Little Inventors

Pioneers Energy Challenge!

Thank you children in the North East of England!

You thought up invention ideas to generate energy, save energy, or use energy better!

Scientists all agree: we have to change how we live so we can take better care of our planet and even possibly reverse the damage we have already done. The way we produce and use energy is the biggest reason for pollution on Earth.

Little Inventors launched a new free initiative, the Pioneers programme, inviting young people aged 8-12 in the North East of England to take part in the Energy Challenge.

In addition, 15 young people across Tees Valley, Sunderland and Northumberland had their invention chosen to be made real.

They were invited with their teachers to take part in our new Pioneers programme, where they worked with the Little Inventors team, professional makers, and designers, to turn their invention from idea to reality, and feature in the awesome exhibition in Tees Valley in the summer of 2020!

Continue your Pioneers journey with us!!

Thank you to all of you who have entered the Pioneers challenge! We have now selected our fifteen ingenious little inventors and working with them through an exciting programme to encourage their creative confidence. But we want to give all children a chance to take part!

We have created resources for our Pioneers sessions that you can also use if you wish to continue an invention journey with your children and students - this is the Pioneers inventor’s log. We will keep adding activities to this log when we run our sessions, so children can keep track of their work and progress through the Pioneers programme. And if the children want to add extra sketches or other ideas, that’s fine too! It’s their log - and this can be turned into a ‘book’ or portfolio that they can keep!

We will be taking the Pioneers through three creative sessions and you can do the same - here is when the materials will be available: Why ideas matter - refining your invention idea - available now to download! From 2D to 3D - Prototyping and communicating your idea (April 2020) Exhibition! Presenting your invention idea (June 2020)

You could run a little inventor session over one or several lessons and get the children to share their ideas with their peers in class or in an assembly, depending on the time you have available. If you haven’t yet, you can use our teacher resource pack to get children to come up with an invention.

We hope that you will find the resources useful to continue to inspire YOUR little inventors. Upload their inventions the most ingenious invention drawings will be included in our exhibition at Preston Park this summer!

Download the Pioneers inventor's log!

Why we are launching the Pioneers programme

Creativity and problem-solving are key skills for young people as they head into their future. We want to give 15 young people across Tees Valley, Sunderland and Northumberland a chance to develop their creative potential through an exciting programme that will benefit them, their peers and schools, with creativity CPD on offer for their teachers.

The lucky winners will be invited to take part in 3 events between January and June 2020 in inspiring venues (locations tbc within Tees Valley, Northumberland and Sunderland), with 2 follow-up sessions to be led by teachers in their schools.

If your students are not in these regions, don't worry, you can still take part: five lucky winners will have their invention drawings showcased at the exhibition and receive a signed copy of the Little Inventors Handbook.

The Pioneers programme events

1. Why ideas matter (End January 2020 - 4 hours): Meeting inspiring creativity speakers, our pioneers will share their ideas, where they came from and find out why creativity matters now and in the future, and how they can develop their ideas. This will be supported by a teacher-led follow-up school session on refining their idea and sharing what they have learned with their peers (support and resources provided).

2. From 2D to 3D (March 2020 - 4 hours): Meeting with professional makers, artists and designers, our pioneers will prototype their idea and learn about design thinking and materials. The makers will then take the ideas from prototypes to real objects, while young people at school will explore how to tell their story and present their invention and share with their peers in a follow-up school session.

3. Curating and exhibition! (June 2020 - 1 day): To celebrate the culmination of their work, the Pioneers will become curators of the Pioneers exhibition and will get to evaluate their journey, before a launch event with VIPs and press!

But it’s not just the students who stand to gain from this unique experience. Teachers are at the heart of shaping the future of young people, and with creativity and thinking skills never more in demand, we want to give them the tools for professional development to embed creativity in their teaching.

  • Creativity as a learned skill
  • Using invention to empower students
  • Developing concepts from ideation to realisation
Download the resource pack

With thanks to our partners

Our partners and supporters:

Arts Council England, Tees Valley Combined Authority, Museums Northumberland, Festival of Thrift, University of Sunderland, Northern Bridge Consortium, Tees Valley Museums, Northumberland County Council, Sunderland Culture, Culture Bridge, Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley, Thought Foundation, Tees Barrage International White Water Centre, Centre for Excellence in Creative Arts (CECA) Hartlepool, City of Dreams

News & Press

Little Inventors Pioneers take on the North East

CHILDREN as young as eight have been designing their own creations to help use and store energy better.

The Little Inventors competition saw pupils across the North-East, aged between eight and 12-years-old, send in their ideas before 15 winning entries were chosen.Five of the winning designs came from children in the Tees Valley while other successful innovations came from Sunderland and Northumberland.