4th Grade Invention Ideas

This statue of Icarus shows him lifting his notorious wings, which his father Daedalus invented.

Young students are naturally inventive. Seeing the world with fresh eyes, they notice positive qualities, problem-areas and solutions to issues people entrenched in the adult-world have trouble seeing. Approach an inventions project with a natural curiosity. Problem-solve how to simplify everyday tasks--or complex issues--to create beneficial, healthier or stress-less activities or chores.

1 Combining Objects

Combine musical instruments into a super-instrument that creates new sound combinations.

Sometimes it makes sense to combine two or more objects into one useful tool. Think about an object that you use every day, or periodically, that would make more sense as one object. As of 2010, iPhones are a new item on the market that combine email, phones, cameras and other gadgets. Do not limit yourself to thinking about technological objects though. Think simply, then expand. If you like to play instruments, think about merging the guitar, a flute and cymbals into one mega-instrument. If you like drinking chocolate milk and regular white milk--or any two beverages--think about creating a cup with a divider in the middle that lets you sip one drink from one half and the other drink on the opposite side. Be creative and let your imagination do the idea work. Then work mechanics and sketching into your final invention idea.

2 Make Chores Easier

Add color to chores you do not find fun; find attributes in the chores that allow for creativity.

If you dislike doing your chores, think about ways to make these more mundane tasks fun or a least a bit more enjoyable. Make a list of chores you have to do each day or every few days. These might include making your bed, raking leaves, setting the table, or cleaning your room. Consider the parts of the job you do not like, the tedious parts or what makes it boring. Replace the negative parts of the chore with more interesting things like music, a game or challenge. If you do not like raking leaves, for instance, come up with a machine idea or a new tool that gathers more leaves at once. Be creative and talk with others about their experiences with the chore. Ask if they feel your invention would improve their lives in some way.

3 Language & Codes

Ancient Egyptians invented a language made of shapes, lines and animals symbols.

Invent a language or code. Think up a new creative way to speak or write. Create an alphabet or other character-system to write notes and sound out words or images. Study other languages--like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sanskrit as well as Morse code--to get an idea of how other languages and code systems work. If you want to submit this an invention for a school competition or fair, check with your teacher to make sure your language idea will pass as an eligible invention. If you need to create a physical object, come up with a prototype--or model--of a machine or tool that could transmit the language. You can also create a set of instruments, like modern pens and pencils, that visually communicate the language.

4 Pets & Animal Care

Create a toy for your dog that educates and entertains.

Invent a game, walking-leash, toy or accessory for your pet. If you have a dog who loves to walk but who strains on the leash to get ahead of you, invent a type of leash that lets him run farther but still keeps him safely in your line-of-sight. If you have a bird, invent a cage that gives her more freedom to fly but also keeps her protected from damaging her wings. When you're playing with your cat, think of a toy that would be fun for you both. Or create a whole line of pet toys for a long car trip or hiking trip. Ty to invent toys and accessories beneficial both for the animal and the animal-owner, like a Frisbee-like toy that is fun to toss as well as receive back from a fetching dog.

Noelle Carver has been a freelance writer since 2009, with work published in "SSYK" and "The Wolf," two U.K. literary journals. Carver holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from American University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The New School. She lives in New York City.