FAQs for Parents

FAQs for Parents

Find answers to parents’ most frequently asked questions about the National Inventors Hall of Fame programs.

Summer 2020 FAQs

We know our campers have been anxiously awaiting news on when they will finally get to be around other children again! Many working parents are also in need of a safe location for childcare, while others are requesting an at-home alternative. We are actively working on both in-person and at-home solutions. Guidelines are changing weekly, so as soon as the best plan for each camp location is in place, an update will be sent via email to registered families. All parents should receive communication about their program a minimum of two weeks prior to their start date.

We are working with local camps on an individual basis, doing all we can to keep them running as planned. However, if your local camp is no longer able to run in person, rather than canceling camp, we are reinventing it! We have developed a new at-home solution, Camp Invention Connect™, offering the same hands-on challenges through new activity kits sent straight to your door. Please visit our website to learn more about this exciting option.

For camps that are unable to run in a traditional, in-person format, we are reinventing at-home fun and learning with Camp Invention Connect.

Unlike traditional distance learning experiences, Camp Invention Connect enables hands-on exploration by delivering a set of four activity kits directly to each participant. These kits are packed full of materials designed to bring the 2020 Camp Invention program — Elevate — into our young innovators homes. Throughout the program week, children learn the value of creativity and perseverance as they go outside, get active and experiment with the contents of their kits. They can also enhance their experience through optional online collaboration sessions with their peers and benefit from real-time guidance from certified educators.

Please visit our website to learn more about this one-of-a-kind at-home experience.

Camp Invention Connect is a hands-on, at-home program, delivering far more than what you’ve come to expect from typical distance learning programs. With a set of four activity kits packed full of hands-on materials sent directly to your home, our program encourages children to go outdoors, get active and stretch their imaginations!

Unlike typical virtual learning programs, Camp Invention Connect is flexible — you can choose a completely screen-free, self-led experience, or your child can join optional online collaboration sessions with peers and certified educators. Either way, Camp Invention Connect requires minimal parental involvement while inspiring limitless creativity and confidence.

With our Camp Invention Connect program, we have taken Camp Invention’s 2020 in-person Elevate program and adapted it for an engaging at-home experience. Camp Invention Connect maintains the emphasis on hands-on, high-energy activities and imaginative, outdoor play that children and parents expect from Camp Invention.

Both our in-person and at-home programs inspire confidence and creativity through independent, open-ended exploration. While we understand that an at-home experience cannot fully recreate the magic of attending camp in person, Camp Invention Connect offers an exciting opportunity to create some of that magic in a new way, making the most of these unprecedented times.

Our new Camp Invention Connect program takes the same 2020 curriculum developed for our traditional, in-person program and adapts it to deliver a dynamic at-home experience. We have done our best to maintain every Elevate activity that can possibly be recreated at home. Please visit our website to learn more about what you can expect from each of the four activity kits we send straight to our Camp Invention Connect participants.

As a mission-based nonprofit, we are committed to delivering our program experience to children and encouraging them to overcome obstacles like the ones we now face. That is why we are actively working with each camp to develop alternative solutions to ensure our young innovators don’t miss out on the fun, hands-on experience we’ve all grown to love at Camp Invention. We want children to be excited about this summer — so our solutions were developed to keep the open-ended, creative exploration going, whether that happens in person or at home.

However, if you decide not to move forward with the solutions provided, you will be eligible to receive a full refund. We will proactively contact you once we have determined the best plan for your camp location. In the meantime, if you have questions, please call us at 800-968-4332 and we’ll walk you through your options.

We understand the challenge of deciding how your child will spend their time this summer, so we have developed unique options for parents who prefer an at-home experience. We invite you to sign up for Camp Invention Connect, our new at-home program led by certified local educators. If a local program is not currently running in your area, you can join our national Camp Invention Connect program led by the expert education team at the National Inventors Hall of Fame®. To discuss your options or make a change to your registration, please contact us at [email protected] or call our Customer Relations Department at 800-968-4332, and we will be happy to help.

At Camp Invention, we have always taken great care in developing and maintaining the highest standards in health and safety practices, including ensuring that children wash their hands with antibacterial soap after each session, especially after using recyclables and before eating snacks and meals. Children are also provided with hand sanitizer throughout the program. We will continue to provide each camp location with bottles of hand sanitizer, trash bags, alcohol swabs for cleaning safety glasses, and a first aid kit that includes gloves. All locations will follow the recommended CDC guidelines at the time camp is running. Additionally, our programs are led exclusively by certified educators who manage classrooms professionally, ensuring that we consistently provide a safe and healthy experience.

