The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Contests for Kids - Part I

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Contests for Kids - Part I

Contests provide awesome motivation for children to learn new skills or hone already strong skills.  Here are a few contests for young entrants.  Most are for middle school students, but some apply to lower elementary and high school.  All have a very late in the school year deadline so you have time to work on them with your children.
  • Action For Nature honors the work of young people between the ages of 8 and 16 who have done creative environmental projects. The winners of AFN’s International Young Eco-Hero Awards program receive a cash prize and a special certificate, as well as public recognition on their web site.  Here are the 2011 guidelines, but the website says that the 2012 guidelines will be available very soon:  Also check out past winners to see what the contest judges look for:
  • The Angela Award honors one female student in grades 5–8, who is involved in or has a strong connection to science. It is sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association.  Deadline is November 30 and the guidelines are here:
  • BattleBots Awards is a robot building contest for teams of middle school, high school, and college students:
  • The BRICK Awards by Do Something provide community grants and scholarships to "change-makers" age 25 and under who work with Do Something to improve their communities. They will post their 2012 guidelines soon, but you can see who won this year's awards here:
  • The Christopher Columbus Community Service Awards are open to teams of students in grades 6-8. The competition focuses on using science and technology to solve real-world community problems. The deadline is the second Monday in February.  Details here:
  • Davidson Fellowships are awarded by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development to US students under age 18 who have completed a significant piece of work in the fields of Mathematics, Science, Technology, Music, Literature, Philosophy or Outside the Box. The significant piece of work should have the potential to benefit society. The focus of the program is on gifted and talented students. There is no minimum age for eligibility.  Deadline is February 1.  Click here for information and previous winners:
  • Dick Blick sponsors an annual contest for block prints made from linoleum. There are three divisions: grades 4-6, grades 7-9, and grades 10-12.  Info from last year's contest; new guidelines soon:
  • This is my personal favorite: Google is famous for the doodles that occasionally replace the Google logo. The Doodle 4 Google competition challenges children in grades K-12 to create their own play on Google's logo. Doodles are judged in four grade groups: K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12.  Look for new guidelines soon at
  • The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition is sponsored by the DuPont Center for Collaborative Research & Education in cooperation with General Learning Communications. The competition is open to US and Canadian students in grades 7-12 inclusive. The competition involves writing a 700 to 1,000 word essay about a scientific or technological development, event, or theory chosen by the student. Sign up here to get notification of new guidelines:
  • The Girls Going Places Entrepreneurship Award Program is open to girls age 12 to 18 who demonstrate entrepreneurship and make a difference in their schools and communities. Info here:
More tomorrow.  This is just the list from A-G!

Happy Parenting, Happy Teaching, and Happy Homeschooling!

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