Are You the World's Next Incredible Inventor?
On Wednesday, we announced our new Game On! site and a cool contest where you can pitch your own idea for the next great game. Now it's time to start creating that game! So we called in the experts: meet Alyssa Hansen and Kaycee Johnsen (both 15 years old). These two teen inventors are here to walk you through the entire process, from unborn idea to the whole she-bang!
Hey, have you ever wanted to invent or create something? Have you ever wondered how people create cool things like your favorite video games? What would you make if you could? Inventing can be very fun, yet a challenging process at the same time. So we're here to help you get started inventing on your own!
First, you want to brainstorm. Start thinking of different ideas for your new invention. Is it something that will help with everyday life or is it something fun like a video game? If it's a video game, is it just for one person, or is it multiplayer? Is it action, adventure, puzzle, or story-based? What kinds of people will use your creation — little kids, teens, adults? These are the kinds of things you want to think about while you brainstorm.
After you have an idea, you are ready to do a little research, to see if anyone else has made an invention just like yours already. You also want to start doing research to learn how to make your idea come to life. Learn about the different materials or technology you will need. As you work, you can feel free to also ask for help from experts like engineers, computer programmers, or toy designers. They know what they're talking about and can give you great input and advice.
After you research, you're ready to start doing some hands-on work. You're ready to start going through the design process. Sketching out your ideas is a good place to start. If you are creating a video game, draw out what the different screens will look like and how they link together. Make notes of what will happen at each step and how your game will work.
When you have sketches you love, you can create a working model, or prototype. This will help you see exactly how your invention will look and work. What features will your game have? How will all of the pieces fit together? What are the rules of play?
Sometimes, something that seemed great on paper doesn't work quite how you wanted it to in real life. That's okay; the next step in the design process is to improve your creation. It's important to remember that you may have to go back to the drawing board and rework some things, but that's just part of making the invention. One of the hardest parts of inventing is finding solutions to each of the problems that you encounter as you are creating. But as long as you have some patience and persistence, it will all be worth it in the end. Sometimes finding an answer to a problem will take your creation in a whole new (and better) direction!
Finally, once you get a final prototype built, it's time to test it out. Does it fulfill its purpose? Do the rules make sense? Did you forget anything? If you are satisfied, have others test it too — and try to listen to their input; you'll be surprised to at how much you can learn about making your invention better!
Well, there you have it! After testing, improving, and re-testing your new game, you're done! Now you can enjoy your invention and show it to others! It's at this point when you can really see how all of your hard work paid off. It's an incredible feeling to know that you created something and brought it to life!
— Alyssa Hansen & Kaycee Johnsen, Kid/Teen Inventors
Alyssa Hansen and Kaycee Johnsen, both 15, began inventing when they were just 10 years old. They, along with their siblings and friends, have created Boogie2Boogie, a new kind of wave-riding toy and the Underwater X-treme, a challenging pool toy that solves the problem of everybody peeking when playing Marco Polo. Both inventions won the National TOYchallenge and are currently being marketed by By Kids For Kids. Alyssa and Kaycee have been writing a regular column for creative kids in bkfk.com since 2006 and have co-written a book and activity kit that teaches kids how to invent. You can see all of their creations, and a lot more at www.bkfk.com.