Up for Some Competition

One of the reasons I love homeschooling is the lack of daily competition children find at school. There is no competing to be the quickest to answer, the first in line, or the one who gets to sit at the coolest seat during lunch. However, competition in general isn't something I am against. In fact, when done well, competition can motivate a child to push their boundaries to new heights.

If your child wants a challenge or would like to try for awards, here are just a few of the competitions available for kids going on right now.*

Individual Competitions

Writing Competitions:
  • Chateau Meddybemps has a writing competition for ages 7 and under and 8 and over. If your child is selected for publication, they get a "published author" t-shirt. That will get your kids some interesting looks. 

  • Cricket Magazine has many magazines with differing topics and age ranges. They often hold competitions and allow for submissions. 

  • Stone Soup magazine is a publication of stories, poems, and art by children ages 8 to 13. A small payment and two free copies of the magazine are awarded if the work is chosen. 

Art  and Photography Competitions:
  • The Last of the Polar Bears arctic animal comic strip competition. Really worth a look especially if your child has expressed an interest in illustration. The site is full of sketches of animals. 

  • Constitution Day Poster Design is a poster competition that sends a pocket edition of the US Constitution to the first 100 entries. The deadline for entry is October 1, 2012.

  • Funky Nests in Funky Places is a photography contest held by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Birds really do make nests in the strangest places.

Groups that Provide Competitive Opportunities

  •  4-H provides ample opportunities for speech competitions and projects as well as learning to judge competitions. Contact your county's extension office for information about your local groups.
  • FLL (FIRST Lego League) Team robotics and project competition with emphasis on sportsmanship. FIRST was yet another brilliant idea from Dean Kamen. The idea is to celebrate engineering and innovation at the same level we as a culture celebrate sports. 
  • DI (Destination Imagination) Creative competitions for teams where kids can really think outside the box. Each team selects a challenge and comes up with their own unique solution to present to judges. Originality and independent thinking run high here. 

  • Scouting: Boy ScoutsGirl Scouts, and Sea Scouts, a division of the BSA available in some marine areas. Scouting is one of the best known organizations in the world. There are many projects to work on as well as competitions such as the Pine Wood Derby. 

*These are just a few of the many competitions available. Some are time sensitive, while others are open year round. I've tried to limit it to free competitions, but there are many out there that require a small fee to enter. The fees are usually to keep the number of entries manageable and to pay for the awards. I have also limited this list to groups open to elementary and middle school aged kids.

Good Luck!

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