Camp Invention participants to survive an alien planet and 'green up' a polluted city

The nationally acclaimed Camp Invention program is coming to Fort Hays State University this summer through the camping program of the university's Science and Mathematics Education Institute (SMEI).

Created for children entering grades one through six, the exciting Camp Invention program is a weeklong adventure in creativity that immerses its participants in engaging, hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as history and the arts.

Each day, children rotate through five integrated modules that employ creative thinking to solve real-world challenges. Children learn vital 21st century life skills such as problem solving and teamwork through imaginative play.

This summer, children at Fort Hays State University will be challenged to survive harsh living conditions after crash-landing on an alien planet in the "Problem Solving on Planet ZAK" module, institute green city design by employing eco-friendly water filtration and safe waste disposal systems in the "Saving Sludge City" module, and uncover the science behind thrill rides as they build model roller coasters in the "Imagination Point: Ride Physics" module.

By popular demand, all Camp Invention programs include a module in which children participate in high-energy games that challenge their minds and bodies, as well as a renowned invention module, in which children upcycle pieces and parts of discarded household appliances and other donated materials to create new machines.

Since its inception in 1990, nonprofit Invent Now programming has grown to include nearly 1,500 school partnerships in 49 states. In 2010, more than 70,000 children participated nationwide. The Camp Invention program was created in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which continues to support Invent Now’s noble mission to inspire creativity and inventive thinking in children of all ages, and local sponsors including the SMEI and the Steffens Foundation.

"We are focused on the STEM subject areas that will help the United States address a critical shortage of scientists and engineers in the global workforce of the 21st century," said Michael J. Oister, chief operating officer for Invent Now Inc. "Our programs nurture creative thinking in children, providing them with open-ended opportunities to explore ideas, make mistakes, and reinvent solutions."

The Camp Invention program has been featured in Child, Principal, and Better Homes and Gardens magazines, as well as dozens of other educational journals and general publications. The program has also been the focus of National Public Radio's "Science Friday" and studied by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

In a recent survey, 90 percent of parents said the Camp Invention program helped their children to enjoy science.

Every program participant receives a coveted Camp Invention T-shirt that features clever new artwork each year. Early registration and alumni discounts are available.

To register a child for the program or to learn more about Invent Now programming, visit or call 800-968-4332. For local information, call Barbara Rockers, SMEI camp director, at 785-628-4168.

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Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
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Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |