Brainstorming, Step 1 to an Awesome Invention
Here at THE STACKS, we are happy to announce a new contest called Invention Dimension from BKFK.com (By Kids For Kids). The contest challenges kids under 19 to come up with new ideas for toys, games or sports equipment. In the next few months, we will bring you true stories and advice from young inventors. Here is some advice from Alyssa and Kaycee to help you come up with an invention idea. Read on to find out how to get started. . .
So, you are excited and ready to start inventing! Except you've got one little problem. . . you have no idea what you are going to invent! Don't worry, there is an easy and creative process to get you started, brainstorming. This process will help you come up with of tons of different ideas, and then guide you in narrowing down to what will soon be your creation! There are many ways to brainstorm. Here is the process that worked for us.
First, make a list of things you like to do. Do you like to play sports? Video games? Board games? Go to the beach? Collect rocks? If you start with what you are interested in, it is easy to really get ideas flowing. The next step is to get more specific as to what kind of activity, sport, video game, or board game you like best. For example, if you like to play sports, write down all the different sports you like and then choose one to focus on. What do you like most about that sport? What makes it fun? What aspect of the sport is the most interesting to you?
Next, ask yourself, “What could make this even better?” If you chose baseball, then you could ask yourself different questions as you play a typical game. For example, “How can I improve baseball equipment? How can I make practicing baseball more fun, or easier?” Or, “How can I come up with a new game that keeps all the most fun parts of baseball, but is played a different way?” Suddenly a rush of ideas will flow to your head; it’s almost like when a storm comes blowing in from all directions. That's why it's called brainstorming! One important thing to remember is that every idea is a good idea, so write it down. It doesn't matter if your ideas seem too far out. Brainstorming is about coming up with as many ideas as possible!
After you have come up with all your ideas, then start narrowing them down. Ask yourself, "What cool features can I give my invention?" Set aside all the ideas that you don't think you can make happen right now. Don't throw your ideas away, though! Keep those ideas in a notebook for a later time. Then look at all the ideas you have left. Now think about who will be using this invention. Is it made for teenagers? Children? Boys? Girls? People with disabilities? It is very important to keep the group you are inventing for in mind, so as not to make the inventions too complicated, too simple, too girly, etc. You can eliminate the ideas that might not appeal to that group. Now, look at the ideas that are left. Which are the most interesting to you? If more than one idea is exciting, can you combine them? And, because we are talking toys and games, which idea sounds like the most fun? After you answer all of these questions, you should know what you want to create! Now you’re ready to start working on your amazing invention.
Happy brainstorming! We can't wait to see what you come up with!
— Alyssa Hansen & Kaycee Johnsen, Kid/Teen Inventors
Alyssa Hansen and Kaycee Johnsen, both 16, 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.