Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Young Inventor Challenge provides an opportunity for children ages 6 to 18 to showcase their own original toy & game inventions to toy & game industry professionals, members of media and the general public. 

The judging is split into two categories, usually 6-11 (junior) and 12-18 (senior) but are sometimes adjusted slightly based on the number of participants and ages so that everyone has a fair chance to win.  We always try to balance it out so the 2 categories have about the same number of entrants. 

There is no fee to participate in the Young Inventor Challenge. Participants and their immediate families are invited to be our guests with complimentary admission to ChiTAG for the whole weekend!  

Young Inventor workshops are ideal for a classroom activity, school-wide competition, after-school program, summer challenge, scout merit badge-earning activity, even for library programming.

Use our Young Inventor Workbook as a guide to help kids imagine, design, test, and create their own toy or game inventions. Whether you hold a one-day workshop or a series of workshops, use it to engage kids in a positive and challenging endeavor.

Once the inventions are complete, don't stop there! The Young Inventor Challenge can provide a means of taking the inventions to even greater heights, with professional critiques from our industry experts and the opportunity to show their work off to the public, toy industry, and members of the press.

Deadline to enter November 1st! 

Young Inventor Challenge

Presenting Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors


Past Participants in Media

How to register

​October 13, 2016 - Beth Engleman on WCIU with past winners Kate Forden and Mikayla Hartunian. Kate and Mikayla talk about their experiences participating in the Young Inventor Challenge.


October 10, 2016 - Beth Engelman's son Jackson is the poster child of why we work so hard to put on the Young Inventor Challenge every year! Thank you Target and Pressman Toy for sponsoring this year with epic prizes. And this year we have the new Young TECH Challenge presented by Spin Master, too! FOX News​


October 1, 2016 - Mary and Kedar, winner of our Young Inventor Challenge Jr. Div., talk about his game that helps vision impaired people learn how to code on NBC Weekend News. After winning our Young Inventor Challenge. Kedar appeared on The Steve Harvey Show and did a TEDx Talk.

April 27, 2016 - Kedar, winner of the 2015 Junior Division of the Young Inventor Challenge, talks about his game to help the visually impaired learn how to code on Steve Harvey TV for Little Big Shots

Participating in the Young Inventor Challenge is free. Follow these 3 steps and you're on your way to being part of one of our signature events! 

  1. Read the Rules & Requirements so you'll know what is expected of you and how to prepare for the fair.

  2. Register on Eventbrite using the button below by November 1st.

  3. Save and/or print our Inventor Workbook (PDF). In it you'll find easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions on how to take part in the Challenge, plus guidelines on how to brainstorm and record your ideas, design and develop your prototype, and how to put your presentation together for display at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.


The Young Inventor Challenge is an all day event on Saturday. You must be available at Navy Pier between 9am and 10am to set up, and stay until 6pm after the winners have been announced. 


The Big Day! 

Judging Occurs 10am to 2pm

Awards: 5:00pm, ChiTAG Fair stage 

A Best of Show Winner and one runner-up from both Junior and Senior categories will be selected by play industry professionals. There will also be a People's Choice award selected by the popular vote of the Fair's 30,000+ attendees, and an overall grand prize winner selected by this year's sponsor.

Besides great prizes to be won, and fun give-aways,  top toy and game industry representatives will be on hand to provide advice, recognition and encouragement to all young inventors to dream big and discover the possibilities of play!

Please keep in mind that not winning the Young Inventor Challenge does not necessarily mean that your invention is of no interest to the toy and game industry. Toy and game company representatives will be looking at invention entries throughout the day to give feedback on the originality, creativity and appeal of the invention, as well as the presentation of the marketing message. Some toy and game companies have found non-winning entries of great interest and our young inventors have been interviewed about their inventions by media outlets acrss the USA such as The Steve Harvey Show, Conan O'Brien, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS and more! 


The 1st place prize package for 2016 includes:

  • An interview on "Got Invention Radio" with Brian Fried


A trip to the New York Toy Fair, courtesy of Toy Industry Association including:

  • 2 nights hotel accommodation (February 11 & 12, 2016)

  • The opportunity to present an award at the Toy of The Year Awards (February 12, 2016)

  • A private 'behind the scenes' tour of the toy fair (get a sneak preview of toys coming out in 2017 from the world's biggest toy manufacturers!)

Plus more exciting prizes soon to be announced! 

Zoomer Inventors and Spin Master Staff with 2013 Young Inventor Challenge Winners Dora Ivkovich & Nathan Sun..

Past Winners


Senior Category Winner
Steven Huetteman

Junior Category Winner
Kedar Narayann


Senior Category Winner
Julia Shoppach and Cara Wendt


Junior Category Winner
Kate Forden and Mikayla Hartunian



Senior Category Winner
Nathan Sun

Junior Category Winner
Dora Ivkovich



Senior Category Winners
Charlie Davis and Ethan Hawker

Junior Category Winners
Bryce Wiersmaand Walker Ahluwalia



Senior Category Winner
Nick Metzler

Junior Category Winner
Isabella Miller and Simon Shifrin


Senior Category Winner
Nick Metzler

Junior Category Winner
Adrik Herbert



Isabella Miller and Madison Yang



Senior Category Winner
Joe Basile


Junior Category Winner
Hannah Allen and Ella Lambert




Lenny Brahin

Scouts get the opportunity to earn their 'Scout badge for Game Design' 

Playing and designing games teaches children problem solving, brainstorming, cooperation and creativity

Beth Sagett-Flores

Please reload

2016 Judges for Young Inventor Challenge

(More to be Listed)

Warren Tuttle

President of the United Inventors Association

Justin Mohlman

Game Development

Artist & Instructor

Shehnaz Safiuddin

Toy Marketing Executive and Brand Strategist

Brandi Pinsker

General Manager

Recent Toys

Megan Hinterman Kanous

National Accts. Manager 

Publisher Services Inc.

Karen Kilpatrick

Vice President


Michelle McGruder

School Council board at Annie Keller Regional Gifted Center

Paige Busse

Project Manager 

Eight Bit Studios


Penguin Foot Pottery

David Yakos


Salient Technologies, Inc.

Watch this space

for another

amazing judge! 

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