As a parent, the 4th grade “Invention Convention” project is one of my LEAST favorites. Why? Well…because it’s HARD to think of an idea! I mean, a 9-year old has to come up with something that’s NEVER been invented before—that’s not that easy! Plus, it has to WORK. When my oldest child had this project, somehow he came up with a device to catch your popsicle drips when you eat a popsicle.
I DON’T EVEN KNOW.
It’s been three years, since then, and recently my daughter’s turn for the 4th grade invention convention project came up. Inwardly, I did a LOT of groaning. The night before her idea was due, she still hadn’t thought of anything. She and I sat at the dining room table wracking our brains for an idea.
“What needs to be invented that hasn’t already been invented?” I asked her. It was kind of rhetorical. She’s 9. She doesn’t really know what GIANT problems of the world need to be solved.
“The only thing I can think of that REALLY needs to be invented,” I said, “is something to keep parents from forgetting their babies in the car.”
My daughter’s eyes lit up. “That’s a great idea!” she said.
And an invention was born.
So, it has to be the CHILD’S invention. Now that she had an idea, we helped her talk through what would make the invention work. So my husband and I sat there and talked with her about what would and wouldn’t be practical when it came to a device. Eventually, she articulated that we would need something to attach to the parent, and something to attach to the child’s car seat, and something that would stretch in between. And it would have to be adjustable, to work in a variety of different-sized cars.
She worked out a sketch, we started googling (I say “we” because nope, we don’t let our kid google by herself) and eventually Sophie’s invention came up to be made of just two things: velcro loops and a stretchy cord. (Those are links to the actual products we bought, so you can make your own!) My husband actually found the cord—it is used for spear fishing, so it stretches really far! All total the supplies cost just about $12. And what they resulted in was this: Sophie’s Baby Forget-Me-Not.
Check out the video below to see how it works!
Sophie’s not selling her invention, but she doesn’t mind if you copy her design—she wants parents everywhere to make these simple devices and use them every day to ensure no one ever accidentally leaves their babies in the car again.
I know she’s my daughter and I’m biased, but I’m pretty proud of this girl!
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