I’m happy to announce that my oldest daughter, Lakin won 2nd place in her school’s Invention Convention 2013! I could not have been more proud of my beautiful girl as she gracefully received the bright red ribbon from her science teacher. As we left the gym where prizes were awarded, her classmates clapped and gave her high fives. It did my heart good, seriously.
Her invention is a board game that teaches kids about money. Her game is called “Easy Come, Easy Go” and she designed a circular board with a spinner in the middle. You spin to see how many spaces you move forward, and each space is designated as one of four things: an “expense” space, a “job/reward” space, a “free” space or a “lose a turn” space. Free spaces are “school holidays”, “weekends” or “snow days”. “Lose a turn” spaces say things like “grounded for not turning in your homework” and “broke a window playing Frisbee”.
If you land on either an “expense” or a “reward” space, you draw the appropriate card. An expense card might say that you “buy a new CD” or “purchase extra ice cream with lunch”, and a job/reward card might say that you “fed Freddy’s fish while he vacationed in France” or “helped Dad clean out the garage” — either way, you will spin the center dial to determine how much money you have spent or earned. You will always earn the money on job/reward cards, but you can choose not to make the suggested purchases on expense cards, instead opting to save your money.
The board is infinite and the game ends when someone has saved X amount of money. In a short game, you might decide to quit when someone reaches $200. For a longer game, you might set the final amount at $1000.
The idea for the game was all hers, and she came up with a very long list of expenses and rewards. Together, she and I designed the game cards and money. She divided the board into equal pieces of pie and we measured it out to draw the concentric rings that created the individual game spaces. She procrastinated a bit on the actual decoration of the board, and David ended up drawing a good bit of that for her on the last night, but she left him detailed notes on how she had intended to do it, which he closely followed.
Lakin made the game pieces out of little magnets and colored paper, which came out very cute. She decorated a small box to contain the money, game cards and game pieces, and stamped it with her game’s logo and title. She presented the project to a small team of judges last week and had been waiting on pins and needles to find out whether her invention would be presented at the PTA meeting. We got a letter that she was an Invention Convention finalist on Monday, and my father joined us on Tuesday night to view all of the finalist’s inventions at the school. She didn’t expect to win a prize at all, which made it all the more joyful when her name was called!
There were some very cool inventions out there – an ice cream cone cup holder for the car (with a built-in cooler to keep the ice cream frozen while you transport it, for one – but there were also a great number of inventions that didn’t seem to have much research or thought put into them. One student’s invention was two blankets stitched together on three sides so you can sleep outside at night comfortably… yep, pretty sure that’s been done already! One budding Martha Stewart had “invented” putting white chocolate chips in a sugar cookie. Her conclusion was that her idea worked and that they tasted very good.
We had a good time checking out all of the Invention Convention projects and meeting Lakin’s friends and their parents. The best part is that at the end of the night, we brought her awesome game home and added it to our game collection, where I’m sure it will get lots of play time.