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Celebrating National Inventors’ Day with your child

Written by Rebekah Brately

National Inventors’ Day is February 11 and offers an opportunity to discuss creativity and trial and error with your child. As children learn how some of the greatest inventors created everyday items we take for granted, they might find the inventor within.

Inventors-Day

There are some easy ways to celebrate National Inventors’ Day with your child. Here are some ideas.

Talk to your child about what it means to be an inventor Start by asking your child what they believe an inventor is and what they do. Once you know what they currently think of inventors, share more details about inventors. And to help you out, Dictionary.com defines an inventor as: “A person who invents, especially one who devises some new process, appliance, machine, or article; one who makes inventions.” Discuss ways that your child can be an inventor daily. This might mean heading to the kitchen and creating something new or even designing something with Play Dough. Your goal is to get them thinking creatively so that they feel encouraged and supported to invent.

Discuss your child’s favorite inventions with them Now that your child understands what an inventor is, discuss their favorite inventions with them. It could be everything from the refrigerator to their favorite action figure. Emphasize that inventions can be both large and small. Additionally, explain how people develop concepts from an idea to an invention that people can buy and use. This might be a topic that your child has never considered in-depth before, which can make them extremely inquisitive. Take your time and answer their questions so they can learn and grow from the experience.

Review famous inventors and their effects on society Go back in the history books and talk about some of the most influential inventions. Go back to the days before electricity, the telephone, and modern transportation. Encourage your child to imagine what life was like back then. Even something as common as the wheel was something that an inventor had to come up with and create. Unsure of where to start this conversation with your child? Don’t worry, it’s probably been a while since you had these history classes yourself. Here’s a helpful list of 19 Great Inventions That Revolutionized History. This should be a great place to start the conversation with your little future inventors.

Visit a local museum If you have a history museum near you, go there to celebrate National Inventors’ Day. A museum will have tons of conversation starters to discuss inventions with your child. You might learn something new too, which shows your child that you’re never too old to start learning and inventing.Your museum might offer historians who can talk in more depth with your child about inventions and how they can become inventors as well. Take advantage of these resources, especially if this is a topic you feel slightly unfamiliar with.

Go on a factory tour to learn how things are made Find a local factory near you and see if they offer tours. While invention happens long before a factory opens, showing a child how something is made can help bring the concept to life. Throughout your experience, explain to your child how the process they are seeing in the factory had to be invented, just like the product had to be invented. Before you go to the factory, learn more about the company’s history and who founded the company. Tell your child about why it’s unique so that they listen attentively to the tour guide as you learn more about how the product is made. Bonus points if you can find a factory that makes a product that interests your child. If you don’t have a local factory that gives tours, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there that explain how something is made. While learning about inventions from a screen might not be your first choice, it is a way to make the process come to life for your child.

Recognize an inventor you know Do you know anyone who has invented something, either a product or a process? If so, take time to recognize that inventor with your child. Depending on how close you are to the inventor, you could visit them and have them discuss the invention with your child. Or, if you don't know them all that well, you could just write them a letter. Writing a letter to an inventor can help your child put into words their thoughts toward inventors and help them summarize all that they’ve learned on National Inventors’ Day. Encourage your child to discuss what they appreciate about the invention, how they use it, and what life would be like without it. Even if you never mail the letter, this is a great exercise to celebrate the holiday. Plus, you and your child might have tons of fun drafting the letter to an inventor. Let your imaginations run wild because that's what inventing is all about. It's about thinking in a way that others have not yet thought.

Ask your child what type of inventions they could create Finally, put your child in the shoes of an inventor. Ask them what types of things they would come up with and encourage them to think outside the box. Show them that no idea is too silly or ridiculous. Walk your child through some common steps of inventions by asking them who would use the inventions. Would it help anyone? How would the invention be different from things that are already out there? By questioning your child for more details on the invention, you show them how to vet new ideas. Remind your child that any day can be inventors’ day. They don’t have to wait until next year to come up with a new solution to a problem or think outside the box.

It’s important to keep your child generating ideas all year long and not just on a holiday. Celebrating National Inventors’ Day should be just the beginning of many fun conversations about inventions with your child.

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