We understand that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of illness. All Camp Invention locations running a physical camp will follow the recommended CDC guidelines at the time camp takes place. Camp Invention has always operated with a small group approach, maintaining a 1:8 team-member-to-child ratio, and we are prepared to adjust our programs and activities as needed to comply with social distancing guidelines for the health of our participants, families and communities.

While we remain committed to providing a safe, healthy and fun learning environment at every camp, we understand that your summer plans can change, especially in the uncertain times we are all experiencing this year. If you would prefer to cancel your registration, please call us at 800-968-4332. We’ll be happy to provide several options to meet your individual needs.

We want to make sure all our LITs get to explore and experiment this summer! So for any Camp Invention program that cannot run in person this year, we are offering registered LITs our new Innovation Exploration Kits™: Invention Project® series. This is a complete set of four at-home activity kits that deliver the fun and excitement of Camp Invention, elevating the challenges to engage middle school-aged children. Sent directly to your door, these kits are filled with hands-on materials and guides designed to spark creativity and stretch imaginations through hours of open-ended exploration. Each activity helps children build confidence and goal-setting skills while guiding them to think like an innovator and entrepreneur. To learn more, please call Customer Relations at 800.968.4332.

Camp Invention Connect FAQs (At-Home Format)

Camp Invention Connect takes our nationally acclaimed summer program, Camp Invention, and reinvents the experience to bring it into your home! This program delivers our 2020 Camp Invention curriculum, Elevate, through a set of four at-home activity kits that are packed full of materials and delivered straight to your door. The program is designed to provide hours of hands-on fun that encourages children to go outdoors and stretch their imaginations. All activities can be screen-free and child-led. Children can also join optional virtual collaboration sessions with a certified educator and other young inventors. These brief sessions include fun icebreakers and problem-solving challenges, keeping even our most shy participants excited as they make new friends. To learn more, visit the Camp Invention Connect page.

Attending virtual learning sessions is not required. In fact, the entire program may be completed as a screen-free experience by using the provided materials and Activity Guides. Our online resources and virtual learning sessions are designed to serve as options that enhance the experience through minimal screen time. Check out the Zoom and Google Meet troubleshooting guides as needed.

Just like our traditional Camp Invention program, local Camp Invention Connect programs are led by certified local educators. Participants in local Camp Invention Connect programs will also live in the vicinity of the hosting school/district. Our national program is led by a team of education experts from the National Inventors Hall of Fame® and certified educators across the country.

Local Camp Invention Connect programs will maintain a Coach-to-child ratio of 1:20. The national Camp Invention Connect program Coach-to-child ratio will vary based on registrations.

When children join virtual learning sessions, they will be given opportunities to get to know other campers in their program. Coaches will also break each program into small groups to optimize teamwork. Friendships are often built at traditional, in-person Camp Invention programs, and we intend to create the same opportunities with Camp Invention Connect.

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

The Camp Invention Connect program is priced at $175. Discounts are available.

Click here to search for a program. You’ll see that Camp Invention Connect programs are color-coded in blue. Click a program for more details and follow the on-screen instructions to complete your registration.

We have been working hard to keep our local in-person camps running whenever possible. To learn more about our Camp Invention program and search for any in-person camps near you, please visit invent.org/camp.  

Watch this video for information on how to prepare for the week of Camp Invention Connect, or read on for details.

As your camp program week approaches, look for your kits to arrive in a large package. Unbox them and check out all 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 log-in 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. After this session, it’s time to unplug and get creative! In the afternoon, your child can join virtual collaboration sessions to ask questions, brainstorm with friends and share their progress. If you’d prefer a screen-free summer, remember that all online sessions are optional, and all activities can be completed offline by using the step-by-step activity guides. You’ll find these guides at the bottom of the main shipping box. Digital versions can also be found on the Camp Invention Connect Welcome Hub.

You can expect an action-packed week of creativity and fun! Your child is encouraged to complete the activities in one of the four themed kits each day, Monday through Thursday, and join their group online for an optional Inventor’s Showcase to celebrate their success on Friday. How your young innovator approaches the program each day is up to you. Activities may be completed entirely offline, or your child may access digital content and join daily virtual sessions for instruction, coaching and collaboration. The program is flexible, so you can change your approach each day of the week.

To make sure your child has the best experience possible, you can make sure 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.

Camp Invention FAQs (Traditional, In-Person Format)

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 certified local educators, this program has tapped into children’s natural curiosity since 1990, giving them the opportunity to become innovators and entrepreneurs. Our in-person program sparks excitement and inspiration as children engage in collaborative, high-energy activities, discover world-changing inventors, build friendships and enjoy open-ended exploration. To learn more, visit the Camp Invention page. Please note, we also have an at-home Camp Invention product, learn more here.

