Norm Goldstein, whose company By Kids For Kids, has some suggestions for parents who want to help their kids grow their creative ideas into innovative products.
1. Remember it takes time and money to become an inventor. Prototypes and patents cost money. A patent can cost from $6,000 to $10,000.00 and the process can take from 2 to 3 1/2 years with 90% of patent requests being denied. But don’t give up. I have some other ideas on how to help your child grow their ideas.
2. Kids will need your help. “In other words, if you think your child has an incredible idea for a product and you want him or her to pursue it, plan to be very involved in the process.”
3. Be willing to step out of their way. “Like helping with homework, it's better if you let them try to figure out the problem on their own, ‘or try to be clever enough where you can guide them to the answer without letting them see what you're doing, Goldstein suggests. Kids, at a certain age, don't want to be told what to do. They want to be empowered to explore this thing called life. And if you don't give them a chance to do that with their venture, you could muck everything up.”
4. Don’t be a grown up buzz kill. "Everything and anything is possible, and as long as something isn't dangerous or harmful, you should encourage them to think outside of what seems possible."
5. Push them to be problem solvers not inventors. "Your children have more to gain by participating in and learning the inventor's problem-solving skills rather than trying to come up with an invention that the world will embrace.”
Excerpts from Kids and Business: What Does It Take To Raise An Entrepreneur? Geoff William Huffington Post 7/19/15
So maybe your child is not ready to search out their first patent but does want to engage with other kids with creative minds. Where do you look? Here are a few places where kids can compete with other kids to share potential entrepreneurial ideas.
The Paradigm Challenge is an annual competition that challenges young innovators to create things that address important social issues. This competition is for kids 7 to 18. www.projectparadigm.org
SIBA - Student Ideas for a Better America. www.nmoe.org/students/siba.htm
Young Innovator Competition www.younginnovator.com
3M Young Scientist Challenge youngscientistchallenge.com
The DuPont Challenge Science essay writing contest http://thechallenge.dupont.com/
US FIRST Robotics Competitions for kids as young as 6 www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms
And here are a few books to spur on your young entrepreneur :
Billy Sure Kid Entrepreneur by Luke Sharpe introduces a 12 year old inventor with some wacky new inventions of his own!
The Business Kids - Activity Book by Rhonda Perryman is a skill building book for young entrepreneurs
The Making of a Young Entrepreneur by Gabrielle Williams