Annoyed by a yard full of pesky pine cones?
Tired of soggy soap in the shower?
Do ice cream cones drip all over your hand?
Take heart. North Idaho students are working hard to solve such everyday woes.
More than 60 students in school districts from Mullan to St. Maries showed off their inventions Sunday at the 10th annual “Invention Convention.”
Christopher Katus showed off his “Wonderaser - great for people who make mistakes.”
“I always mess up at school,” confessed the 7-year-old Rathdrum boy. “My eraser always breaks off.”
His solution: a pencil with a 5-inch retractable eraser to replace the standard-issue eraser stub.
Other inventions included a plastic tube with bristles lining the end to scoop up - and hold - stray pine cones. And a mesh hammock with suction-cup ends to cradle a wet bar of soap and keep it firm.
Ten-year-old Tiffany Wild of Silverton, came up with paper plates with holes in the middle for ice cream cones. The plates catch any drips.
“If it’s a hot day,” she explained.
The show, limited to students from kindergarten to eighth grade, was held at the Silver Lake Mall. Shoppers studied the inventions and voted on the best.
Top prize - a $100 savings bond - went to Post Falls’ Carri Wilkinson, 11, for her “writing assister.” The device consists of two rings glued to a pencil, so people who can’t hold the pencil can still put their fingers through the rings and write.
“I’m always surprised,” said teacher Beth Brubaker. “You think it’s all been invented, and it hasn’t.”
Behind her, a group of elderly men clustered around “The Power Tee,” a device that uses an air blower to suspend a Whiffle ball in the air, the better to wallop the ball out to center field.
Some of the inventions are probably destined to remain on the drawing board. “The Space Learner,” for example, with its marshmallow planets.
Still, the students didn’t neglect marketing.
“A great way to get your daily dose!” promised the inventor of Vitamin Bubble gum.
“Catch those pesky rodents without causing them pain,” suggested the marketing division of “Humane Mouse Catcher” Inc.
“It’s harder than a science fair, because you have to think of something no one else has thought of,” said teacher Marcia Wall. “Some (students) have gone on over the years to ask about patents.”