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What would you invent? Ideas from kids

But Why
Meera, 6, India, sent this invention idea: a narwhal that cleans up the ocean.

We asked our listeners: if you could invent anything what would it be? And we got so many fantastic ideas from kids all over the world: a solar cooler, a chimney that changes carbon dioxide to oxygen, a slide that gives you an ice cream cone at the bottom, and more. Some kids would like to invent robots that do their chores, flying cars, teleporting devices to take them back in time, and even a bully behavior zapper.

This episode is all about creativity! But how do you take a great idea and turn it into reality? We’ll get advice from teenage brothers Ayaan and Mika’il Naqvi, who invented, patented and now sell Ornament Anchor after Ayaan came up with the idea in fourth grade.

Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

  • What would you invent? Inventors are often driven by a desire to create something that would help solve a problem. Our listeners are interested in ways to tackle climate change, clean up the environment and to make life easier or more fun for all.
  • Once an inventor has an idea, they can get something called a patent. A patent protects the idea and means that no one else can take that concept and start selling a product without permission from the inventor. 
  • Once someone has a patent, there are a lot more steps required to actually start a business. People who start businesses are sometimes called entrepreneurs. They need to find a way to manufacture (make) and sell the product. Some companies will do research to figure out how well a product will sell and who will buy it.  

Learning Resources

Little Inventors

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Resources for Kids

Camp Invention

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Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. She also produces special projects for the station. Until March 2021, she was the host of the award-winning Vermont Public Radio program Vermont Edition.
Melody is the senior producer for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids.