FAQs for Parents

FAQs for Parents

Find answers to parents’ most frequently asked questions about the National Inventors Hall of Fame 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 certified educators, this program has tapped into children’s natural curiosity since 1990, giving them the opportunity to become innovators and entrepreneurs.

Choose the experience that works for you! Whether your camper attends a local program in person or joins us from the comfort of home, they are sure to have an inspiring, action-packed time. To learn more about both our at-home and in-person formats , visit the Camp Invention page.

Camp Invention offers both in-person and at-home experiences. It is the discretion of the local camp site as to whether or not they offer one or both experience options. Please check our registration search page and select your site to see your local listings. The description paragraph on the camp details page will mention at-home and in-person options if the site is offering both. You may also give our Customer Relations Team a call and they can confirm the options with you.

If you can’t find a location or date that works for you, check out Camp Invention Connect — a one-of-a-kind, at-home camp experience that’s available no matter where you live! Programs are running every week this summer from mid-June through the end of August.

Both camp formats are led by certified local educators, offer the same brand-new activities and present unique opportunities to get active outdoors.

The in-person option takes place at a site in your area, where kids can come together to build, create and collaborate. Each day, children take on open-ended challenges, explore fun STEM concepts, participate in high-energy, hands-on activities and share their ideas with others.

With the at-home option, kids enjoy the same exploratory and immersive experiences from home. All materials are delivered to your doorstep before the program begins. Included with the at-home materials are items designed to allow kids to create their own space for innovation and creativity, including a Maker Mat, Pegboard and Toolbelt. With virtual collaboration sessions throughout each day, at-home campers can team up and make friends, just as they would in person.  

Camp Invention is proven to help children boost confidence, creativity, problem solving, academic performance and interest in STEM. Whether they participate in person or at home, your child is sure to have an inspiring, action-packed time with progressive activities they will enjoy and build upon for months to come!

At Camp Invention, safety is our No. 1 priority. Programs that take place in person will follow state and local CDC guidelines to help provide a safe and fun environment.

Please check out the bottom of the in-person and at-home information pages for sample schedules of each Camp Invention format. Newsletters recapping activities from each day will be listed on our Parent Resource Center as they become available. Additionally, parents will receive a communication from their local Director with program specifics closer to their start date.

At-home programs only: While the virtual learning sessions are not required for our at-home camp format, 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 Welcome hub where you will find visual guides, step-by-step videos and fun music tracks.

We understand circumstances change, so we are doing camp your way. As long as there is availability, you can switch your program location or update your at-home/in-person format preference up to six weeks before the camp start date.

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. Availability may vary.

To switch formats, click the Orders link within your confirmation email or contact our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332. Prices and availability may vary. If a cancellation is requested after changing locations, the refund policy applies to your original program start date.

Children are grouped based on total program participants and grade. Program activities have primary and intermediate versions to accommodate for different grade levels. For at-home programs only, some locations may have the option to group siblings.

Collaboration is a key component to the invention process, and children will have opportunities throughout the day to share ideas and make new friends! For in-person programs, groups are assigned by grade level, and children will work with peers to build imaginative inventions and lasting friendships. For at-home programs, children have daily opportunities to join their Coach and fellow campers for live online sessions that include icebreakers, module instruction and opportunities to collaborate.

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

For in-person attendees, 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. With the at-home option, many of our program’s high-energy activities can be enjoyed outside!

Camp Invention maintains a Program Team Member-to-child ratio of 1:8 for in-person camps and 1:20 or 1:25 for at-home attendees based on total program size.

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. In-person attendees will rotate rooms and Instructors throughout the day for each activity, 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/tools available as they would during the school year. Nurses, special education assistants, aides, etc., are not on site unless a parent arranges an approved accommodation beforehand based on their individual child’s needs.

If you would like to speak with someone to determine if our in-person or at-home option 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 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.

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.

Some locations fill up faster than others, and we cannot hold spots without full payment. If the in-person option at your desired program is full, you are encouraged to consider other locations available in your area or sign up for the at-home format. Camp Invention At Home has unlimited space, so your camper will be guaranteed to get in! You can also choose to sign up for Camp Invention Connect™, offering an at-home experience for children across the country each week of 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 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.

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 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 to in-person programs from home that could potentially cause an allergic reaction.

In-person programs only: 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 it in its original container with a signed physician’s note (if prescription), the approved administrator and instructions.

In-person programs only: All medication must be delivered in its original container and will be administered by a preauthorized 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 question 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 specifications are not provided during registration, please make sure to visit our Parent Resource Center to fill out the Medical Authorization section of the What to Prepare form and bring it on the first day of camp. 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.

In-person only: Parents of participants with severe allergies requiring an EpiPen® should select YES in the EpiPen® section when registering their child and complete the Medical Authorization section of the What to Prepare form found on our Parent Resource Center. 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 Team at 800-968-4332.

In-person only: 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 working family 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 activities 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!

To help you prepare for your program week, you can expect to receive multiple communications from us. If you have not yet received an email, we recommend checking other folders besides your inbox, such as the “Promotions” tab in Gmail, and save [email protected] as an email contact. If you still don’t see our communications, please contact our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332.

