Inspiring a sense of innovation with Kid Inventors Day

After 19 years in a classroom and almost 50 on the planet, I’m positive kids are masterminds! Their natural sense of wonder has them exploring, inventing, and finding ways to move mountains from birth. Kid Inventors Day, January 17th, is a day to remind kids of their natural spark and show them other kid inventors who have done some AMAZING things!

Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin

We celebrate Kid Inventors Day January 17th, on the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, perhaps one of the most inspirational KID inventors of all time. When Franklin was just 11 or 12 years old (sources vary), he invented swim fins! Franklin goes on to invent many more useful items including the lightning rod, street lamps, and bifocals. He is an excellent model of the spirit of innovation for children everywhere who dream of solving a problem with their invention.

Kid Inventors Inspire!

There are many other inventors who had their ideas before adulthood. Companies like Google encourage innovation in schools by sponsoring science fairs, maker fairs and awards for students who present new and useful ideas. Perhaps there is a young inventor in your home or classroom.

Explore Kid Inventors

Spark curiosity in the children around you with Homeschool Holiday’s Kid Inventors. This learning activity presents 6 different “kid inventors” to learners. Their stories are presented as a means of inspiring innovation and creative thinking toward an invention of their own.

Perhaps your learner is inspired by Ben Franklin himself and that famous story about the kite and some lightning. June 15th is National Electricity Day. It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore the facts surrounding Franklin’s experiment and dispel the myths!

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The truth about Ben Franklin’s kite flying might just SHOCK you!

June 15th is National Electricity day. Where would we be without electricity? Quite literally in the dark! No one person “invented” electricity. Electricity is a form of energy and it exists in nature, it had to be discovered, like gravity! Many elementary school students are taught that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity in 1752 when his kite was struck by lightning in a storm. This is a GREAT story, but it simply isn’t true. Ask George Washington after he’s done chopping down the cherry tree. (another great story that simply isn’t true!)

Engraving from 1846 depicting young George Washington confessing to his father.

Electricity has always existed, so pinpointing exactly who discovered it can be tricky. The Ancient Greeks discovered in about 600 BC that when they rubbed fur on fossilized tree resin there was an attraction between the two. This was static electricity. Archaeologists in the 1930’s discovered pots with sheets of copper inside that they believe may have been ancient batteries meant to produce light at sights of both the Romans and the Persians leading them to believe those civilizations may have used some form of battery.

By the 17th century the discoveries related to electricity were multiplying! By 1752 when Ben Franklin came into the picture he was able to prove that lightning and tiny electric sparks were the same thing. Spoiler alert – if Franklin’s kite had been struck by lightning, he likely would have died.

Advancements in discovery continue when in 1800 Alessandro Volta constructed the an early electric battery that produced a steady electric current making him the first person to create a steady flow of electrical charge. By 1831 electricity could be created in a practical way – opening the door for American inventor Thomas Edison and British scientist Joseph Swan. They each invented the incandescent filament light bulb in their respective countries in about 1878. Light bulbs had been invented before this by others, but the incandescent bulb was the first practical bulb that would remain lit for hours. We will learn more about Thomas Edison and the light bulb on National Inventors Day in February!

In the mean time – if you would like the rest of the Story about Benjamin Franklin and the Kite I have put together a fact filled resource for you: FRANKLIN & THE KITE: LAPBOOK, NOTEBOOK OR MINI BOOK. This curriculum is suitable for learners in grades 3 and up. There is both a video and Informational Text. You can use either or both to complete the activity. As a BONUS there is a Word Study included because Franklin is responsible for coining several words related to electricity.

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