Time Magazine’s First Kid of the Year

For the past 80+ years Time Magazine has announced their annual “Person of the Year” award which recognizes one person who has done the most to influence events of that year. This annual selection process is highlighted by the fact that the winner gets to adorn the cover of Time Magazine and becomes part of an elite list that includes former presidents, philanthropists, and other important figures of history.

On December 3rd, 2020, Time Magazine announced their first-ever Kid of the Year award to recognize one extraordinary kid for their contributions to society. From a field of 5,000 applicants between the ages of 8-16 that was narrowed down to five finalists, Gitanjali Rao of Colorado made history in becoming the first-ever Time Magazine Kid of the Year and earned her spot on the coveted cover of Time Magazine. 

At only 15 years old, Gitanjali is well beyond her years in her contributions to society having worked on some of the biggest issues facing her generation and generations to come. In a recent interview with Time Magazine, Gitanjali spoke about how she’s been able to harness technology to tackle issues like opioid addiction, contaminated drinking water, cyberbullying through advanced AI programming, and is on a mission to create a global community of young inventors to take on the world’s biggest issues.  

Followed closely behind her were the remaining four finalists that each made their own contributions to society including Ian McKenna’s initiative to help feed his fellow classmates in Austin, TX and Tyler Gordon’s work to build awareness around police brutality. The common thread with this year’s group of finalists is their remarkable ability to apply problem solving and critical thinking skills to real-world challenges affecting their generation. This serves as an excellent example of how introducing children to STEM programs at an early age can truly shape their future.  

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, there’s still time to get the kid in your life a gift that can help build their talents and abilities so that maybe one day they can be the next Time Magazine Kid of the Year and shape the world. The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute recently released a list of the 25 best STEM toys of the season that are designed to foster the same problem solving and critical thinking skills displayed by Gitanjali and her fellow finalists. These gift ideas cover a wide variety of STEM topics including robotics, coding, building, and even an at-home science lab! With gift ideas starting at $12.99 there’s an opportunity to get kids involved with STEM at-home to fit any budget. 

Take a look at the 25 best STEM toys of the season and imagine the possibilities of what’s to come.


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