Kids (and moms alike) are natural innovators—when in a pickle, just turn to your kids for some creative ideas! They spend their days coloring, putting just about everything in their mouths and literally imagining the world around them.
Jon Dudas, president of FIRST, an organization designed to help foster innovations by kids in science and technology, used to work for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He says over the years he’s seen kids come up with some of the best ideas around.
One of the youngest inventors, Dudas recalls, was just two. “Her parents had sort of sectioned off a place where she couldn’t open the cabinet doors. She used suction cups and an extension,” Dudas explained. “Her parents thought it was a neat idea to use for people in wheelchairs with limited movement,” and walla: by age 4 the kid had a patent.
Some inventions are simply amazing, while others are just plain practical; they make you scratch your head and wonder, “Why the heck didn’t I think of that?”
Here are just a few of the inspiring products kids have invented over the years.
As the story goes…It was a Saturday morning in 1991, when 8-year-old Abbey Fleck was making bacon in the microwave with her dad and they ran out of paper towels. Dad decided to use the classified section of the newspaper as a stand-in. Needless to say, mom wasn’t very pleased with the idea. Dad, always a wise-crack, spouted off: “well I could just stand here and let it drip dry.”
And presto! Abbey realized that if they could just make a rack to hang the bacon on, and place a dish underneath, then they would never need to use paper towels again! Hence the Makin’ Bacon Dish for cooking bacon in the microwave was born. The great thing about the Makin’ Bacon Dish is that not only does it save on paper towels, but it’s healthier for you too because all the grease drips out. Today, the Makin’ Bacon Dish sells for under $10 at Walmart.
Did you know that the Popsicle was invented by accident in 1905 by an 11-year-old boy named Frank Epperson! Frank was playing with powdered soda and water with a stick in a cup and he left it out overnight on his porch. Well, it was a frigged cold night and the next morning when Frank woke up, he discovered a frozen treat on a stick.
Frank initially named his treat the “Epsicle,” which proved to be quite popular with the kids at school and later with his own kids, who kept asking for “Pop’s ‘sicle” and that, is how the Popsicle was born.
In 1873, 15-year-old Chester Greenwood was ice skating on a chilly day and his ears were incredibly cold. So he tried wrapping his scarf around his head, but that didn’t quite do it. He got the idea to take a piece of wire and bend it into two round loops and sew fur onto the loops for his ears. He asked his grandmother to sew the fur on them and he connected them with a steel headband and walla! Chester had invented ear muffs called Greenwood’s Champion Ear Protectors.
Moms tell us: what kind of crazy cool inventions have you and your kids come up with?