Chicago Toy & Game Fair

Chicago Toy & Game Fair (2)

Calling all kid inventors! The Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG) encourages kids to unleash their inner Einstein with its fifth annual Young Inventor Challenge, an original toy and game inventing competition held during the Fair on November 19, 2011 at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Kids ages 6-18 are invited to participate in this fun and exciting event that brings together imagination, play and inventive thinking with grand prizes awarded in two age categories by popular vote of Fair attendees, who will cast their votes for their favorite invention based on originality, creativity, appeal and presentation.

With professional toy and game inventors and industry representatives on hand to provide advice, critique, guidance and encouragement, ChiTAG’s Young Inventor Challenge also provides participants with the means of taking their inventions to greater heights and the opportunity to show their inventions to the public, toy industry, and members of the press.

"The Young Inventor Challenge helps kids develop so many skills that can serve them well through life such as creativity, critical thinking and perseverance," says Mary Couzin, Founder of the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. "They'll learn how inventors work - from concept to development of a prototype to testing and research."

Budding inventors can get started by downloading the Young Inventor Challenge Workbook, which includes step-by-step guidelines on how to take part in the challenge, plus kid-friendly instructions on how to brainstorm and record ideas, design and develop prototypes, and how to prepare for their presentation at ChiTAG's Young Inventor Challenge event.

Nick Metzler, age 16 from Algonquin, IL was the winner in 2010’s Senior Category for his game, That’s Cheating! “The Young Inventor Challenge was an opportunity of a lifetime for a kid like me, because the competition allowed me to create an original game, develop it, and show it off to top executives and companies. Victory and the prizes that came along with winning were overwhelming and full of valuable information and experience.”

Educators are also invited to take part in the Young Inventor Challenge by incorporating toy and game inventor workshops in their classroom as a class project, school-wide competition or after-school program, using the Young Inventor Challenge Workbook as a guide to help kids imagine, design, test, and create their own original toy or game inventions. Once complete, students are invited to present their original playthings at the event.

"The Young Inventor Challenge is an excellent enrichment opportunity,” says Karen Luciana, 5th grade teacher at Lincolnwood Elementary School. “Designing requires a combination of skills. Children must brainstorm, write, revise, edit, use critical and strategic thinking, and incorporate artistic skills. The result is a product that impresses, inspires and humbles teachers, parents and executives in the toy and game industry."

Registration is free on the Chicago Toy & Game Fair's Young Inventor Challenge website and must be submitted online or by mail before October 31, 2011. All entries require a prototype of toy or game invention and poster display to be presented at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair on Saturday, November 19, 2011.

Chicago Toy & Game Fair hours are 10am to 6pm on Saturday, November 19, and 10am to 5pm on Sunday, November 20, 2011. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Children under the age of three, scouts in uniform, teachers and librarians are admitted free of charge. For more details, please visit:

Celebrating the power of play and the joy of invention, the 2011 Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG) returns to Chicago’s beautiful Navy Pier on November 19-20, 2011, inviting exhibitors and sponsors to take part in this one-of-a-kind family event. Now in its ninth year, ChiTAG is America’s only consumer toy and game fair, bringing together 20,000+ consumers, inventors, manufacturers, retailers and members of the media to play, promote and celebrate the creation of toys and games.

Exhibitors are invited to showcase, promote and sell their products to ChiTAG attendees – the largest, most cost-effective focus group in the U.S. Exhibitors have the opportunity to interact directly with consumers and members of the media, demonstrate the best way to market and sell their product lines to retailers and trade members, and take advantage of perfectly timed product promotion – just in time to kick off the holiday shopping season.

“Hasbro’s first year of exhibiting at ChiTAG was 2007 and it was a great success!” said Mike Hirtle, Head of Global Product Acquisition and Inventor Relations at Hasbro. “Exhibiting across the aisle from us was a young Belgian inventor and his Project X game. Our introduction to Project X led us to negotiate a license deal with the inventor. We changed the name to Pictureka and launched it as a part of Hasbro’s line the following year. In addition to the board, card, video, phone and other versions, there is now a Pictureka Game Show on Hasbro’s HUB network.”

New social media opportunities at ChiTAG allow exhibiting brands and sponsors to get their marketing message out to the masses. ChiTAG’s 2011 Blogger/Media Preview Event introduces exhibitors and sponsors to over 150 influential parent bloggers and members of the media at this fun interactive family event. Bloggers will be posting and tweeting throughout the Fair about their exciting experiences and fun finds to their thousands of followers and friends on Twitter, Facebook and their blogs.

This year’s events get even more celebrity infusion as multi-millionaire “Shark” Daymond John comes out to play at ChiTAG. Daymond will be joining several former Shark Tank contestants who will be exhibiting the toys and games they pitched on the hit ABC-TV reality show, Shark Tank.

ChiTAG offers many unique and affordable exhibitor, sponsorship and advertising opportunities, all designed to create exciting and informative brand experiences via entertainment, education, hands-on activities, contests and promotions. Sponsoring brands will benefit from ChiTAG’s comprehensive and extensive marketing and public relations campaign, including vast multi-media exposure and expert social media outreach.

Founded in 2003, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair is the only non-hobby consumer toy and game fair in the U.S. Held annually on the weekend before Thanksgiving at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier, ChiTAG brings together consumers, toy and game inventors, toy industry trade and members of the media to celebrate the creation of toys and games and their inventors. Its mission is to build community through play by providing opportunities for people of all ages to connect with one another and experience the joy and educational value of traditional play.

For more information or to register visit:

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