sure to save [email protected] as an email contact so that messages from this address will not be marked as spam. If you still don’t see our communications, please contact our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332 so we can verify your correct email address is on file and you did not unsubscribe from our communications. Additionally, your local Director may contact families closer to the first day of your program if there are further details specific only to your site.

Send your child on a fun scavenger hunt around the house to search for shareable upcycle items to be used at camp for prototyping. Good upcycle items include boxes, tubes, craft items, old toys or games and miscellaneous paper. Attendees should not bring anything of personal value. Do not bring batteries, cords, glass, glitter, hangers, liquids, medicine containers, packing peanuts, paint, wire or anything used to store food or beverages.

Each day, your child will need to bring a packed lunch, drink and snack clearly labeled with their name, unless your location notifies you otherwise. Children should dress comfortably for play (no flip-flops please). If your child needs medication during the program, please provide the necessary information during registration and bring it in its original container with a signed physician’s note (if prescription), the approved administrator and instructions.

Camp Invention Connect FAQs

Please note, this is our at-home program, which differs from our in-person program.

Camp Invention Connect takes our nationally acclaimed summer program, Camp Invention, and brings the experience into homes throughout the country! This program offers a unique solution to families who do not have local Camp Invention programs available in their area. Designed to transcend boundaries and make invention education accessible to children across communities, abilities and learning styles, Camp Invention Connect is available throughout the summer.

This program delivers our Camp Invention curriculum through a set of four at-home activity kits that are packed full of materials and sent straight to your door. Children join virtual instruction and collaboration sessions with fellow campers and qualified educators from across the country. These engaging sessions include fun icebreakers and problem-solving challenges, keeping even our most shy participants excited as they make new friends.

No matter where you live, your child can join us for hours of hands-on fun, open-ended exploration, and opportunities to go outdoors and stretch their imaginations. To learn more, visit the Camp Invention Connect page.

Camp Invention Connect programs will maintain a Coach-to-child ratio of 1:20 or 1:25, based on total program size.

While the virtual learning sessions are not required, we highly encourage children to attend so they can ask questions, share their ideas and collaborate with others. If a screen-free or self-led experience is preferred, children can refer to step-by-step instructions in the printed Inventor Logs that are included with their materials and/or log on to our Camp Invention Connect Welcome Hub where you will find visual guides, step-by-step videos and fun music tracks. You will receive a link to this Welcome Hub via email. If you experience any technical difficulties during a session, please see our Zoom and Google Meet troubleshooting guides as needed.

As your camp week approaches, be on the lookout for your Innovator's Toolkit. Inside the toolkit you will find all the materials you need for a week of hands-on STEM fun, as well as a guide to help you navigate the materials. Feel free to unbox it all to get familiar with the materials — just make sure everything stays organized and will be easy to find during the program. You will also receive an email from your child’s Coach with login information and a schedule for the week.

Camp will kick off each morning with an online instructional session, so your child should have their materials ready to go. Campers take a quick break, get back together online to create and invent, then take time for lunch. In the afternoon, campers can join a hangout session to socialize, then unplug and get outdoors for more high-energy activities. To wrap up each day, campers join their Coach and friends once more to share their progress. Though the online sessions are recommended, if you’d prefer a screen-free summer, all activities can be completed offline by using the step-by-step instructions in each Inventor Log. You’ll find the Inventor Logs in your material kits. Digital versions can also be found on the Camp Invention Connect Welcome Hub.

During the week of Camp Invention Connect, you can expect an action-packed experience of creativity, fun and friendship with campers from across the country! Your child is encouraged to complete the activities in each of the four themed kits and join their Coach and fellow campers online each day to collaborate and celebrate their success.

Please check out the bottom of the Camp Invention Connect page for a sample schedule of what each day will look like. Newsletters recapping experiences from each day will also be listed on our Parent Resource Center as they become available. Additionally, parents and caregivers will receive a communication from their Coach with program specifics closer to their start date.

Collaboration is a key component of the invention process, and children will have opportunities throughout each day to share ideas and make friends with kids across the country! Live online sessions with your child’s Coach and fellow campers will include fun icebreakers, activity instruction and opportunities to collaborate.

It's common for a child to be nervous or hesitant at first – that’s OK! Our experiences are specially designed to be immersive and engaging, getting even our most shy campers excited to share ideas and make new friends. By the end of the week, they won’t want it to be over!

Many of our program’s high-energy experiences can be enjoyed outside!

On the Camp Invention Connect page, scroll down to find all the available program dates and click the one that works best for you. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to complete your registration.

We have in-person Camp Invention programs running across the country. To search for program locations near you, please visit our Registration page.

To make sure your child has the best experience possible, you can ensure they have a space that allows them to explore and experiment. You can also encourage them to take their activities outdoors for fresh air and inspiration, provide support as they build their confidence and use “I wonder …” statements to help them stretch their imagination and develop creative solutions.

Upon registration, you should receive a confirmation email with a link to the Parent Resource Center for helpful information about how to prepare for your camp. We will also send you an email with program reminders about one to two weeks prior to your start date.

