Did you know that February 11th is National Inventors' Day? National Inventors' Day is a time to celebrate the ingenuity and creativity of inventors, past and present. And since it just so happens to fall during Black History Month, it's the perfect opportunity for kids to learn more about Black inventors. There are many Black inventors who have made significant contributions to society, and their stories are definitely worth celebrating! This article will share four fun ways you can celebrate National Inventors' Day with young children.
But First....What is National Inventors' Day?
National Inventors' Day is a U.S. holiday that celebrates the accomplishments of American inventors. It was declared a holiday in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan chose the date of February 11th to honor Thomas Edison on his birthday.
Teaching Kids About Black Inventors
National Inventors' Day is a great time to teach your learners about Black inventors. There are many Black inventors, so it would be impossible to list them all here. However, we've compiled a shortlist of Black inventors you can explore with your kids whose inventions have truly changed the world:
- Garrett Morgan: Inventor of the traffic light and gas mask
- George Washington Carver: Inventor of more than 300 ways to use peanuts
- Elijah McCoy: Inventor of automatic lubricating systems for trains and machinery
- Lewis Latimer: Inventor of the electric bulb filament and carbon paper
- Patricia Bath: Inventor of the laser tool to treat cataracts
- Lonnie Johnson: Inventor of the Super Soaker water gun
- Madame C.J. Walker: Inventor of hair care products for African Americans
- Charles Drew: Inventor of the blood plasma bank
Each of these inventors has a unique and inspiring story. Want to learn more and honor these great inventors on National Inventors' Day? Here are 4 engaging National Inventors' Day activities you can do with preschool, kindergarten, and elementary aged kids:
National Inventors' Day is a great time of year to read about Black inventors! There are lots of great children's books that feature inspiring stories about Black inventors, and these books can help teach kids about the importance of innovation and creativity.
Some good biographies for young readers and listeners include:
Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton
- Readers will learn about the former NASA engineer who had more than 120 patents and created one of the world's most popular toys, the Super Soaker water gun.
The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca
- This rhyming tale tells the story of Dr. Patricia Bath, the eye doctor who invented a tool to treat cataracts.
National Geographic Readers: George Washington Carver
- In this book, young readers will learn about the great George Washington Carver who is well-known for his work with plants and peanuts.
Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker by Kathryn Lasky
- Sarah Breedlove, more commonly known as Madam C.J.Walker, is showcased in this book for her innovative African American hair care products.
Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? by Patrice McLaurin
- This fictional story follows a boy and highlights the different objects he uses throughout his day that just so happen to be created by African American inventors.
If you're looking for other books about Black inventors, be sure to check out the library or online bookstores like Amazon. There are many great titles to choose from, so it should be easy to find a few books that interest you and your kids!
Watch Videos About Black Inventors
National Inventors' Day is the perfect time to watch a video or two about Black inventors! There are many kid-friendly videos available online that feature inspiring stories of Black inventors, and these can be used as educational tools in your classroom or at home. You can also find videos about specific African American inventors on websites like YouTube and National Geographic Kids.
We've also come across theee cutest little girl who creates Black History videos for kids on her Youtube channel, KidsBlackHistory. She's even got a few that highlight African American inventors, so be sure to check her out! Your kids will definitely learn a thing or two!
Plan an Invention Day
National Inventors' Day is an awesome time to let your kids get creative! There are many fun activities you can do with them on National Inventor's Day, including those that encourage them to invent something new and unique. You might plan an Invention Day by letting your child choose their own invention project or setting up competitions between classroom teams.
If you're looking for ideas, here are a few activities that might inspire your kids on Invention Day:
- Have them make a list of inventions they would like to see exist
- Let them create an invention with everyday materials
- Challenge them to come up with an invention that solves a problem
If you're in a classroom, you could even schedule a virtual Museum Walk and allow kids to present their inventions to loved ones via live streaming or video recordings. The possibilities for Invention Day are endless, so get creative and have fun!
Learn More About African American Inventors
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE….
A Free Gift from Us - An INCREDIBLE INVENTORS FLIP BOOK!
National Inventors’ Day is a great time to educate young learners about the history and achievements of inventors who have made major contributions to our society. This year, encourage your child or students to learn more about African American inventors by engaging in some of the activities above, and also be sure to download our Incredible Inventors Flip Book!
This free, printable download includes a flip book that young children can create to document what they learn about three African American inventors (George Washington Carver, Dr. Patricia Bath, and Garrett Morgan) from our Legendary Leaders - Black History Flashcards. This activity is easily adaptable to the skill level of your kiddos. Below are a few ideas on to use the flip book with our Black History Flashcards:
After reading the cards…
- Draw pictures of what each person invented
- Draw pictures + add words to describe what each person invented
- Write a sentence that tells what each person invented
- Write a few facts about each person
>>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE INCREDIBLE INVENTORS FLIP BOOK
If you use this flip book with your young learners, be sure to tag us @absee.me in your photos! We love to see our creations being put to good use.
Happy Learning! And Happy National Inventors' Day!