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Is Your Kid a Budding Inventor? Get Their STEM on at These Innovative and Inspiring Spots in Washington, D.C.

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The light bulb, the telephone, the airplane, the television, personal computers, GPS, the video game console (you have Ralph Baer to thank for your kids' addiction), email, the Internet, cellphones, Wi-Fi . . . can you imagine what life would be like without these incredible American inventions? I mean, seriously, how did we find anything before GPS?!

National Inventors' Day, established by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 to coincide with Thomas Edison's birthday on February 11th, is the day we pay homage to the rock star inventors who came before us and inspire the next generation of tinkerers, designers, makers and innovators to carry on their legacy.

In honor of the holiday, we've rounded up a list of the best ways to celebrate National Inventors' Day with kids in the Washington, D.C. area. From innovative maker spaces to inspiring museums to an entire hall of fame devoted to invention, these kid-friendly attractions and activities are sure to encourage the budding kidventors and kidpreneurs in your life.

KID Museum

Get Your STEM On
KID Museum is an innovative learning space unlike any other in the Washington, D.C. region. The museum provides impactful hands-on learning that incorporates STEM, art and culture with 21st century skills like creativity and critical thinking. KID Museum is open to the public on Sundays with drop-in Open Explore activities and in-depth workshops that introduce new skills, materials and concepts for kids in grades K-8. Try your hand at coding and program a drivable robot using LEGO's EV3 robotics kit. Or upcycle a clock in the MakeLab. Options vary weekly and there is something for everyone to explore.

Innovation on the National Mall
What’s a list of places to visit with kids in Washington, D.C. without a Smithsonian museum? The National Museum of American History is the place to explore everything that makes America what it is today. In fact, the Museum has an entire wing, Inventing in America, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, devoted to American inventors and innovators of the past and present. Here, kids can view the home workshop of the aforementioned OG video game creator, Ralph Baer. You'll also want to make your way to the Spark!Lab to explore, test, experiment and invent. Activities for children ages 6-12 and their families incorporate STEM with art, history and creativity. An afternoon well-spent as you think about your (next) invention!

College Park Aviation Museum
College Park Aviation Museum

Take a Moment to Marvel at the Invention of Aviation
You’ve heard of the Wright Brothers, right? North Carolina’s famous brothers, Orville and Wilbur, are the two credited with inventing, building and flying the world's first successful airplane. You can step back in time and walk where Wilbur Wright walked at the College Park Aviation Museum. This state-of-the-art facility is located on the grounds of the world's oldest continuously operating airport in College Park, Maryland. The airport was founded in 1909 when Wilbur Wright came here to give flight instruction to the first military aviators. Spending a day here, you’ll be immersed in all things aviation, including special exhibits like Engineering 101, where you will learn the basics of engineering through an interactive, hands-on challenge to construct your own design from plans to prototype. Save 43% off adult admission to the College Park Aviation Museum.

Spark Curiosity and Creativity at the Nation's Newest Children’s Museum
The National Children’s Museum is an amazing museum for families to explore a variety of exhibits and experiences. Made possible through sponsors like Amazon and Microsoft, the goal is to inspire the next generation to dream the impossible. One exhibit young inventors will really enjoy is the Tinkerers Studio, providing an interactive 21st century experience with hands-on activities and workshops. Through a generous donation of innovative Microsoft technology, visitors can also explore a world of custom color and light with a block-based coding experience surrounding the Dream Machine climber and slide. Opening date TBD – check the website for official information on when this museum will be open to the public.

ARTECHOUSE Future Sketches Washington, D.C.
Future Sketches Exhibit by Zach Lieberman, ARTECHOUSE-DC

Immerse Yourself in Art + Tech + House
An cutting-edge 21st century art space with three locations – Washington, D.C., Miami and New York City – ARTECHOUSE is an immersive multimedia art museum that makes the power of creativity and innovation come to life for kids and adults alike. ARTECHOUSE-DC's current exhibition, entitled Future Sketches, was developed in collaboration with Zach Lieberman, one of the most dynamic pioneers in the field of coding and interactive media and whose projects have been listed among Time Magazine's "Best Inventions of the Year". Young visitors will be mesmerized watching their own gestures and movements used as inputs to make drawings come to life, their silhouettes transformed into music, and seeing what voice might look like if they could see it. Save 20% off admission to Future Sketches through March 1st. 