If you have not received an email from us within this time frame, check other folders besides your inbox, such as the “Promotions” tab in Gmail, and make sure to save [email protected] as an email contact so that messages from this address will not be marked as spam. If you still don’t see our communications, please contact our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332 so we can verify your correct email address is on file and you did not unsubscribe from our communications. Additionally, your Coach will contact families closer to the first day of your program with information on how to access the live virtual sessions.

As a nonprofit, the National Inventors Hall of Fame allocates the funds paid for your child’s registration far in advance for the materials and Coach needed for your child’s program experience. Due to this, Camp Invention Connect is unable to prorate the cost for the days your child cannot attend. However, our program experiences are designed to be flexible and progressive, so children can continue building upon their inventions outside of the scheduled times.

General FAQs

The National Inventors Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education for all ages to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. We do this through programs including Camp Invention, Club Invention® and Invention Project®. Our Federal Tax ID number is 34-1580038.

Our team of STEM education experts specialize in diverse subject areas. This team of education-focused professionals integrates 21st-century learning into fun, hands-on experiences that align with state and national education standards. Our National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees directly inspire and often collaborate with our curriculum writers who infuse our programs with the stories, challenges and triumphs of the greatest minds who have helped shape our lives.

Children use their creativity, imagination and inventive thinking skills to solve problems, always building on what they learned the day before. Using upcycled materials, they are challenged to overcome obstacles from crossing a river of hot lava to rescuing sea creatures or solving a worldwide issue with a device of their creation. Through hands-on fun, science is made exciting and accessible while children work together as a team. Though experiences vary depending on the program selected, each one is designed to educate, inspire and challenge your child to think outside the box.

You can learn more about our programs from our overview page.

Program instructors are qualified educators. These talented individuals are selected for their enthusiasm for creative learning, which they use to excite and motivate children.

As a nonprofit organization, we strive to keep costs low to better serve all communities. Registration fees will cover the materials and educator costs for your program. Your child will create exciting prototypes and receive exclusive items in each experience. Finally, every child will receive a special program T-shirt. Camp Invention Connect registration is priced at $260. Camp Invention starts at $260, but registration costs will vary by location, as some camps require an additional expense to host our program. Please refer to the Registration page for pricing information specific to your site.

Payment is accepted in full through Discover®, VISA®, MasterCard®, personal checks, travelers’ checks and money orders. Charges will appear as NIHF PREK-12 PROGRAMS on your credit card statement. For both Camp Invention and Camp Invention Connect, an installment payment plan is available if you use a credit or debit card and your registration is received at least 12 weeks before the start of your camp. One-third of your program cost is charged at the time of registration, and the remaining balance is divided into two equal payments to be automatically charged at approximately 30 days and 60 days after the initial deposit. All three payments must be made by credit or debit card. Please make sure the card used does not expire before the final payment date. Nonpayment or any card declines will result in the cancellation of your registration order, which is applicable to our refund policy.

We do everything possible to ensure each program runs. If for any reason we must cancel a program, you will have the option to receive a full refund, or we can place your child in another program if one is available. When a program is canceled, we notify each participant as soon as possible.

If a location needs to close for only a portion of the program due to unforeseen circumstances (such as inclement weather), the progressive and flexible nature of our curriculum allows us to work on the local level to make schedule adjustments so your child will not miss out on any of the innovative fun.

$80 of each registration fee is nonrefundable. The remaining balance is refundable up to 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on the Sunday three weeks prior to the start date of the program. Cancellations made after this time are nonrefundable, as materials and educator costs are allocated and final. Scholarship registrations and kits are nonrefundable.

Cancellation Insurance may only be purchased at the time of registration for an additional $25 per participant, which covers the registration cost should a parent or guardian need to cancel, less the insurance fee and any applicable materials that must be returned and unopened. Cancellation Insurance claims are redeemable up to the first day of the program by speaking with a Customer Relations Representative at 800-968-4332.

Camp Invention offers both in-person and at-home experiences. Our in-person program is referred to as Camp Invention and our at-home program is referred to as Camp Invention Connect. Visit these pages for more information on the different formats.

If you would like to speak with someone to determine if Camp Invention or Camp Invention Connect would be a good fit for your child, please contact us at 800-968-4332 a minimum of eight weeks prior to the start date of the program.

Camp Invention and Camp Invention Connect programs combine teamwork with the need to work independently at times. Participants should have the basic skills to be self-sufficient, adhere to the behavior policy and be willing to participate in the imaginative, creative process with peers. We produce a high-energy experience that at times can be noisy and highly stimulating. Camp Invention attendees will rotate rooms and Instructors throughout the day for each experience, which can vary from a typical single classroom/teacher setting. Please keep in mind that locations hosting summer/after-hours programs do not have the same personnel and tools available as they would during the school year. Nurses, special education assistants, aides, etc., are not on site unless a parent or guardian arranges an approved accommodation beforehand based on their individual child’s needs.

If in-person assistance is requested, we will provide you with a form to submit any necessary information and then work with you to identify reasonable accommodations if available. While a request cannot be guaranteed, all accommodation inquiries will be reviewed for safety and program integrity.

We would love to hear from you! Please contact us at [email protected] or call our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332 and we will be happy to help. Please note, if you have unsubscribed from our email list, you will not receive camp announcements for your area, discount code notifications or the necessary details on what you will need to bring on the first day of in-person programs.