CHILDREN as young as eight have been designing their own creations to help use and store energy better.

The Little Inventors competition saw pupils across the North-East, aged between eight and 12-years-old, send in their ideas before 15 winning entries were chosen.

Five of the winning designs came from children in the Tees Valley while other successful innovations came from Sunderland and Northumberland.

The children met for the first time at an event at Stockton’s Preston Park to share their ideas and explore what it means to be an inventor.

Their plans will now be turned into reality by local designers, engineers and manufacturers ahead of an exhibition at the museum from June 18.

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, is now calling on business across the Tees Valley to help these talented youngsters make their designs – which ranged from a joint ice cream and candy floss maker to a way of making fishing easier – into reality.

Mr Houchen said: “These inventors may be little, but they have got big imaginations and it was great to see their brilliant ideas and to get a sneak peek of what’s coming at the exhibition later this year.

“This programme is a lot of fun and the kids have clearly really enjoyed it, but it also has a serious purpose.

"The pupils I met today are the job creators, innovators and entrepreneurs of the future and competitions like Little Innovators are really important for developing the skills that will hold them in good stead for their future careers."

Dominic Wilcox, founder of Little Inventors, said: “We need real inventive thinking to solve all the issues in the world today and, to start doing that, we’ve got to encourage young people to start thinking about those ideas.

"Taking their inventions seriously gives them a real confidence boost and will set them on the path to a creative and productive life and career.

“It was great to meet the Mayor and I’m looking forward to seeing how the local creators realise the brilliant ideas of our inventors.”