We had an AMAZING time at our Toy and Game Inventor Camp (presented by Spin Master), which we ran in partnership with Story Planet and the Young Inventor Challenge at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair.

Here’s how we described the camp: “At our Toy and Game Inventors Camp, you’ll get to experiment with creating your very own toy or game! Toy and game experts will share the secrets of what makes a great toy or game, and will guide campers through the invention process – all the way from brainstorming to creating a prototype! You’ll get to physically create your own toy or game, which can involve electronic components like LEDs, motors, buzzers and 3D printed parts. Don’t worry if you’re not sure how these work, our inventor mentors will help you figure it out! If you could make a toy or game, what would it be? Become an inventor at our camp to start creating your masterpiece!”

This definitely came to life over the 5 days spent at MakerKids and Story Planet. Some of our guest speakers included:

  • Fred Cahill, serial toy inventor
  • Ben Dermer, VP New Ideas and Inventions, Spin Master Ltd. Spin Master (who makes Air Hogs model airplanes, Bakugan action figures, Liv dolls, and more) is the third-largest North American toy maker after Hasbro Inc. (Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue) and Mattel Inc. (Balderdash, Pictionary) and is located right here in Toronto! Ben brought some awesome toys for kids to play with, take apart and remix – we had a great toy hacking session the afternoon he came to visit.
  • Nick Metzler, former winner of the Young Inventor Challenge at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, and current Dream Team Member at Survivor Entertainment Group (the Survivor TV show!)

The participants at the camp made an amazing range of toys and games. Story Planet helped them to make instructions, commercials, and rules for their games and toys. At MakerKids, participants got engaged with the physical building of their toys and games, using tools like 3D printers, woodworking tools, soldering, and more.

Here are some of the commercials that the kids made for their toys and games:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT0fYd-oYCY

Here are some photos from the week:

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Thank you so much to all of our staff, speakers, volunteers, and camp participants!

Partners:

MakerKids: MakerKids is a nonprofit workshop space that gives kids the opportunity to learn hands-on skills like woodworking, sewing, hi-tech tinkering like 3D modeling and printing and making of all kinds!

Story Planet: Story Planet is a non-profit that offers workshops to support children and youth (ages 6-18) in becoming creative and effective communicators. By combining creative writing projects with art, they approach writing and reading with excitement.

Young Inventor Challenge: Young Inventor Challenge is an annual contest that takes place at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair, encouraging youth ages 6-18 to enter an original toy or game idea and compete for a chance to have their product professionally developed.

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