Geek Parent

10 Movies to Inspire Young Inventors

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I love movies almost as much as I love books. Stories can take you so many places and inspire new creative thoughts and dreams. When I was a teacher, I often used movies to further a lesson. Sometimes children need to see something versus just hear about it to be inspired.

With the assistance of my 11 year-old daughter, we have compiled a list of 10 movies that have characters and storylines that showcase young inventors. Some of the movies just have one character that is an inventor, others show a character’s progression from a kid building things to an adult making a difference, and a few movies are entirely about an adventure immersed in STEM. Each movie is entertaining and good family fun. The difference is that these movies may just inspire the next great engineer or inventor.

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Meet the Robinsons (PG)

This heartwarming animated film is full of science, engineering, and inventions from start to finish. Even though the characters are cartoons, the movie shows that being young doesn’t mean you can’t invent something special.

 

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Big Hero 6 (PG)

This film deserves all the praise it has received. It may be make-believe, but showing that a highly creative and determined teenager can build amazing things most definitely gets a young viewer’s brain imagining what he or she can do. The film would be nothing without the ingenuity and love of science that each character has.

 

how to train your dragon movie poster

How to Train Your Dragon (PG)

Just looking at the title would not make a person think this film has anything to do with inventions. Though without the main character, Hiccup’s inventions, this story would be very different. His wild inventions are what get the story going and his inventions are key to what happens in the end.

 

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A Bug’s Life (G)

Being an inventor at times has a stigma attached to it. That because you think outside the box, you are a bit odd. This movie plays off that stereotype and shows that if others strive to think outside the box as well, powerful change can happen.

 

cloudy with a chance of meatballs poster

Cloud With a Chance of Meatballs (PG)

Inventing new, well-designed technology takes time. The fun part about this film is that it shows that things don’t always turn out how you intended when building the next best thing, but that’s okay. Learn from your mistakes and you can make something even better next time.

 

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October Sky (PG)

This autobiographical movie shows the entire process- struggles and successes – of a group of teenagers combining their skills and know-how to invent rockets for their school science fair. It is important for kids to see that just because something doesn’t work the first time or even the 15th time, doesn’t mean that you will never be successful. Also, knowing that this story’s teenagers and designs and build were real can inspire others to be like them. Though it should be noted that viewers above the age of nine are more likely to benefit more from this film than younger viewers.

 

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Tomorrowland (PG)

A fairly futuristic movie, but its focus on the difference children and teenagers can make when they dream big and think outside the box can’t be denied.

 

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HUGO (PG)

Without the determination of the main character to rebuild an antique robot and his mechanical skills, this movie would be nothing. A child pushing himself to learn about how things work and apply it to what he is doing could inspire others to explore STEM areas as well.

 

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Robots (PG)

An animated movie that follows the adventure of a young robot inventor and his struggle to prove his inventions are worthy of other’s notice and save the day with his ingenuity.

 

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Goonies (PG)

This film may seem completely out of place on this list, but Data’s inventions are perfect to inspire a kid to try making their own inventions at home. His inventions are crazy but the movie would lose some of its quirkiness without them. The inventions are not polished and perfect, just as a regular kid at home wouldn’t have perfect prototypes when starting out.

 

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Honorable Mention: Star Wars Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (PG) 

Say what you want about the film as a whole, but young Anakin’s skills as an inventor and engineer are impressive. Watching him tinker with his projects, could inspire the next robotics engineer or inventor.

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