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This summer Happy Camper Live (HCL),  American Specialty Toy Retailing Association  (ASTRA) and People of Play (POP) partnered for the inaugural Young Inventor Challenge, Summer Camp Edition! Camps and retail toy stores across the country joined in this fun STEM-based challenge, where participants design an original toy or game. In August and September, camps will submit one toy or game to the judges in each of the two categories (6-12 year olds and 13-18 year olds). Winners receive an amazing Game Tower or a Gift Card, and a spot in the national competition in November. Happy Camper Live Press Release Here! 


Registration is over for camps and invention is in process. To get involved for next summer, contact:

2023 Fall Young Inventor Challenge 


October 15 - Registration Ends

October 25 - All Submissions Due

November 4 - In-Person Pitching

$25 registration fee. If you register before October 1st, the registration fee is discounted to $15.

The mission of the Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) is to inspire the next generation to use creativity, critical thinking, and STEAM skills in the invention and innovation process and to connect professionals within the toy and game industry to mentor these young innovators in their design process.

The 18th Annual Young Inventor Challenge, provides an opportunity for children ages 6 to 18 to develop and pitch their original inventions to major toy and game companies, industry professionals, members of the media and general public. This unique and educational experience ignites imagination, creativity and presentation skills like no other, providing a means of taking these inventions to greater heights, with professional critiques from People of Play industry experts.

We are the only young inventor program that has sponsorship and mentoring participation from top toy and game manufacturers around the world. Many of the winning inventions have been licensed by these global companies and can be found on store shelves today!

“Aside from being fun, engaging, and meaningful, the Young Inventor Challenge builds and reinforces sophisticated practices such as critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and leadership,” she said. “These essential skills are needed to be successful in the 21st century.” -Carrie Martinez, Teacher, Palos Heights, IL

General Questions? Contact -

Interested in being a Mentor/Judge? Contact -


Show your game or toy idea to major toy companies, receive valuable feedback on your invention, and maybe even win prizes and have it considered for publishing! It is easy and fun! 

2023 Fall Young Inventor Challenge Registration Opening Soon! 

Our Young Inventor Challenge Ambassador Kedar Narayan
Interviews Richard Dickson, President and COO of Mattel! 
And... his Behind the Scenes Tour of Mattel and JMP Creative! 

Young Inventor Challenge is Accredited! 

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Meet our Impressive & Committed
Young Inventor Challenge Advisory Board! 

Tim Walsh - Chairman of Young Inventor Challenge Advisory Board, Co-Founder Roo Games, designer, YouTuber at SeizethePlay

Alicia Alexander-Klitsner - Educator, Former YIC Director, currently works with judges/mentors

Helaina Cappel - Owner at Kids Table Board Gaming, former teacher, board game designer

Mary Couzin - Founder & President of Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc. dba People of Play - POP!

Michael Gramelspacher - Toy Inventor and Co-Director / Founder at SG Labs, Co-Organizer for St Clare School Innovator Club (SCIC)

Ahren Hoffman - Director of the Young Inventor Challenge, Marketing & Communications Manager at Crazy Aaron's

Ken Johnson - Phase 10 inventor and on Oakland School District in MI where they host an all school toy and game competition

Julie McNamara - ALPS Teacher, Palos East School, Palos Heights, IL

Allison Miller - Founder and President of Happy Camp Live

Gene Murtha - ASTRA Board, POP Executive Committee, Regional Director of SCORE

Erik Quam - VP of New Product and Business Development, Smart Toys and Games

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17th Annual Young Inventor Challenge

2023 Summer Camp Partnerships with ASTRA and Happy Camper Live Super Successful! 8,000+ Campers! 

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