With our Peace of Mind Promise, as long as there is availability, you may switch program formats up to six weeks before the program’s start date (from at-home to in-person or in-person to at-home). To update your preference, simply click the Orders link in your confirmation email or call our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332.

Send your child on a fun scavenger hunt around the house to search for upcycle items used during the week of camp for prototyping. Good upcycle items include boxes, tubes, craft items, old toys or games, and miscellaneous paper. In-person 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/beverages.

For Camp Invention In Person, 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.

For Camp Invention At Home, look for your kits to arrive in a large package a few days before the start of your program. Unbox them and check out all the materials! Just make sure everything stays organized and will be easy to find during the program. Your child can set up their provided Maker Mat and Pegboard so they will have their own space for creating throughout the week. You will also receive an email from your child’s Coach with login information and a schedule for the week.

No matter what Camp Invention format your child participates in, get ready for a week filled with STEM exploration and learning about world-changing innovators through fun, open-ended challenges!

With Camp Invention In Person, parents 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 modules in the morning, then break for lunch and outdoor games. In the afternoon, children regroup for two more exciting modules before ending the day at Base Camp for one more problem-solving activity. Parents then sign their children out at pickup, but the inventing can continue at home!

With Camp Invention At Home, children start the day by joining their Coach and other campers for a live online session with icebreakers and instruction. After a break, kids get back online to collaborate and create using their materials. Following a lunch break, campers join an afternoon hangout session to socialize, then unplug and get active outdoors. To wrap up the day, campers regroup with their Coach to share progress on their inventions. Each day is something new!

To make sure your child has the best experience possible, you can create a space that allows them to explore and experiment. By setting up the provided Maker Mat and Pegboard, you can help them be prepared to create and innovate. 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.

The at-home program was designed to offer an open-ended and child-led experience. We suggest that families review each day’s activities ahead of time, so parents can anticipate when and how their children may need support. We also encourage children to check in with parents throughout the day to report on their progress and show off their latest inventions.

Camp Invention Connect FAQs

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 each week of 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 certified 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 At Home includes participants from your local area and is led by local educators. If a Camp Invention At Home option is not available in your area or the dates don’t work with your schedule, Camp Invention Connect makes it possible for your child to participate from anywhere in the U.S., during whichever week works best for you. Led by a team of education experts from the National Inventors Hall of Fame and certified educators across the country, Camp Invention Connect offers program dates throughout the summer, making exciting camp experiences accessible to more kids than ever before!

For both options, all the materials you need for an exciting week are sent directly to your doorstep and children have the opportunity to join a certified educator and other children for virtual collaboration sessions. Both formats also provide links to online resources as well as printed instructions, should a screen-free option be preferred.

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

While the virtual learning sessions are not required for our at-home programs, 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. If you experience any technical difficulties during a session, please see our Zoom and Google Meet troubleshooting guides as needed.

We have in-person Camp Invention programs running across the country. To search for program locations near you, please visit our Registration page. Search your area and select a program listing to view the camp details page, where at-home and in-person options will be noted if the site is offering both.

Collaboration is a key component to the invention process, and children will have opportunities throughout the 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, module instructions and opportunities to collaborate.

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

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

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

Although Camp Invention Connect is only offered as an at-home program, you do have the option to transfer to an in-person program in your area as long as there is availability. To discuss transfer options, please contact our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332.

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 activities are designed to be flexible and progressive, so children can continue building upon their inventions outside of the scheduled times.

Click here to visit 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.

To help you prepare for your program week, you can expect to receive multiple communications from us. If you have not yet received an email, we recommend checking other folders besides your inbox, such as the “Promotions” tab in Gmail, and save [email protected] as an email contact. If you still don’t see our communications, please contact our Customer Relations Team at 800-968-4332.

As your camp week approaches, be on the lookout for your Inventors 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 material, just make sure everything stays organized and will be easy to find during the program. Your child can set up their provided Maker Mat and Pegboard so they will have their own space for creating throughout the week. You will also receive an email from your child’s camp 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 an afternoon 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.

You can expect an action-packed week 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.

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. Encourage them to set up the provided Maker Mat and Pegboard and try on their Toolbelt so they are prepared to create and innovate. 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.

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, Invention Project and Invention Playground. Our Federal Tax ID number is 34-1580038.

Our team of experienced STEM educators and Ph.D.s 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 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 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.

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 module. Finally, every child will receive a special program T-shirt. Camp Invention Connect registration is priced at $235. Camp Invention 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 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 another program if it is available. When a program is canceled, we notify each participant as soon as possible.

If an in-person 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.

$75 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. Please keep in mind as long as there is availability, you can update your at-home/in-person format preference or switch your program location up to six weeks before the start date. 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 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.

If you would like to speak with someone to determine if Camp Invention In Person, Camp Invention At Home 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.

All 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. In-person attendees will rotate rooms and Instructors throughout the day for each activity, 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/tools available as they would during the school year. Nurses, special education assistants, aides, etc., are not on site unless a parent arranges an approved accommodation beforehand based on their individual child 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 forms you will need to bring on the first day of in-person programs.