Events News

People of Play Announce the Winners of the 17th Annual Young Inventor Challenge

People of Play Young Inventor Challenge 17th Annual 18th

What do a Flibbertigibbet, Chicken Scratch and a Water Bottle Maze all have in common? They were all among the top place finishers at People of Play’s 17th Annual Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) held on November 19th at Radio Flyer Headquarters in Chicago.


The YIC is a yearly competition where students between the ages of 6 and 18 have the opportunity to create an original toy or game and then pitch it to professional toy and game inventors for a chance to win big prizes. Past winners have seen their entries licensed, manufactured and sold in major retailers.


This year’s competition, sponsored by Mattel, Crazy Aaron’s and Zigazoo, garnered 89 entries from 3 countries with 50 participants/teams pitching in person at Radio Flyer Headquarters. They were judged virtually and in-person by 76 professional inventors and executives from many well known companies from 8 countries.


“After two years of hosting the event and awards virtually, it felt great to be back in person,” said Jazmine Darden, Director of the Young Inventor Challenge. “There were so many great ideas this year. Congratulations to all of our winners and we can’t wait to see even more entries next year!”


Students got an opportunity to tour Radio Flyer Headquarters and took a team photo in front of the brand’s iconic Big Red Wagon.


Below is the official list of winners of the 2022 Young Inventor Challenge:


Best Game – Sponsored by Mattel:

Senior Winners: Chicken Scratch by Avalinn Olson (7th grade) of Lebanon, IL and Ainsley Turkington (8th grade) of Caseyville, IL

Junior Winner: The Flibbertigibbet by Paula Juzenas (4th grade) of Palos Park, IL

Honorable Mention: Micro Golf by John Kampwerth (8th grade) of O’Fallon, IL and Eric Rybak (8th grade) of Collinsville, IL


Most Creative – Sponsored by Crazy Aaron’s:

Senior Winners: Water Bottle Maze by Grant Middleton (8th grade) of O’Fallon, IL and Jacob Portera (8th grade) of Caseyville, IL

Junior Winner: Flicking Village of Madness by Robert Fala (4th grade) of Palos Heights, IL

Honorable Mention: Rocket Building Spree by Jeremy Dugan (4th grade) of Skokie, IL and Wilson Emidi (7th grade) of Chicago


Best Pitch – Sponsored by People Of Play:

Senior Winners: Rock Paper Scissors Brawl by Max Gramelspacher (5th grade) and Oliver Middleton (5th grade) of O’Fallon, IL

Junior Winners: Optimism for Autism by Isabella Slack (4th grade) of Palos Park, IL

Honorable Mention: Hide and Beep by Braxton Holland (10th grade) of Trophy Club, TX