Inventors work everywhere, but many get started at home, using things they find around the house to prototype, or model and test, their inventions. What will you invent from home?
Spark!Lab is a hands-on space where you get to be the inventor. Based in the National Museum of American History and in other museums across the country, Spark!Lab has lots of ideas to get you started.
Go digital, and check out Spark!Lab challenges using Tinkercad, a free app for 3D designing. Through Spark!Lab’s activities, you can reinvent a shopping cart, design a stadium, or invent something to help clean plastic out of the ocean. Dreaming of getting outside soon? Dream bigger, and design your own rocket to explore deep space or just check out the local solar system. With digital representations of the things used in the Draper Spark!Lab in the National Museum of American History, you can choose, combine, and resize pieces to make your vision a digital reality. Or choose pieces that others have developed on Tinkercad to innovate—or create your own pieces to make your invention unique!
Do you like building things more than designing on a computer? With Instructables, you can search your house for materials and build your own musical instrument. Will you build something using strings or wind? How about a new percussion instrument to serenade your family?
Want more creativity in your inventions? Play Now What? online, a game where you have to invent something to solve a problem using limited materials. The catch? Digital spinners make the challenge different every time you play!
As you work on your inventions, ask yourself some questions to help make your invention a success.
- How have other people solved this problem in the past? Use the links in Instructables to find some information about Smithsonian objects that may give you some ideas. Or you can use the Smithsonian Learning Lab to explore millions of Smithsonian objects online and create your own digital collection! Still want to know more? Head to the website of a museum in your area and see if you can email someone who works there to dig deeper!
- Who will be using your invention? How did you make it different from something that already exists so your invention is unique? How would you design it differently if you had different materials?
- Share your invention! Tell your family or your class what you made, why you used the pieces you did, and who your invention is for. Or share it online! Take a picture of your invention or make a short video explaining your invention, and ask a grown-up to help you post it online. Use #sparklab #WhatWillYouInvent #tinkertogether or email us at email@example.com to show us your invention, too!
Interested in learning more?