Can Creative Kids Benefit From New Invention Program?

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Veteran Inventor Ken Tarlow of Marin County, California has designed over 500 products worth over one billion in retail sales. Ken is now creating a national non-profit foundation called Young Inventors of America, creating unique challenges in a summer camp, scholarships, and quality education on the invention process from idea, to finished prototype. (Ken Tarlow founder of Tarlow Design)

Veteran Inventor Ken Tarlow of Marin County, California has designed over 500 products worth over one billion in retail sales, but, as a kid, Ken was frustrated and struggled in school. Back then the word “dyslexia” didn’t exist and kids that didn’t conform to the norm were put into “special” classes. Ken knew he wasn’t stupid, he just perceived things differently. Fortunately, Ken’s parents gave him use of the basement to set up a workshop. There he blossomed, creating a roller coaster, rockets, go-carts and toys he could sell to his classmates. He appeared in a Newsday article after he designed a walking, talking robot at age 14.

Today Ken is the president of Tarlow Design,, a product development company that helps inventors and entrepreneurs design, patent and prototype their ideas for the marketplace.

For the past 17 years, Tarlow has brought his love of inventing, creative thinking and gadgets to the fourth-grade students at Neil Cummins Elementary School in Corte Madera CA, via his annual Invention Convention.

"When my daughter was in fourth grade, her teacher, Michael Arrow, discovered what I did and he said, 'Let's do an invention thing with the kids,'" Tarlow said. "It started out as just his class but eventually grew to encompass the entire fourth grade.

"It's a great age because at around 10 they're old enough to think about how things work. They have some motor skills so they can sort of put things together, but they're also young enough not to be encumbered by limitations. The results are really wonderful to see.”

Tarlow meets with students, teaching them about what kinds of products might make good inventions, how to find out if anyone else has come up with a similar idea, the basics of market research, and how to create a prototype or design drawing.

Because the annual Invention Convention has been such a big hit with the kids each year, Ken is now creating a national non-profit foundation called Young Inventors of America. A key activity of Young Inventors of America will be a week long invention camp for teachers and students to take place in the San Francisco Bay area.

Young Inventors of America is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing the best quality training for kids interested inventing; enhancing their knowledge of the invention process to allow them to fully realize their idea, from concept to finished prototype.

This innovative training program will engage kids with activities like experience with a 3D printer, working with the tools of prototyping, market testing, field trips to manufacturing plants, methods of famous inventors and secrets of the creative process. A summer Teacher Training program will help local educators get the skills needed to put on their own Invention Convention at their schools.

Young Inventors of America will also sponsor a yearly competition for high school students, with award grants given to the winners of its Young Inventor Competition. These grants will be given to the college or educational facility of the winner’s choice to help with the student’s expenses. Tarlow says -“I love inspiring kids with creativity and reaching out to the community with quality education in this field. Young Inventors of America will give creative young students the chance to shine – not because they memorized for a test, but because they used their inventive minds to bring a new idea to life, and had a blast doing it.”

As an inventor or co-inventor Ken Tarlow has 81 US patents to his name. Listed in “Who’s Who of American Inventors” He’s a frequent speaker at business events, and has appeared on TV, radio and in print media. In 2011 he received the Hilton Entrepreneurship Award.

Ken has been on the front line of invention and entrepreneurship and enjoys passing on the knowledge he’s accumulated from his 35 years of professional experience. If you want to know more about Young Inventors of America or have an invention idea you need help with, you can find more information at or (PHONE) 888-399-3529.

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