by Young Inventor Challenge | 12 Feb 2024
Judging, Mentoring, and Awards Ceremony Took Place at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair
CHICAGO (February 13, 2024) – Catastrophe of Hairballs, Hike the Spike, and Blanket Kingdom were among the top place finishers at People of Play’s 18th Annual Young Inventor Challenge® (YIC) held in 2023 on November 4th at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.
The YIC is a yearly competition where students between the ages of 6 and 18 have the opportunity to create an original play product and pitch it to professional toy and game inventors for a chance to win big prizes. Past winners have seen their entries licensed, manufactured, and sold in both specialty toy stores and in major retailers including Target and Amazon. Leading up to the Young Inventor Challenge® in November, regional events are hosted at independent toy stores, day camps, and summer school programs to inspire and engage kids to create toys and games to be judged in the annual competition.
"The Young Inventor Challenge has a mission to inspire the next generation of innovators, but I find the kids are the inspiration. It is a joy to be a part of their journey from start to finish and watch their creativity unfold!", said Young Inventor Challenge Director, Ahren Hoffman.
The Young Inventor Challenge® has assembled over 10,000 kids globally since its inception to compete. The 18th annual competition sponsored by Mattel, Crazy Aaron’s, Boogie Board, The Toy Association, Fun in Motion Toys, Spielwarenmesse, Reyn Guyer Creative Group, Goliath, and The Playmakers included 106 ‘kidpreneurs’. The 78 unique YIC projects were submitted for judging in the virtual showcase and reviewed online by over 50 professional inventors and executives from many well-known companies around the world.
"The highlight of my trade show circuit is the Young Inventor Challenge. The creativity of these kids is unreal. The entire toy industry rallies around and encourages them. It's awesome to see,” shares Tim Walsh, board chair and judge of the Young Inventor Challenge.
Each year, Young Inventor Challenge® competitors have the option to pitch their project in-person. This is not a requirement for participation, but an exciting opportunity for kids to present and watch the award ceremony live! In 2023, the YIC had 44 projects pitched at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair and 4 of the 8 winners were presented with trophies on stage. Winners spanned multiple states including Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, and Massachusetts.
Below is the official list of winners of the 2023 Young Inventor Challenge:
BEST GAME - Sponsored by Mattel
Senior Winner: Endless by Keegan Franck (8th grade) of Belmont, MA
Junior Winner: Catastrophe of Hairballs by Carol Pack (4th grade) of Palos Heights, IL
MOST CREATIVE - Sponsored by Crazy Aaron's®
Senior Winner: Pirates of the Spinning Sea by Analise Potsander (7th grade) of Goshen, IN
Junior Winner: Hike the Spike by Shaurya Shah (4th grade) of Chicago, IL
MOST AUTHENTIC - Sponsored by Boogie Board®
Senior Winner: Blanket Kingdom by Wolf Danzer (7th grade) of Superior, CO
Junior Winner: Zombie Zania by Shea Curran (4th grade) of Palos Heights, IL
BEST PITCH - Sponsored by The Toy Association™
Senior Winner: Delivering Presents by Claire Schmitt (7th grade) of Evansville, IN
Junior Winner: Makeover by Marley McCall (4th grade) of Palos Heights, IL
The 19th Annual Young Inventor Challenge registration is set to open this summer. Interested participants are encouraged to check out the resources and rules at www.younginventorchallenge.com for inspiration. Caregivers, teachers, and other adults can sign up to be notified when registration is live!
About People of Play
People of Play (POP) leads the global toy and game industry in promoting innovation, creativity, and connectivity. A one-stop source of community for industry professionals, aspiring inventors and people of all ages who love to play, People of Play hosts an play platform packed with resources and connection points as well as a wide range of events including the Chicago Toy & Game (CHITAG) Fair, the Toy & Game International Excellence (TAGIE) Awards, the Young Inventor Challenge, the Toy & Game Inventor Pitch and Innovation Conference, POP Roast, Toy Takedown and more.
FREEMAN PUBLIC RELATIONS MEDIA CONTACTS:
Amy Friedland (firstname.lastname@example.org), Emily Potrzuski (email@example.com), - 973-470-0400
Toy Review: Magnetic Wonder Tiles - Vehicle Builder Set
Film Review: Tin Toy
Andy Keimach: What I’m Hearing! – Toy Association Events
Learning Resources and hand2mind - Holiday Movie Set with their Employees Extras
Film Review: Toy Story Toons
How A Young Woman Brought Mecha To Market
Your Kids Are Safer Inside Their Mecha
Real Mecha Are Taking Off & Landing Near You!
The Top 23 POP Profiles of 2023
Free Video Game - Queen Mirtnesh & the 70 Thieves
Randy Klimpert Shares his Ukulele Collection
Steve Casino Peanut Art
Everyone's Talking about POP!
Princess Etch - a Multi-Talented Etch A Sketch Artist
Joseph Herscher of Joseph' s Machines.
Tom Dusenberry... Bought Atari, Wizards of the Coast, and Avalon Hill!
Matt Leacock created Pandemic... the game!
Scott Brown and Tim Swindle... are Launching a New Sport!
Daryl Andrews says... "GO TO CONVENTIONS!"
Ed Gartin is... the Evel Knievel of Inventor Relations!
POPDuo: Richard Dickson, Mattel’s President & COO, and Kedar Narayan, Young Inventor Challenge AMB
POPDuo: Will Shortz and Josh Wardle
POP Duo: Elan Lee, Co-Founder, Exploding Kittens.and Jeff Probst, Host and Exec Producer, Survivor
POP Duo: David Fuhrer, MNG Director, Blue Sq Innovations & Shawn Green, past Dodgers & Mets MLB Star
POP Duo: Bob Fuhrer, Founder, Nextoy and Tom Fazio, Golf Course Designer
Toy Inventors--The Heart and Soul of the Industry
Brian Turtle: 'Endless' Stories, Advice, Kevin Bacon and More! tBR Person of the Week
Jonathan Levy on Jon2.0 - from Co-Founding Mastermind Toys to Spin Master
Andrew Perlmutter's Journey from Glencoe to Funko with Crazy Ideas that turned out Golden
Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!