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
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) is the world's largest pre-college celebration of science. Held annually in May, the Intel ISEF brings together over 1,400 students from more than 40 nations to compete for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips and the grand prize: a $50,000 college scholarship. Science Service founded the ISEF in 1950 and is very proud to have Intel as the title sponsor of this prestigious, international competition.
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.
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.
USA Computing Olympiad /International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI)
The IOI is the premier world wide high school computer programming competition. The USACO supports pre-college computing around the world through computer programming competitions and training materials. The USACO holds six Internet Contests during the academic year, and in the late Spring conducts the US Open, a proctored exam. Based on the results of these contests, 16 students are invited to an all-expense-paid training camp in the early summer, where 4 students are selected to be the US Team at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI). To access the current year's information, click on the link on the left-hand menu.
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.
Letters About Literature
The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with Target Stores and in cooperation with affiliate state centers for the book, invites readers in grades 4 through 12 to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre-- fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic, explaining how that author's work changed the student's way of thinking about the world or themselves. There are three competition levels: Level I for children in grades 4 through 6; Level II for grades 7 and 8, and Level III, grades 9 - 12. Winners receive cash awards at the national and state levels.
Greeting Card Contest from Kate Harper Designs
Kate Harper Designs is seeking out submissions for our Greeting Card Contest to select quotes for our "Kid's Quotes" greeting card line. We always have a shortage of submissions, so the more you submit, the higher chances you have of being published. This contest is open to children aged 12 or younger. If your quote is selected, you will receive $25, your name printed on the card, and free greeting cards.
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.
What IFFF? Kids Film Competition
The International Family Film Festival offers a kids film competition, designed to promote and encourage the creation and sharing of family film product through film exhibition, professional and children's hands-on workshops, seminars, forums and engaging post-film discussions. Film competition categories are individual or class projects for grades 3-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Film categories include Drama, Comedy, Animation-Computer & Animation-Classic, Documentary, and Educational. Final projection film/video has to be on VHS.
ThinkQuest
ThinkQuest is an international student competition, sponsored by the Oracle Education Foundation. Students work in teams to build creative and educational websites that explore globally relevant subjects. Diverse teams made up of members from more than one school, community, or country are encouraged. Competitions are open to students and teachers from anywhere in the world. Teams must have 3 to 6 students who are between the ages of 9 and 19, and one adult Coach who is a school employee. Homeschooled students may participate so long as they are part of a team that is associated with an accredited public, private, or parochial school (i.e., Primary Coach is an employee of an accredited public, private or parochial school and other team members are affiliated with an accredited school). Homeschooled students might consider forming a team with students from another country. Being a member of a multi-country team presents a great opportunity for all students to learn about other cultures and to learn valuable collaboration skills. The completed websites are published in the ThinkQuest Library, a rich learning resource used by millions.
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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