Parents, Educators & Engineers

Dream It. Build It. Teach It!

Get kids excited about engineering.

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Not many kids get to see their ideas for new inventions become reality, but Lilly, MaryAnn, and Daniel are exceptions. As winners of our 2010 Trash to Treasure competition, they worked with professional engineers at Continuum, a global innovation and design consultancy, to turn their ideas into real working products. And oh, what cool ideas they are.

Thumbnail image for Lilly-t2t.pngAfter seeing a dunking booth at a fair, Lilly thought of making one for her own backyard parties, and came up with the idea of the Sibling Soaker: a device that breaks a water balloon over someone's head (preferably a sibling, it seems). "Throw, hit target, break water balloon, douse annoying sisters!!"

daniel-t2t.pngDaniel designed the MiBike: an all-weather bicycle. His inspiration? Too many walks to school in the rain. "You ride it like a bike, but you have side mirrors, a roof (to block the rain/snow) and a storage compartment for all your books, pencils, backpacks, etc."

maryann-t2t.pngMaryAnn's Smarter Toilet conserves water with every flush. Based on the idea of putting a brick in your toilet tank to save water, the Smarter Toilet uses a bottle and plunger design that allows control over how much water is flushed. "My invention will save millions of gallons of water. More then 40 percent of daily water requirements are used by toilets." (Because of her Smarter Toilet, MaryAnn received an invitation to the White House Science Fair and shook hands with POTUS himself!)
Oh, and another bonus for winning? Lilly, Daniel, and MaryAnn starred in the season finale of Design Squad Nation in the aptly-named episode, Trash to Treasure.

Inspire your kids to be inventors, too. Show them the Trash to Treasure episode and use it as a jumping off point to challenge them to think about how they can improve the world.

Check out the Invent It, Build It Guide for six invention-themed hands-on challenges, and encourage your kids to get active in the Projects section of the DSN website where they can make wishes for new inventions, sketch ideas, and post photos of prototypes they build.

Want to give your kids a chance to show their stuff to the world like Lilly, MaryAnn, and Daniel did? Encourage them to participate in this year's DSN contest and BUILD BIG! 
And so I ask you, dear readers, to ponder this: What's the greatest invention of all time?