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Press Contact:

Emily Blosser | | 404.434.2103



CHICAGO, IL (October 7, 2020) -- People of Play (POP), formerly known as the Chicago Toy & Game Group, is announcing the kickoff of the 15th annual Young Inventor Challenge. This year’s contest is sponsored by Mattel, Magformers, Goliath and Hasbro, four companies that have a long history of working with and developing inventors young and old. Also sponsoring the event is The United Inventors Association and Female Strong.

As the program enters its 15th year, POP announces that Jazmine Darden, an innovator and educator in the 3D printing field, will assume leadership of the program.

The Young Inventor Challenge attracts kids 6-18 years old from around the world to create and pitch their original toy and game ideas. More than a dozen winners from previous years have seen their concepts manufactured and sold in stores nationwide.

2020 Young Inventor Challenge open now through October 31st

One winner will be chosen for each of the following categories:

Most Creative

Most Marketable

Best Game

Best Playful Learning

Best Outdoor or Active Play

Hopeful individuals and teams are asked to submit a pitch video explaining their original toy or game. The first 200 entries receive valuable feedback from professional inventors. Winners receive a $250 prize package of the latest toys and games. Prizes will be awarded on Saturday, November 21st as part of People of Play’s presentation of CHITAG Week. The deadline for entries is October 31st. There is a suggested donation of $25 to enter, and $15 for registrations completed by October 15th.

Overseeing entries for the 15th annual installment of the YIC is Jazmine Darden, recently appointed as the new program’s new director. Darden is an innovator at heart with a background in mathematics, physics and engineering. As a 3D printing enthusiast, her latest invention, IAMEARHERO, ear savers for masks, took off during the pandemic. Jazmine has a passion for mentoring young people and regularly takes her 17, 3D printers on the road for workshops in schools, museums and clubs.

“My dream job as a child was to design and build roller coasters. Creative design is my life’s work and I would not be where I am today without hard work and the mentors who’ve helped guide me. Kids today have big dreams and I’m excited and ready to step into this role and inspire and guide them through The Young Inventor Challenge,” said Darden.

“We are so fortunate to have Jazmine on our team,“ said Mary Couzin, President and Founder of People of Play. “She brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the program. Her background in innovation and mentorship are huge assets and will help shape the future of this program.”

This latest Young Inventor Challenge follows a successful contest that was held in the spring due to the pandemic. Four young inventors took home prizes and were celebrated for their original toys and games.


About People of Play

People of Play (POP) celebrates and empowers toy and game innovation worldwide by providing educational opportunities, recognition and community for industry professionals, amateur inventors and people of all ages who love to play. People of Play oversees a number of events including the Chicago Toy & Game (CHITAG) Fair, the Toy & Game International Excellence (TAGIE) Awards, the Young Inventor Challenge, the New Inventor Conference, the Professional Inventors Conference, Play in Education Conference, the Bloom Report and the People of Play Foundation.

About Jazmine Darden:

Jazmine Darden has a double Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Physics from Augsburg College and an Associate’s Degree in Engineering, Drafting and Design from Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, where she currently teaches. She also teaches through her original “Jaz Music Box” 3D Printed Bluetooth Speaker Project, a program where students learn the basics of 3D printing, CAD design, soldering and electronics. Jazmine also works with the Guys in Science and Engineering and Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GISE and GEMS) program, an after-school and summer school program with Minneapolis Public Schools. She is also a contracted engineer for SkyRide Technology, a top attraction on Carnival Cruise ships.


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