A school project involving invention ideas can be an excellent outlet for your child's natural creativity. However, because of the vast possibilities open for such an assignment, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Help your child find a starting point by brainstorming ideas to improve everyday life, both in your home and around the world.
Help Around the House
Perhaps the best place to start looking for invention ideas is in the basic chores you and your child do around the house. Ask your child about things he would like to be able to do more easily, or suggest a chore that you yourself find difficult. You can also look for ordinary household products, such as trash bags or sponges, that could be improved. Try adding extra functionality to things you already use. For example, think about adding a rough back to a toothbrush for tongue scraping or a collapsible handle on a mop that would allow it to reach tight spaces.
Conservation and energy efficiency are hot-button issues nowadays, and a project that addresses such environmental concerns is sure to impress teachers. First, ask your child to consider ways to reduce the waste produced by everyday activities: for example, devices to limit water usage or recycle garbage into reusable products. Your child may also want to explore alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power, finding more opportunities for using everyday resources to generate clean energy.
Board and card games are common interests among children, and designing a new twist on a classic medium will give your child both a creative outlet in a school project and a new way of playing with her friends. First, have your child pick a theme or concept for the board game: an educational theme like science or history is sure to win bonus points with teachers. Then, sculpt the mechanics around a specific aspect of the theme. For example, if you are designing a board game based on the Lewis and Clark expedition, your primary objective will be making your way west across the board.
Making Others' Ideas a Reality
Turn to the Internet for public-domain invention ideas that have not yet been created. Sites such as Creativity Pool host the brainchildren of inventors who do not have the time or resources to turn them into a reality, and who have chosen to share their ideas freely with the public. While your child is unlikely to be able to create a working version of these products, he certainly will be able to find an idea whose internal operations he can draw or whose structure he can represent in a mock-up.