Saturday, November 21st, 2015 Navy Pier Festival Hall A

The Young Inventor Challenge provides an opportunity for children ages 6 to 18 to showcase their own original toy & game inventions to toy & game industry professionals, members of media and the general public. 

The judging is split into two categories, usually 6-11 (junior) and 12-18 (senior) but are sometimes adjusted slightly based on the number of participants and ages so that everyone has a fair chance to win.  We always try to balance it out so the 2 categories have about the same number of entrants. 

There is no fee to participate in the Young Inventor Challenge. Participants and their immediate families are invited to be our guests with complimentary admission to ChiTAG for the whole weekend!  


Eventbrite - 2015 Young Inventor Challenge

Getting Started & Registration

Participating in the Young Inventor Challenge is free. Follow these 3 steps and you're on your way to being part of one of our signature events! 

  1. Read the Rules & Requirements so you'll know what is expected of you and how to prepare for the fair.
  2. Register on Eventbrite.
  3. Save and/or print our Inventor Workbook (PDF). In it you'll find easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions on how to take part in the Challenge, plus guidelines on how to brainstorm and record your ideas, design and develop your prototype, and how to put your presentation together for display at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.
  4. The Young Inventor Challenge is an all day event on Saturday. You must be available at Navy Pier between 9am and 10am to set up, and stay until 6pm after the winners have been announced. 

Educators and Librarians - Organize Your Own YIC Workshop!

"Playing and designing games teaches children problem solving, brainstorming, cooperation and creativity."Beth Sagett-Flores

Inventor Workshops are ideal for a classroom activity, school-wide competition, after-school program, summer challenge, scout merit badge-earning activity, even for library programming.

Use our Inventor Workbook as a guide to help kids imagine, design, test, and create their own toy or game inventions.  Whether you hold a one-day workshop or a series of workshops, use it to engage kids in a positive and challenging endeavor.

Once the inventions are complete, don't stop there! The Young Inventor Challenge can provide a means of taking the inventions to even greater heights, with professional critiques from our industry experts and the opportunity to show their work off to the public, toy industry, and members of the press.


Judging occurs from 10am - 2pm

Awards: 5:00pm, ChiTAG Fair Stage (Winners and their parents will be taken to a special dinner immediately following the close of the fair at 6pm).  

A Best of Show Winner and one runner-up from both Junior and Senior categories will be selected by professionals. There will also be a People's Choice award selected by the popular vote of the Fair's 25,000+ attendees. 

Besides great prizes to be won, and fun give-aways,  top toy and game industry representatives will be on hand to provide advice, recognition and encouragement to all young inventors to dream big and discover the possibilities of play!

Please keep in mind that not winning the Young Inventor Challenge does not necessarily mean that your invention is of no interest to the toy and game industry. Toy and game company representatives will be looking at invention entries throughout the day to give feedback on the originality, creativity and appeal of the invention, as well as the presentation of the marketing message. Some of the toy and game companies have found non-winning entries of great interest. 


The prize package for 2014 included:

  • Dinner for the winner(s) and their parents with a leading toy industry expert following the event (Nov 22, 2014)
  • A VIP tour given by Bruce Lund of the Chicago workshop and offices of Lund and Company Invention LLC (home of Tickle Me Elmo and Doggie Doo)
  • A Zoomer robot dog ( courtesy of Spin Master  
  • An interview on "Got Invention Radio" with Brian Fried
  • A 1 year subscription and feature in Inventors Digest magazine

PLUS A trip to New York Toy Fair, including:

  • Roundtrip airfare for 2 to New York City
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation (February 13 & 14, 2015)
  • The opportunity to present an award at the Toy Of The Year Awards (February 13, 2015)
  • A guided tour of Quirky ( invention headquarters and lunch with their staff
  • Lunch with the staff at Quirky invention
  • A private 'behind the scenes' tour of the toy fair (get a sneak preview of toys coming out in 2016 from the world's biggest toy manufacturers!)

Thank you to our 2014 Partners!


MakerKids in Toronto hosted a Toy & Game Invention Camp in partnership with the Chicago Toy & Game Fair's Young Inventor Challenge.

2014 Participant Photos

9/21/14 Morning News

9/21/14 Morning News

10/22/14 Mid-day News

10/22/14 Mid-day News

Hasbro's Mike Hirtle speaks to Young Inventors

Past Winners


Senior Category Winner
Julia Shoppach and Cara Wendt

Junior Category Winner
Kate Forden and Mikayla Hartunian


Senior Category Winner
Nathan Sun

Junior Category Winner
Dora Ivkovich


Senior Category Winners
Charlie Davis and Ethan Hawker

Junior Category Winners
Bryce Wiersmaand Walker Ahluwalia


Senior Category Winner
Nick Metzler

Junior Category Winner
Isabella Miller and Simon Shifrin


Senior Category Winner
Nick Metzler

Junior Category Winner
Adrik Herbert


Isabella Miller and Madison Yang


Senior Category Winner
Joe Basile

Junior Category Winner
Hannah Allen and Ella Lambert


Lenny Brahin