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Family Scooter by Wendy Ridley
Family Scooter by Wendy Ridley

Artist Dominic Wilcox Makes Children's Inventions a Reality

Family Scooter by Wendy Ridley
Family Scooter by Wendy Ridley

Every once in a while, kids demonstrate a stroke of genius—and that moment deserves to be documented. Designer and inventor Dominic Wilcox (known for his tools to make breakfast more fun and his Variations on Normal blog) traveled to his hometown in Sunderland, England and enlisted the help of some young, bright minds. Called INVENTORS!, the collection celebrates the brilliance of children.

As part of the project—commissioned by The Cultural Spring, a company that runs programs for English children to help them think creatively—Wilcox conducted 19 workshops for children ages 4 through 12. During the two-hour sessions, he talked about the process of invention and showed them some of his own creations for inspiration. He also visited a charity for children with disabilities called Ocean Arts, and enlisted the help of parents, teachers, and other adults.

The Liftolater by Charlotte Scott

At the end of the workshop tour, Wilcox had over 600 inventions submitted by over 450 Sunderland children. He picked the best 60 and brought them to local manufacturers and Sunderland’s Fab Lab, who met with the young inventors to discuss their sketches and what they envisioned for the finished product. Then, the young inventors had four weeks to create a prototype or computer visualization.

Some of the ideas are so simple and innovative, that you'll be kicking yourself for not thinking of it yourself—like the Pringles Hook, which lets you get to the chips without getting your hand stuck in the tube. Other ideas are just plain adorable, like the Family Scooter, which is a lot like a tandem bicycle.

Wilcox found an empty lot on Fawcett Street in Sunderland and rented it for the INVENTORS! exhibition. You can see all the ideas from now until January 30 or explore the designs here.

PringlesHook by Georgia Dinsley, made real by Andy Mattocks

Family Scooter by Wendy Ridley, made real by Roger O’Brian

Talking Lunch Box by Lorraine at Ocean Arts, made real by Alistair MacDonald

Leaf Catcher byElsie Ronald, made real by Roger O’Brian

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The Force Field Cloak
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Design
This Glowing Blanket Is Designed to Ease Kids' Fear of the Dark
The Force Field Cloak
The Force Field Cloak

Many kids have a security blanket they bring to bed with them every night, but sometimes, a regular blankie is no match for the monsters that invade their imaginations once the lights are off. Now there’s a glow-in-the-dark blanket designed to make children feel safer in bed, no night light required.

Dubbed the Force Field Cloak, the fleece blanket comes in several colorful, glowing patterns that remain invisible during the day. At night, you leave the blanket under a bright light for about 10 minutes, then the shining design will reveal itself in the dark. The glow lasts 8 to 10 hours, just long enough to get a child through the night.

Inventor Terry Sachetti was inspired to create the blanket by his own experiences struggling with scary nighttime thoughts as a kid. "I remember when I was young and afraid of the dark. I would lie in my bed at night, and my imagination would start getting the best of me," he writes on the product's Kickstarter page. "I would start thinking that someone or something was going to grab my foot that was hanging over the side of the bed. When that happened, I would put my foot back under my blanket where I knew I was safe. Nothing could get me under my blanket. No boogiemen, no aliens, no monsters under my bed, nothing. Sound familiar?"

The Force Field Cloak, which has already surpassed its funding goals on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter, takes the comfort of a blanket to the next level. The glowing, non-toxic ink decorating the material acts as a gentle night light that kids can wrap around their whole body. The result, the team claims, is a secure feeling that quiets those thoughts about bad guys hiding in the shadows.

To pre-order a Force Field Cloak, you can pledge $36 or more to the product’s Indiegogo campaign. It is expected to start shipping in January 2018.

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JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images
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holidays
The Most Popular Holiday Toys of the Past 35 Years
JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images
JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images

From Tamagotchis to Teddy Ruxpin, everyone remembers the most coveted holiday toys from their childhood—the toys that, whether you knew it then or not, your parents stood in line for hours to buy or paid premium prices for (it's not too late to thank them).

Online coupon site and shopping portal Ebates took a festive walk down memory lane to pay tribute to the most impossible-to-find toys of holiday seasons past, beginning with 1983's Cabbage Patch Kids craze and leading up to last year's Nintendo NES Classic. How many did you own?

The Most Popular Toys Through the Decades

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