Chicago Toy & Game Fair seeks to spark kids’ creativity with contest

The nation’s only public toy and game fair, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG) is looking for the next young George Lerner. Could it be you or your child?

Kids, age 6 to 18, are invited to participate in the fifth annual Young Inventor Challenge, an original toy and game inventing competition held during the Fair on 19 November, 2011 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Grand prizes are awarded in two age categories by popular vote of Fair attendees, including professional toy and game inventors as well as industry representatives and the public. Attendees will vote for their favorite invention based on originality, creativity, appeal and presentation. Inventors and industry reps will also be able to provide advice, guidance, critiques and encouragement to young would-be Milton Bradleys.

“The Young Inventor Challenge was an opportunity of a lifetime for a kid like me, because the competition allowed me to create an original game, develop it, and show it off to top executives and companies, ” said Nick Metzler, age 16, from Algonquin, IL, winner in 2010’s Senior Category for his game That’s Cheating! “Victory and the prizes that came along with winning were overwhelming and full of valuable information and experience.”

Get started by downloading the Young Inventor Challenge Workbook. Youngsters with dreams of becoming the next Ruth Handler will find step-by-step instructions on brainstorming, capturing ideas, preparing their ChiTAG presentation and designing and developing prototypes to exhibit at the show.

“The Young Inventor Challenge helps kids develop so many skills that can serve them well throughout life such as creativity, critical thinking and perseverance,” explains Mary Couzin, Founder of the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.

Registration is FREE however, registration materials must be submitted online or via mail before 31 October, 2011. All entries must include prototype of the game or toy and the poster display to be presented at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair on 19 November, 2011.

Founded in 2003, ChiTAG is the only non-hobby public game and toy fair held in the U.S. The Chicago Game & Toy Fair is held each year at Chicago’s Navy Pier the weekend before Thanksgiving. ChiTAG is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 19 November and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, 20 November. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Children under the age of three, scouts in uniform, teachers and librarians are all admitted free.

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