Children of invention

. March 4, 2013.

There’s more to art than paint and crayons. Warren and Yolanda Woodberry do teach traditional arts and crafts in their Young Art Work programs at the new Family Activities Center at 6202 Trust Dr, off Holland-Sylvania. But with their new N’ventions and N’novators program, beginning this fall, they hope to teach children the art of discovery. The program, sponsored by the Norman & Louise Jones Foundation LLC,  teaches students about the history of invention, a subject that the Woodberrys believe has been sorely neglected. “America needs to regain the lead in technology,” says Warren Woodberry. But children, he believes, are not taught where the ideas come from that bring new things into the world. “We want to go beyond Thomas Edison,” he says.
“If you ask kids where their sneakers come from,” Woodberry says, “they’ll tell you Wal-Mart.” But N’ventions and N’novators wants to take them deeper. Students will learn that the birth of the tennis shoe came in Brazil, where the natives would coat their soles in natural rubber for  traction. Did you know that the invention of the potato chip is often attributed to a black Native American chef, with the unlikely name of George Crum? The Woodberrys’ students do. The goal is to demonstrate to students that ideas can come from unlikely places, and that anyone has the capacity to innovate. Students will be required to take on the role of an inventor, and research the origin and history of something they may not have thought very hard about before. They must also show their artistic talent by drawing the invention and showing ways in which they could improve on the model.
There will be two separate programs, beginning in September, one a traditional after-school program, and the other aimed at homeschooled students which will be held earlier in the day. The program is appropriate for ages 6 to 14. Any parents interested in the program, particularly homeschooling parents, are encouraged to contact Warren Woodberry at, or to call 419-724-0888, extension 39.