Surround Yourself With Hall of Famers
This Hall of Fame is dedicated to the greatest inventors that make the world around us amazing. The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in Alexandria, Virginia, recognizes inventors and invention, promoting creativity and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Admission to the museum is free, and as you walk through the exhibits, you’ll recognize famous inventors like Thomas Edison and George Washington Carver. Plus, in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, every year the museum recognizes another class of Inductees and their incredible contributions – the 2019 class is ready for a visit! The National Inventors Hall of Fame also provides summer camps for grades Pre-K through high school – there are over 1,600 programs available nationwide for your budding inventor.

Already Have an Idea? Learn how to Apply for a Patent.
United States Patent and Trademark Office issued patent number 10 million on June 19, 2018. This milestone of human ingenuity perhaps exceeds even the Founding Fathers’ expectations when they called for a patent system in the Constitution to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” There’s no better day than National Inventors’ Day to check out the Kids Section of the USPTO's website and spend some time learning how the patent system works so you’ll be ready once you have a prototype. The website also includes fun games and activities for all ages of makers, builders, and tinkerers to enjoy - from coloring pages to awesome "Build an Invention" projects where kids can recreate inventions in expired patents!

Ways to Celebrate Year Round

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Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Silicon Valley, theCoderSchool combines a super-small teaching ratio with an individualized immersion style to get your kids learning to code in no time! From game development to web apps, Python to Java, these are the skills needed for the 21st century. Save $100 off One Month of Code Coaching® at theCoderSchool.

LEGO Sets Delivered Right to Your Door, Every Month!
These days, there seems to be a subscription for everything. From books to toys, a curated box of your favorite thing will show up on your doorstep every month. For LEGO-loving kids, Brick Loot is one of our favorites. Every Brick Loot box is filled with LEGO and other unique brick-related items for hours of creating and building fun!

Get Inspiration From Past Seasons of MAKE48
Grab your favorite snacks and that special spot on the couch – it’s time for a binge! MAKE48 is a ten-episode series showing how a product goes from idea to store shelf. It all begins with 12 teams from 12 colleges competing in a real-life invention competition. They must brainstorm the best product idea within a given product category, make a prototype, and pitch it – all in just 48 hours. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you watch these inventors throughout their journey!

BeSTEM Camp Ashburn

Camps, Camps and More Camps!
With Spring Break right around the corner and summer vacation close behind, every parent is looking for activities to get their kids off the couch. Rather than playing video games, you can learn to build and design your very own video game at SimTek Game Development Camp in Herndon, Virginia. Put on your kid’s engineering hat this summer as they spend a week immersing themselves in mathematics and robotics at BeSTEM! Camp in Rockville, Maryland. Or send them to innovative Camp IO in Columbia, Maryland, which combines the outer science of engineering and inquiry-based STEAM learning with the inner science of yoga and harmonizing body and mind. 

Be sure to check out our exclusive Interactive Camp Guide for a variety of summer camp options - all discounted up to 50% off! And if you register by February 23rd, you can save an additional $10 off with promo code EARLYBIRD20.

Save the Date!

The USA Science & Engineering Festival
The USA Science & Engineering Festival inspires students nationwide with year-round educational programming. But for a celebration of everything science and engineering, this annual event in Washington, D.C., taking place from April 23rd - 26th in 2020, is where middle and high school students will be inspired to create the next big thing. 


Check out The Best U.S. Historical Sites to Visit With Kids {That are so Much Fun They Won't Even Realize They're Learning} for more kid-friendly, educational family fun!


CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. Sign up for family-friendly deals in your area and start saving!