 

Our programs combine teamwork with the need to work independently at times. Your child must have the basic skills to be self-sufficient, be able to use hand tools successfully, have an age-appropriate maturity level, adhere to the behavior policy and be willing to participate in the imaginative, creative process. We produce a high-energy experience that at times can be noisy and highly stimulating, and it requires an open mind. The summer program environment is very active and teamwork-oriented, as children will rotate rooms and Instructors throughout the day for each module activity, which can vary from a typical single-classroom/teacher setting during a school year. If you feel Camp Invention is a good fit for your child, find a location near you or call our Customer Relations Department at 800.968.4332 to register today!

Camp Invention maintains a program team-to-child ratio of 1:8. Our pre-K, after school, and middle-grade programs have a team-to-child ratio of 1:12, affording the children the opportunity to flourish in a small group environment.

Children are grouped based on their grade, with the curricula geared toward each specific grade level.

All medication must be delivered in its original container and will be administered by a pre-authorized individual designated by you. No member of the program team is permitted to dispense medication except in the case of the administration of an EpiPen® (See EpiPen requirements). 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. Please make sure to fill out the Medical Authorization section on the What to Prepare form and bring it on the first day of camp. If you are not comfortable with your child self-administering his or her medication, you or a pre-authorized individual are welcome to come to the site to dispense the medication when necessary.

Parents of participants with severe allergies requiring an EpiPen® should select YES in the EpiPen® section when registering their child, and need to complete the Medical Authorization section of the What to Prepare form. The Director must be trained by the parent in the administration of epinephrine and arrangements should be made before the program start date. For any additional questions, parents can call our Customer Relations Department at 800.968.4332.

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 department at 800.968.4332 to discuss alternative items parents may be able to use during the program. As such, 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 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 and complete the Medical Authorization section on the What to Prepare form for the first day of the program.

Camp Invention does not provide early drop-off or late pick-up. However, some individual sites may choose to offer this at an additional cost through the local level.

Some locations offer an Extended Day programming option through Camp Invention. Exciting activities will be available during these additional times to help accommodate working family schedules at an additional cost of $80.  This information is provided on the Registration page, or you may contact our Customer Relations Department at 800.968.4332 with any questions.

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 Team Members needed for your child’s program experience. Due to this, Camp Invention is unable to pro-rate the cost for the days your child cannot attend.

Some of the program modules 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.

General FAQs

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

Our team of experienced STEM educators and PhDs specialize in diverse subject areas. This team of education-focused professionals integrates 21st-century learning into fun, hands-on activities that align with state and national education standards. Our National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees directly inspire 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 brought from home, 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 activities vary depending on the program selected, each one is designed to educate, inspire and challenge your child to think outside of the box.

Learn more about our programs here.

When a location signs on with us, we send an announcement email to all the families who attended the year before to let you know your site is back. 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.

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

If there is availability, you may switch programs up to one week before the beginning of the originally registered program. There is no additional cost to change locations, but if the new site is priced higher than the original camp, you will be responsible for paying the difference. If you do switch to a different program location, the refund policy stands within the original program start date. Please contact our Customer Relations Department at 800.968.4332 to find out more.

As a nonprofit organization, we strive to keep costs low to better serve all communities. Some facilities require an additional fee to host our program, so costs will vary by location. Please refer to the Registration page for pricing information specific to your site. Please keep in mind discounts cannot be combined.

Registration costs cover the set-up and materials your child will be using during camp, as well as costs to cover Team Members based on enrollment. Your child will create an exciting prototype from the Take Apart and upcycle items, in addition to take-home projects from each module. Finally, every child will receive a special program t-shirt.

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 Camp Invention only, an installment payment plan is available if you use a credit or debit card and your registration is received at least 10 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 paid 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 a nearby location if it 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 with the local level on schedule adjustments, so your child doesn’t miss out on any of the innovative fun.

For Camp and Invention Project, $75 of each registration fee is nonrefundable, and the remaining balance is refundable up to 11:59 pm ET on the Sunday three weeks prior to the start date of the program (unless cancellation insurance is purchased). Cancellations made after this time are nonrefundable, as materials and educator costs are allocated and final. Please keep in mind as long as there is availability, you may switch programs up to one week prior to the beginning of the originally registered program. Scholarship registrations are nonrefundable.

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 your child can be placed on a waitlist at the time of registration.

When a participant cancels their registration in a full program, our Customer Relations Department will call and email parents of children on the waitlist in order of registration date. Once you are contacted, you will receive a designated number of business days to call us back with your full payment before the next child on the waitlist is offered a spot.

We would love to hear from you! Please contact us at [email protected] or call our Customer Relations Department 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 forms you will need to bring on the first day of the program.