Do you have imagination? Do you like to solve problems? Can you think outside the box?

If so, you could be the next great inventor. “But I’m just a kid,” you might say! Don’t worry about a little thing like age. Some of the greatest inventors in the world got their start as kids.

For example, one famous inventor — Benjamin Franklin — got his start when he was only 12. At that young age, he created paddles for his hands to help him swim faster. Eventually, his creation led to what we now call flippers!

You don’t have to be an adult, a scientist or a genius to be an inventor. One thing you do need, though, is something that kids have plenty of: curiosity and imagination. Kids are known for looking at things in new and unique ways. Sometimes the insights they have lead to great inventions!

Sometimes inventors come up with completely new products or devices that solve a particular problem. At other times, though, new inventions are merely existing items that have been changed or improved so that they work better or serve a different purpose.

So what should you do if you have what you think is a great idea for an invention? Talk to a friend or family member about it. Get input from others about your idea. Then ask them to help you create a working model — called a prototype — of your idea.

Once you have a prototype, you can test it. Sometimes your idea turns out to be not quite as great as you thought. At other times, though, you realize it is a good idea and your prototype can help you figure out how to make it even better.

If your idea really is a good one, an adult can help you contact companies that might be interested in it. You will also want an adult’s help to get a patent for your idea, so that it is protected and can’t be stolen by someone else.

If you need some inspiration, consider these kids and their inventions:

  • Jeanie Low invented the Kiddie Stool when she was just 11. It’s a folding stool that fits under the kitchen sink. Kids can unfold it and use it to reach the sink all by themselves.
  • At the age of 15, Louis Braille invented the system named after him that allows the blind to read.
  • Chelsea Lannon received a patent when she was just 8 for the “pocket diaper,” a new type of diaper that includes a pocket for holding baby wipes and powder.

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