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Time4Learning Demos

Contests For Kids – Academic and Skill-based

Competitions and Challenges

Competition among equally prepared peers can be fun and challenging to children and teens with competitive natures. No child should be forced to enter a contest that doesn’t interest him or her. These contests encourage the participation of homeschoolers, but may have restrictions because of age or location. Since contests require registration, kids, ask your parent’s permission before entering. Contests being held in one state only will be listed on that state’s page. Participation usually requires dedication and preparation and offers some kind of real prize as a reward to winners. Websites not meeting these criteria are considered “games” and listed elsewhere in Explorations 4 Kids. Awards from these contests can be used when filling out college applications, in the “Academic Awards” section.


Homeschooler Wins Contest
More Google news results of recent wins by homeschooled students in regional and national contests.

Computer Related

USA Computing Olympiad
The USACO supports pre-college computing around the world through computer programming competitions and training materials.

Fine Arts

All-Access A Cappella Tournament
“The Open” (#acaopen) is an all-access a cappella tournament, meaning for the first time, we’re throwing out our eligibility rules. We want to bring together singers and singing groups of all ages and stages of life – regardless of experience, origin, student status, or school affiliation – to compete on an international stage.

Homeschool Student Makes Google Art Finals
When it comes to artwork, it seems Google is drawn to Fayetteville’s Hannah Newsom. The California-based Internet services company best known for its search engine has, for the third time in four years, picked the 11th-grade home-schooled student as a regional finalist in its Doodle 4 Google contest.

Doodle 4 Google
Changes to Doodle 4 Google in 2011. Now, in addition to schools, parents and legal guardians can directly register their K-12 students in the contest and submit their doodles. Kickoff is in January.

International Family Film Festival
The Freshi Film Camps and the Freshi Film Festival are programmed to address the needs of young filmmakers and screenwriters 8-18 with competitive categories, scholarships and awards organized by age group and content for both filmmakers and screenwriters. These programs happen in May with a submission deadline in January.

Fresh Film Northwest
Check site for details. If you are in grades K-12 and live in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, or Utah, send us your drama, documentary, comedy, animated movie or media in some other style. Free to Enter.

Science Without Borders Challenge
A yearly art competition that engages students to promote the need to preserve, protect, and restore the world’s oceans and aquatic resources. Submissions typically due in April each year.

Young Composers Challenge
Open to young musicians (ages 13-18) in the Southeastern U.S. The Challenge is simple. First, you can take part in an extensive workshop with world-renowned composers. Then you will have all summer to write your own score. Finally in September, a panel of judges will choose the top three orchestral and ensemble pieces, and these will be performed by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at the Bob Carr Auditorium.

Language Arts

Balticon Young Writers’ Contest
Sci-Fi and Fantasy writing contest for teens living in Maryland. Deadline is March 1 every year. Contestants shall be no younger than 14 and no older than 18 years of age as of May 29 in the contest year and shall reside in, or attend school in Maryland.

Scripts Howard National Spelling Bee
Each sponsor organizes a spelling bee program in its community. The champion of the sponsor’s final spelling bee advances to the national finals in June. Sponsorship is available to daily and weekly newspapers.

Writing Contests – Creative Communications
Both Poetry and essay contests. Three contests annually. Contests in the US and Canada.


American Mathematics Competitions
The AMC seek to increase interest in mathematics and to develop problem-solving ability through a series of friendly mathematics contests for junior (grades 8 and below) and senior high school students (grades 9 through 12). Registration in November and February.

Association of Computational and Mathematical Modeling
Students can participate in the competition at home or anywhere with internet access. In 2016, the competition will be from October 4th to October 18th. Students under the age of 20 can compete in teams of up to four individuals from any region or country. The team will be given two problems covering different fields of mathematical modeling, and it can choose to research on one or both of the two problems.

International Mathematical Olympiad
This prestigious event will bring to the USA 500 of the most talented high school age mathematicians from more than 80 countries. The Olympiad will be held in Greece in July.

A national math coaching and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement through grassroots involvement in every U.S. state and territory. See also MathCounts changed Eligibility Rules for Homeschoolers, August 2010.

Math Olympiads
Two divisions for 4-6th graders and 7-8th graders. Only schools or homeschool associations, not individuals, may participate. A homeschool association, to us, is a group of homeschool students from the same geographic area. Students not enrolled in a public or private school. Deadline is October 15 each year.

Online Math League
Offers fun, challenging math contests to schools and individuals in Grades 2-12. Registration discounted for individual homeschoolers.

Physical Education

Problem Solving

Destination Imagination
We invite you to stretch your mind and share your brainstorms on the web. Several contests for a variety of talents.

