When he was still a young adult, Les Paul invented what would later become the Holy Grail of Rock and Roll: the electric guitar. Almost a century before, a 15-year-old Louis Braille created the self-named technique enabling the blind to read and write. Today, these children are the new visionaries, continuing in the paths of inventors before them.
In Peoria, AZ, twin 7-year-olds became young entrepreneurs with their Buggie Bags invention. As featured in the Peoria Times, Joshua and Zachary were inspired by the dune buggy in their garage and a stretchy Superman cape. They pitched their father on the idea of making protective covers for dune buggies. Dad, Jay Neyens, researched the market and helped the kids patent their invention on LegalZoom.com. Today, the Neyens family is well on their way to making dune buggy history with their adaptable, durable covers.
Becky Clay's morning kindergarten class invented a backpack to store books, papers, water bottles, and more on the back of a classroom chair, keeping the desk uncluttered. As featured in the Chicago newspaper, Daily Herald, the kids at Lincolnshire's Sprague Elementary School were helped by parent volunteers and inventor Ken Freeman (dad to student Elli). One day, Freeman says he hopes to see the bags on every small chair in every kindergarten classroom in the country.
School for Pencils
On the East Coast, the recent winner of the Maryland Cool School Tools Competition was an 8-year-old girl named Emily. After noticing students losing their pencils, she transformed a juice carton into a "School for Pencils". This school is placed near the classroom entrance and students take pencils when they enter and leave one when they go home. Emily's invention was spotlighted on the site By Kids for Kids.
In Texas, kindergartener Jeanie Low invented a step for kids called the Kiddie Stool. Tired of climbing up on a plastic step to reach the bathroom sink, Jeanie decided to make a stool that would be a permanent fixture in the bathroom. Jeanie invented a folding step that attached to the bathroom sink. It is designed to be pulled down when you need it and to be folded up when you are done. Jeanie won several contests for her folding step and her invention was featured as Inventor of the Week on the Lemelson-MIT Program's website. Jeanie has gone on to devise a bathtub alarm that gives warning when the tub starts to overflow; a doormat with automatic brushes to clean shoes; and an easy-grip doorknob for people with arthritis.
Magic Sponge Blocks
In Cincinnati, 10-year-old Taylor Hernandez invented what she dubbed Magic Sponge Blocks, winning the Chester Award for Invention. Taylor was inspired after noticing that wooden blocks could hurt small children when they tumbled down. She devised large blocks made from a soft sponge that wouldn't hurt if they toppled over. She also thought to use magnets inside each sponge to make stacking them together easier. Magic Sponge Blocks are also easier to store than wooden blocks because they can be compressed to a fraction of their original size for easy storage. Taylor's story is featured on The Great Idea Finder site.
Remember, when it comes to inventing, being a visionary is what counts—not your age.