Camp Invention


Camp Invention provides us, as inductees, the opportunity to inspire and challenge children through our experiences in youth and beyond. Developing future inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs, and instilling the core values of creative problem-solving, sets this camp apart from the rest. Children leave after a week with skills that will last a lifetime.

-- Steve Sasson, inventor of the digital camera and 2011 National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee

Program Type

Hands on/Project-Based
Informal /Out of School

Target Audience

All Students




Pre-K - 5

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

Camp Invention summer programs have encouraged more than 800,000 curious young minds to explore, create and invent. Camp Invention reaches more than 80,000 children in 1,200 schools and 49 states nationwide each summer—and exponentially more through Camp Invention teachers who report transferring Camp Invention strategies to their classrooms during the school year. By combining learning and fun, the program has earned an approval rating of more than 90% among parents, educators and children. 


Program Overview

Camp Invention is a nationally recognized summer program focused on creativity, innovation, real-world problem solving and the spirit of invention. The program’s top priority is to present essential STEM concepts and entrepreneurial content through creative, hands-on activities.

The world’s smartest inventors—inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame—inspire and inform the program.

Begun in 1990 by Invent Now as an outreach program, Camp Invention’s summer enrichment day experience is designed for children entering grades 1–6. The STEM-focused program encourages creativity and curiosity for youth during summer vacation and aims to prevent “summer slide,” a term used to describe the loss of students’ academic skills and knowledge during the summer. Camp Invention curricula also are used in after-school programs.

Free to schools and organizations that host the program nationwide, Camp Invention features collaborative learning opportunities led by local teachers in a safe environment. Local teachers receive professional development training and are certified to deliver the program. 

Year after year, the program offers innovative curricula that align with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards and meet rigorous internal testing requirements. The program presents real-world challenges and promotes the direct application of 21st century critical thinking and communication skills. Camp Invention inspires children to be curious about their world and prepares them for the future.

Through national donors, Invent Now provides Camp Invention scholarships to over 10,000 underserved children from diverse populations annually. In addition, dozens of school districts have used state and federal funds to provide the Camp Invention experience to their staff and students.

Camp Invention is the only nationally recognized, nonprofit elementary enrichment program that partners with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Collegiate Inventors Competition.

Funders and Partners

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
The Al and Helen Free Foundation
The Amos E. Joel Young Inventors Endowment
The Burton D. Morgan Foundation
GAR Foundation
Invent Now® Endowment Children’s Education Fund
The Jochum-Moll Foundation
Motorola Solutions Foundation
Northrup Grumman Foundation
II-VI Foundation


Hannah Paulin

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.