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Kids Inventing!: A Handbook for Young Inventors



Kids Inventing!: A Handbook for Young Inventors

Susan Casey

ISBN: 978-1-118-04020-1 December 2010 Jossey-Bass 144 Pages


Have you ever seen inventors on TV or in the newspaper and thought, "That could be me!" Well, it certainly could—and this book shows you how. Kids Inventing! gives you easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for turning your ideas into realities for fun, competition, and even profit.

From finding an idea and creating a working model to patenting, manufacturing, and selling your invention, you get expert guidance in all the different stages of inventing. You'll see how to keep an inventor's log, present your ideas, and work as part of a team or with a mentor. You'll meet inspiring kids just like you who designed their own award-winning inventions. And you'll see how to prepare for the various state and national invention contests held each year, as well as international competitions and science fairs.

Foreword by Nicholas D. Frankovits and Leila Gay Evans.



1. Getting an Idea.

Look for a Problem to Solve.

Break Problems into Smaller Parts.

Think about Improving Something You Already Enjoy.

Think about Solving a Community Problem.

Think about the Needs of Others.

Find an Idea Through Research.

Find a Use for Something You Discover.

Is Your Idea an Invention?


2. Keeping a Journal or an Inventor’s Log and Writing a Report.

Logs and Journals.


Inventor’s Logs, Journals, and Reports as Part of a Display.


3. Making a Model.

Start with a Sketch.

Make a List of Materials.

List the Tools You Will Need.

Estimate Costs.

Inventory Your Skills and Acquire Others.

Set up a Workshop.

Ask for Help and Be Safe.

Make a Scale Model.


4. Naming Your Invention.

Name Your Invention after Yourself.

Name Your Invention for What It Does.

Use Word Tricks in Naming Your Invention.

Name Your Invention for Its Sound.

Name Your Invention for Its Feel.

Give Your Invention a Catchy Name.


5. Participating in Competitions, Programs, and Camps.

What You Can Gain by Entering an Invention Contest.

Preparing for Competition.



6. Inventing as a Team.

Teamwork Calls for Cooperation and Compromise.

Small Teams.

Large Teams.


7. Learning with a Mentor.

Mentors Are Guides.

School Mentor Programs.

Mentors from the Business Community.


8. Patenting an Invention.

How Inventions Are Patented.

The Patent Search.

Types of Patents.

Patent Applications.

Patent Infringement.


9. Registering a Trademark.

Trademarks Are All Around You.

Trademark Symbols.

Types of Trademarks.

Applying for a Trademark.

Trademarks instead of Patents.


10. Manufacturing, Packaging, and Selling an Invention.

Product Development.

Find the Right Company to Manufacture Your Invention.

Selling Your Invention.

Licensing Your Invention.


Appendix A: Suggested Reading.

Appendix B: Useful Web Sites.

Appendix C: Invention Competitions, Programs, and Camps.

Photo Credits.


Inventions solve problems in daily life, and this nifty book solves the problems of how to go about inventing. From identifying a problem in your work to thinking about how to solve it, the information is broken down into small solvable parts.

So how do you come up with a problem? Hone your observational skills and look around. Stories of inventions developed by young scientists who responded to their own needs or those of their community provide the backbone and wonder of this inspirational book.

Some ideas come through observation, some through research, and some from searching for a use for something. Next, the inventor can turn to journaling or model making or can learn with a mentor. For those really great ideas, the book discusses patenting, designing a trademark, and manufacturing and selling the product. There are many websites, programs, competitions, and camps found in the appendices.

Students can be great inventors because life is newer to them and they take less for granted. Awareness is the first step to discovery. What a wonderful little book for showing children other children as inventors... and they can learn how to become one themselves!

--NSTA Recommends