A free, web-based science, math and technology competition for students in grades 6 through 9. The competition encourages and rewards students from a diverse range of proficiency levels, interests and backgrounds. Registration ends in early December.

National STEM League
Web-based and face-to-face series ensure you can participate no matter your location or budget. There is a place for all students to contribute to the team through race engineering, coding and automation, design and fabrication, graphic design, marketing, community outreach and data-driven design projects that ask students to follow their own interests (as long as they follow good investigation practices = GIP). The web-based and face-to-face leagues are independent of one another so teams can engage in one or both (or neither).

Odyssey of the Mind
An international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. A homeschool-friendly competition.

Engage your curious young minds, teach essential critical thinking skills, and enter to win amazing prizes for your classroom or community troop!


Robotics Competitions
On our Robots 4 Kids page. Links to robot contests.

Science Fair Help
Looking for help with that science fair project? You’ve come to the right place!

3M Young Scientist Challenge
We’re looking for a few great students and teachers to inspire us with their enthusiasm for science, so show us what you’ve got! Create a short (1-2 min.) video about one of this year’s scientific topics and YOU could win a trip to Washington, DC to compete in the YSC finals.

Action For Nature International – Young Eco-Hero Awards
Have you been working to preserve the world around you? Have you been teaching others how to protect the environment? Have you been doing an environmental research project? Not so much a contest as an honor.

Canon Envirothon
Delve into the topic of introduced species in general, and within your own communities.

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. K-12. Sign up now. Projects due in April.

International Year of Light
We invite submissions (focusing on light from the night sky or the sun) in the following three categories: Observations and related research, Essays (up to 1000 words), Arts (music, sculpture, drawing/painting, etc.) Submissions will be grouped into the following age ranges: Kindergarten – 2nd grade, 3rd grade – 5th grade, 6th grade – 8th grade, and 9th grade – 12th grade. (Or equivalent ages.) Deadlines: submit by May 15th. Round Two: submit between May 16th and October 15th.

National Rocket Competition
A parent and child event. Makes this a family challenge. Any organization may run a local competition with at least 12 contestants.

National Young Astronomer Award
Designed to recognize the outstanding achievements by high school-aged astronomers throughout the United States.

Science Olympiad
Homeschool teams have done quite well in this science competition in the past. Regionals were held in February. Contact in the fall to enter your team.

Science Talent Search
Regeneron will become only the third sponsor in 75 years of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious high school science competition, committing $100 million to support the Science Talent Search and other Society programs through 2026.

Social Science

Sharpen your pencils for the first national student book contest on gender equity.  The National Youth Foundation’s Amazing Women’s Edition competition calls upon students to get to know a woman in their community and to tell us HERstory.  The goal is to create a picture book.  The prize is $500 for the student(s) and $250 for the parent/team coordinator.  We also publish the book and donate copies to schools and libraries in underserved areas.  The contest is open to students in grades K to 8.  Good luck!

Boo The Bully
This Visual Art Contest to spread awareness about bullying. This competition is to promote creativity in students and a chance to win prizes. We’ll be raising funds through this contest which will be used to spread the word about bullying, support our programs and produce anti-bullying tools & resources.

Future City Competition
Now in its eighth year, asks middle school students from around the nation to create first on computer and then in large, three-dimensional models of their visions of the city of tomorrow. Check-in September.

Kids Philosophy Slam
Designed to make philosophy accessible and fun for kids of all ages and abilities, to promote a philosophical dialogue between kids and adults, and to promote a greater awareness of philosophy and education in everyday life. Over $5,000 in prizes are available to students & schools. Home school entries and international participation are encouraged.

A consumer education competition that tests teens in grades 9-12 about personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities.

Model United Nations
While not strictly a contest, teams of student delegates, after studying their assigned country’s policies, will win and lose in the debates over the various issues.

National Geographic Bee
Homeschools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging test of geographic knowledge.

National History Day
Show your creativity by making history come alive in an exhibit, documentary, paper, or performance. By producing one of these projects, you have opportunities to win awards and scholarships, as well as learn about your history.

National Peace Essay Contest
A well-established contest with very specific guidelines and rules. Entries from home-schooled students are also accepted. Students must be in grades nine through twelve at the Contest deadline.

Join NBA and NFL players in taking a stand against bullying.  The National Youth Foundation is looking for teams of students to create book projects that address bullying.  The judges are players from the NBA and the NFL.   The prize is $500 for the students and $250 for the parent/team coordinator.  We also publish the book and donate copies to schools and libraries in underserved areas.   The contest is open to students in grades K to 8.  Best of luck!


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