Celebrate Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday with activities for Kid Inventors Day

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Happy Birthday Benjamin Franklin

We celebrate Kid Inventors’ Day on January 17th, Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday. Benjamin Franklin is perhaps one of the most inspirational KID inventors of all time. When Franklin was just 11 or 12 years old (sources vary), he invented swim fins! Franklin goes on to invent many more useful items. You may be familiar with a lightning rod, street lamps, and bifocals. Each of these items is an invention by Ben Franklin. He is an excellent model of the spirit of innovation for children everywhere who dream of solving a problem with their invention.  

Clip art images of Benjamin Franklin and the swim fins he invented when he was only 11 or 12 years old. Benjamin Franklin's Birthday is when we learn more about other kid inventors.

Kid Inventor’s Day is a  holiday we incorporated in our Holiday of the Day lessons back in 2010. At this time the Happy Hive was using holidays as a set of Full Curriculum. You can check out what we did to celebrate Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday on Kid Inventors’ Day on our post in the category THE HOMESCHOOLING YEARS

Some Fun Facts about Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 6, 1706. In 1752, when England adopted the Gregorian Calendar Franklin’s birthday shifted (that year only) to January 17th. Because celebrating the anniversary of your birth wasn’t really a big deal in colonial times, it seems Franklin chose to keep January 17th as his new birthdate. If you would like to learn more about the Gregorian Calendar you can read this post. THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR HISTORY

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin had 2 birthdays thanks to when England adopted the Gregorian Calendar!

If Ben had a birthday cake it most likely would have been a fruitcake. This is because the fruitcake and other similar dense cakes were the common celebration cakes of the time. The cake we use for birthday cakes and cupcakes wasn’t invented until the middle of the 1800s. You might be wondering if there are any people left who eat fruitcakes in modern times. There ARE! Check out this post: WHO EATSFRUITCAKE? Find out this National Fruitcake Day.

Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday is Kid Inventors’ Day!

After 19 years in a classroom and over 50 on the planet, I’m positive kids are masterminds! Their natural sense of wonder has them exploring, inventing, and finding ways to move mountains from birth. Kid Inventors’ Day, is a day to remind kids of their natural spark. It also shows them other kid inventors who have done some AMAZING things! This is a wonderful way to honor Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday. 

There are many other inventors who had their ideas before adulthood. Companies like Google encourage innovation in schools by sponsoring science fairs and maker fairs. They also grant awards for students who present new and useful ideas. Perhaps there is a young inventor in your home.

Explore Kid Inventors

In fact, you can spark curiosity in the children around you with Happy Hive Homeschooling’s Kid Inventors Activity Pack. This learning activity presents 6 different “kid inventors” to learners. Their stories are offered as a means of inspiring innovation and creative thinking toward an invention of their own. 

cover image for kid inventors' day
Visit the Happy Hive Homeschooling shop for a set of 6 different kid inventors your children can explore.

On the other hand, perhaps your learner is inspired by Ben Franklin himself and that famous story about the kite and some lightning. June 15th is National Electricity Day. It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore the facts surrounding Franklin’s experiment and dispel the myths! 

Some other ideas for Celebrating Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday include: 

Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday is a good opportunity to research the inventions of Benjamin Franklin and create a timeline. You can also use the information you find and compile it in a lapbook.

little boy wearing a suit. He has a notebook and a pen. he is wearing a colander as a hat. It is hooked by wires with alligator clips and appears to be a "mind reading" invention.
Inspired by other inventors, this young genius has invented a way to read minds with simple household items and some wires! What will you invent on Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday?

Studying other great inventors like Samuel Morse and Alexander Graham Bell is another way to celebrate. . In addition, Florence Nightingale invented some of the systems and methods still used in hospitals today. By studying other inspirational inventors and famous people, your child may be inspired to begin inventing as well.

Rube Goldberg was an inventor and a cartoonist. He is famous for drawing cartoons that contained inventions that solved simple problems in the most over-complicated and outrageous ways. The main character of these cartoons is Professor Butts. Today we call these inventions Rube Goldberg Machines. Mr. Goldberg drew over 50,000 cartoons over his life. As a result, around the globe, different organizations hold contests for the best “Rube Goldberg” Machines!

Take some time to check out his Zany Cartoons in the Rube Goldberg Gallery https://www.rubegoldberg.com/image-gallery-licensing/

Perhaps this inspires you to create your own Rube Goldberg Machine. If you happen to invent something that folds laundry, will you let me know?

Protecting Inventions with a Patent

When you have a true and unique invention, designed to solve a problem, many inventors – even kids seek what is called a PATENT. This protects the invention from being produced by another inventor for a period of 20 years. Even kids can be granted patents!

Visit the United States Patent & Trademark website. They have an awesome section just for kids and teens.

Learn about the process and meet other Kid Inventors like you!

A child holding a fictional patent application
Even kids and teens should apply for patents when they invent things.

Learn More about Inventors and their Inventions with Books

Amazon has books on inventors, some are just about inventors in general and some are biographies.

This is a fun one that covers all interest levels: 

The Kid Who Invented The Popsicle. This book has over 100 Inventions and the unique facts associated with them. Not all the inventions were Kid inventions, but the book is sure to inspire nonetheless!

Brainstorm has 20 stories of only KID inventors! The kids vary in age going all the way up to age 18. Sometimes their idea for the invention was while they were kids, but their idea didn’t work out until adulthood. This gives a well-rounded outlook on the process of being a kid inventor.

Thanks for stopping by Happy Hive Homeschooling for Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday

Today is a day for creating, even if it’s just THINKING about your invention. We don’t always have the exact supplies laying around the house for an automatic laundry-folding machine, right? Begin by becoming inspired by other KID inventors, then brainstorm your own awesome invention. 

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Sources:

http://www.kidinventorsday.com/

Rube Goldberg Machine Contest®, Rube Goldberg Machine® and Rube Goldberg Challenge® are all trademarks of RGI. Reference is used for educational purposes only. – not for profit 

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