Kids, whose vivid imaginations know few boundaries, frequently come up with invention ideas that range from life-changing to downright wacky. However, few see them come to life mainly because adults are not convinced of their practicality. That is about to change thanks to Little Inventors, an innovative project that connects aspiring inventors to manufacturers and artists who can help bring even the most impossible sounding contraption to life.
The endeavor is the brainchild of Dominic Wilcox, a British artist and inventor, who is world-famous for his fun creations like GPS shoes that can find their way home and a cereal-serving head crane device. Wilcox, who was inspired to pursue inventing at a very young age by his tutor, is a firm believer that “we are all born creators” and thinks children’s ideas are just as valid as those of adults.
The chain of events leading to the founding of Little Inventors can be traced back to a series of workshops held by Wilcox around his hometown of Sunderland, England in 2015. The 19 events, organized to encourage children aged 5-12 to sketch their ideas, were a huge success, attracting over 300 kids and resulting in more than 450 fun inventions. The designs were presented to a group of twenty-three local artists and manufacturers who selected one idea and then worked alongside its young creator to bring it to life.
The resulting prototypes, showcased at the INVENTORS! Exhibition in an empty Sunderland storefront through January 2016, were a huge success both locally and globally. In September 2017, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, acquired five of the creations — a family scooter, a Liftolator (War Avoider), a shady lamp, a super fast tennis ball, and a high-five machine — to put on display for visitors to admire.
The success of the workshops has led to the creation of the Little Inventors. The website allows aspiring inventors from all over the world to submit their product ideas. Canadian kids can also design an idea for a space challenge sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Though not all submissions will be built, inventors will receive valuable feedback on their designs and also suggestions on ways to improve them. So this holiday break, upload an idea or two to LittleInventors.org and see if you can make your crazy, or world-changing, invention a reality.