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Young Inventor Challenge Application Opens

Nobody knows toy innovation better than kids themselves.

It’s time for kids to grab their thinking caps and get tinkering. The 11th annual Young Inventor Challenge is now accepting applicants. Held annually, the challenge is part of Chicago Toy and Game Week (ChiTAG), held Nov. 18 on Navy Pier in Chicago, to promote play and invention in social, educational and professional environments.

The YIC gives girls and boys between the ages of six and 18 a chance to present their original toy and game concepts to media, consumers and industry heavyweights. Those with the best designs have a chance to be picked up for distribution by a major toy company or retailer. For the first time, applicants can also submit their entries by video, without traveling to Chicago.

“It’s no surprise that kids themselves have some of the most brilliant ideas for toys and games,” says Alicia Alexander, director of the Young Inventor Challenge. “With last year’s winner just about to hit shelves at Target, the sky is truly the limit not just for winners but also for all participants.”

Inventors are paired up with their very own toy industry mentor for inspiration, and judged by industry leaders from companies like Fisher-Price, PlayMonster, Spin Master and Lego. Applicants can win awards in six categories that measure a specific aspect of the toy design and marketing process, including Most Creative Concept, Most Outstanding Presentation and Best Educational Concept.

A first place and runner up will be announced in each category for two age groups, with senior winners receiving $1,500 each and junior winners receiving $1,000. The fair’s more than 30,000 attendees will also choose a “People’s Choice” winner.

Last year, two now-fifth graders at Palos East Elementary in Palos Heights, Illinois, took the top prize for their pirate-themed treasure hunt game, Ship of Treasures, which has gone on to be manufactured by Pressman, and will hit store shelves at Target nationwide on Oct. 1.

This year’s YIC sponsors include Target, Pressman Toy, Mattel, PlayMonster, Spin Master, Lego and Hasbro. Registration is open through Oct. 28. To register or learn more, visit www.chitag.com/yic.

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