Young Inventors Challenge 2017 Recap

Young Inventors Challenge at ChiTAG

The Young Inventors Challenge is open to all kids between the ages of 6 – 18 years of age from anywhere in the United States or Canada who has designed or created a unique toy or game. 

In November I had the pleasure of being a judge at the Chicago Toy and Game Week’s Young Inventors Challenge and I’d like to tell you what I saw and explain why you should have your kids enter in 2018.

First, it’s a great opportunity for kids to show their creativity and their ideas of how toys and games should be designed and played.  Some have made slight variations of existing games while others have created new games with interesting themes.

All of the entries are judged based on a number of criteria such as originality, practicality, mass market potential and of course fun.  Entries are submitted online and do not have to be at the event in Chicago.

For those kids who are able to come to Chicago, there is an area set aside at the fair, where judges and the public, can view their creations.  Most entries had prepared displays to explain and demonstrate their toys or games.  Part of the judging at the event was based on the display itself and how the participants presented their work.

Some of the younger kids were rather tired by the time I came by in the afternoon but the majority of them were excited to explain and demonstrate.  You can easily see how proud they were of their work and how much time and effort they put into it.  Family members were there for support and it was obvious that they were quite proud as well.

This type of program would also be ideal for any school or organization.  Chicago Toy and Game has an inventor’s guide available online that outlines the steps used in developing a toy or game.  It also features what is needed to enter and how to present your idea.  Schools can easily add this to their curriculum or create an inventor’s club as an after-school program.

Entering the Young Inventor’s Challenge is rather simple.  You register online and submit information about the toy or game along with a link to a 2 minute video pitch that describes and illustrates your kid’s creation.  You also have the option of submitting a link to a 1 minute commercial designed to sell the idea.  The videos are very simple but many of this year’s submissions were very creative in their performances.

The entries displayed in Chicago were prototypes that were very basic but were very effective in explaining the concept.  Others had created items that you would think were professionally made.  A number of kids explained that they simply used their computer and a color printer to create game pieces and cards that were later laminated for a professional look.  The artistic and creative skills of these kids were amazing.

The entries are judged by industry professionals who provide valuable feedback and if your kid’s idea catches someone’s eye, it may just be developed professionally and marketed to the world.  There are also prizes and even a scholarship available in different categories.

If you are available, the City of Chicago is big and beautiful with plenty of family-friendly things to do and see.  Since Chicago Toy and Game Week is in November, it’s not very busy with tourists and the temperature is just on the cool side.  We highly recommend visiting.

What To Do With The Kids is pleased to promote this event and we’ll be encouraging everyone to enter in a few months for the 2018 edition.

Visit to find out more information about this exciting event for the creative kids in your life.



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