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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Featured Resources

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