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Spring 2020 Contest is Open!

By February 19, 2020March 9th, 2020Tinkering News

Spring into action with the Tinkering Labs 2020 Spring Contest!

In prior Tinkering Labs contests, you’ve built rides for toys, flung wheels, and created loud noises. You’ve used serious ingenuity to invent contraptions with the Electric Motors Catalyst kit. And you may be thinking…another contest? What could it be this time?

We’re turning the rules upside down with a freestyle, choose-your-own-adventure contest. For the 2020 Spring Contest, build something that meets TWO challenges, like an egg-scrambling robot chef that moves without wheels. Or a contraption that moves in a straight line while frantically spinning its arms. 

Here are the 10 Electric Motors Catalyst challenges. You pick two!

  • #1 Create something that can make a loud noise.
  • #2 Invent a tool that can cut a piece of paper.
  • #3 Build a machine that draws curvy lines.
  • #4 Make a ride for one of your toys.
  • #5 Create something that moves in a straight line.
  • #6 Build a creature with spinning arms.
  • #7 Make a machine that can scramble an egg.
  • #8 Invent a robot that moves without wheels.
  • #9 Build something that can launch a wheel across the room.
  • #10 Create a vehicle with a suspension system. 

Everyone who enters the contest will receive an Electric Motors Catalyst kit! And the winner of the contest will receive a beautiful, custom toolbox made by Oakland woodworker Greg Laird. This toolbox is made from top quality oak and maple with dovetailed construction. Its handle is steam-bent for strength and comfort, and there’s a sliding tray insert for small parts. And the coolest part – it will be customized with the winner’s name! Take a look:

Custom made wood toolbox

The Grand Prize: A Hand-Made Wood Toolbox

  • Hand made by Oakland woodworker Greg Laird.
  • Solid oak, with dovetailed construction.
  • Sliding tray with solid maple rails provides storage for small parts.
  • The winner’s name will be laser etched onto a circular wood nameplate.
  • Steam-bent oak handle is contoured for comfort.
  • And if you don’t win, you still get a free catalyst just for trying!
Tinkering Labs Toolbox with sliding tray

How to Enter:

  1. Using your Electric Motors Catalyst kit, build a contraption that meets the criteria for two challenges. You can use whatever you want to build it, but it must include at least some parts from the Electric Motors Catalyst kit. 
  2. Take a video showing the contraption in motion. Feel free to explain how you built it and how it works. We will look at design, imagination, and technical criteria to determine the winner. Check out our Young Inventors page for examples of previous contest winners.
  3. Post the video on Facebook or Youtube. Or, email it to us at
  4. Fill out the entry form below so we know who you are and where to send the Electric Motors Catalyst kit… and the toolbox if you win!

The deadline is: Monday March 23, 2020. We will announce the winner a week later.

The Rules:

  1. Use at least some parts from your Electric Motors Catalyst kit.
  2. By submitting your photo or video, you give us permission to use your entry for marketing purposes. We will credit the child by first name and home town only, see the Young Inventors page for examples.
  3. All young inventors age 15 or younger are welcome to participate in the contest; however, the entry form must be completed by a parent/guardian or educator over the age of 18.

Now open up your Electric Motors Catalyst kits and get creative! The sky’s the limit. We can’t wait to see the mash-ups. Good luck!

Entry Form:



    Inventor's First Name (required)

    Inventor's Home Town and State or Country (for example, "Cumberland Gap, TN" or "Ubatuba, Brazil") (required)

    Where can we find the inventor's video? (required)

    Enter the URL if you posted it on YouTube or Facebook, or if you emailed it to, enter the email address that you sent it from.


    This is optional, but if you complete it we will send the inventor their catalyst and any other prizes they win.

    First Name

    Last Name

    Address 1

    Address 2



    Postal Code

    Phone Number

    Parent/Guardian or Educator Email

    Get Tinkering!

    – The Tinkering Labs Team