Contests
Entering contests is a fun activity for kids. They can practice their writing skills, learn about new subjects, and may even end up winning a great prize. We've collected some of the most interesting, challenging, and fun contests available for kids to enter.
Contests for Kids
We the People Ideas of America Essay Contest
As part of its We the People initiative, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) invites high school juniors to participate in an essay contest that invites them to reflect on The Idea of America.
MATHCOUNTS®
MATHCOUNTS® is a national math enrichment, coaching and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement through grassroots involvement in every U.S. state and territory. After several months of coaching, participating schools select students to compete individually or as part of a team in one of the more than 500 written and oral competitions held nationwide and in U.S. schools overseas. Winners at the local level proceed to state competitions, where the top 4 Mathletes® and top coach earn the right to represent their state or territory at the national level. At all levels, MATHCOUNTS challenges students' math skills, develops their self-confidence and rewards them for their achievements. Students enrolled in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grades are eligible to participate in MATHCOUNTS competitions.
Let's Get Real
Let's Get Real™ is an academic competition and an opportunity for teams of students to gain experience working on real business challenges. Corporate sponsors supply real challenges for which teams submit solutions in business format. Each team chooses from the list of challenges the one(s) it finds most interesting. Challenges might include areas such as environmental issues, manufacturing, distribution, engineering, software creation, human resources, health and safety, facilities design, public relations, or any other areas deemed important to the corporations involved. There is no entry fee for teams.
SOS Children's Villages - USA Family Dinner Time Art Contest
The Family Dinner Time Art Contest celebrates family dinner time and kicks off on Thanksgiving each year. Children may submit artwork of their family at dinner time to win a home computer. Artwork can be in any form, but must illustrate a family eating together. For sculptures and other difficult-to-ship items, please send a photo as opposed to the actual artwork. A winner will be selected from each age group: preschool ages 1-7; grade school ages 8-12; and high school ages 13 -17.
Global Virtual Classroom Contest
The Global Virtual Classroom Contest is a global team cooperation and website-building activity for students from 7 to 18 years of age. Using Internet technologies to communicate, up to 100 teams of three schools each will build Websites on topics of their choosing. Each team will consist of three schools from three different countries. Team websites will be judged by a panel of VIP judges.
ExploraVision
ExploraVision is a competition for all students in grades K-12 attending a school in the U.S., Canada, U.S. Territory or a Department of Defense school. Homeschooled students are eligible to enter. It is designed to encourage students to combine their imagination with their knowledge of science and technology to explore visions of the future. Teams of students select a technology, research how it works and why it was invented, and then project how that technology may change in the future. They must then identify what breakthroughs are required for their vision to become a reality and describe the positive and negative consequences of their technology on society. Winning ideas have focused on things as simple as ballpoint pens and as complex as satellite communications. The student teams write a paper and draw a series of Web page graphics to describe their idea. Regional winners make a Web site and a prototype of their future vision.
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
UCTheFuture - Life in the Year 2047
This contest involves electronically or manually submitting a graphic depiction (drawing, photo or other image) along with a 50 to 100-word description of what an aspect of the world will look like in the year 2047. A $1,000 prize will be awarded to the winning entry chosen from the first 50 entries submitted and selected for viewing on the UCTheFuture web site.
Shankar's International Children's Competition (SICC)
K. Shankar Pillai (July 31, 1902–December 26, 1989) was a famous cartoonist. He brought out a political magazine called ‘Shankar’s Weekly’. Under the auspices of this magazine, a competition called the Shankar’s International Children’s Competition was organized in 1949. It invited paintings and writings from children in India. Children sent about 3,000 entries. The following year the competition was thrown open to children from all over the world. Today, the competition has grown and about 1,60,000 entries are received from over 130 countries. The entries are judged by an international jury. The prizewinning entries are compiled in a volume called the ‘Shankar’s Children’s Art Number’. The competition is open to children all over the world below the age of 16 years. There is no entry fee and competitors are free to choose the theme/subject they are interested in, or like most, for their paintings/ drawings/writings.
Scripps National Spelling Bee
Scripps National Spelling Bee is the most widely known spelling bee organizer in the world. In general, the program is open to students who have not reached their 16th birthday on or before the date of the national finals and who have not passed beyond the eighth grade at the time of their school finals.
Making Contests a Part of Home Learning
Contests in Your Curriculum
Contests offer a new educational experience for the homeschooled child. Entering a contest increases motivation, develops research skills, adds excitement to assignments, develops character, and enriches your curriculum choices. Learn how to choose which contests to enter, which contests to avoid, and how to get the most out of entering contests.
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Featured Resources

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Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School
Grace Llewellyn, author of the The Teenage Liberation Handbook, offers the stories of 11 teens who made the decision to reject traditional schooling methodologies and take their education into their own hands. The essays highlight offer a day-in-the-life look at teen homeschooling and unschooling, as the teens embraced self-education and increased in their self-confidence and motivation. 
Happy Phonics
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
How to Drive: Real World Instruction and Advice from Hollywood's Top Driver
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A Reason For® Handwriting
A Reason For® Handwriting provides a fun, meaningful approach to developing effective handwriting skills. Each lesson is built around a Scripture verse chosen not only for proper letter combinations, but also inspirational content. “Border Sheets” encourage students to share God's Word with others. You'll find product information about A Reason For® Handwriting here.
Climb Inside a Poem for Children Big Book of Poems
The poetry anthology, Climb Inside a Poem: Original Poems for Children, uses the writings of contemporary children's poets, whimsical illustrations, and an expansive big book format (14"x 18") to create a 36-page poetry playground. The children's poems crafted expressly for this collection are written by acclaimed children's authors.