Fun and Free Contests for Kids & Families: Entries Due April-June 2024

By Sarah Hauge, Macaroni KID Englewood-Greenwood Village-Centennial Publisher March 31, 2024

Does your child have a knack for art, science & technology, math, or writing? How about a passion for changing the world through social or environmental causes? 

Tap into those talents and ambitions by participating in a national contest or challenge. We've rounded up some of our favorite kid contests to help you find an opportunity that celebrates your best!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Contests are listed by entry deadlines, so plan ahead to ensure that your submission is worthy of a top prize. Contests are NOT affiliated with Macaroni KID in any way.

April Contests

Highschoolers ~ National High School Essay Contest ~ Students will write an essay using past or current diplomatic efforts to identify what they believe will be the biggest challenge to face the Foreign Service in the future. The 1000-1500-word essay should also address why diplomacy and peacebuilding matter.

One winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C., and an all-expenses-paid educational voyage courtesy of Semester at Sea.

Submit your original essay by April 1, 2024.

Grades K-12 ~ Celebrating Art Contest ~ Put your artistic skills to the test. Art may be any medium (except for photography) as long as it can be photographed for entry. 

The top ten students in each grade division will receive a $25 award and a free book that includes their artwork. Published books are also available for purchase.

Submit your artwork online no later than April 4, 2024.

⭐ Grades K-9 ~ Creative Communication's Poetry Contest ~ Put your writing skills to the test! Fun fact: Taylor Swift was a Top Ten Winner in this contest as a 5th grader! You can read Taylor's "Monster in My Closet" poem online. 

The top ten students in each grade division will receive a $25 award and a book with their poem(s) inside. Published books are also available for purchase.

Submit your poetry online no later than April 5, 2024.

Ages 8-18 ~ Listen to A Life Story Contest ~ Kids must interview a person over 50 and write a non-fiction 300-word maximum essay based on the interview. The judges are looking for an evocative, creative story that captures the essence of a person's life or a critical moment or experience.

Several prizes are up for grabs, including a beautiful keepsake art piece from Cedar Lake Studios and cash prizes.

Submit your entry online no later than April 12, 2024.

May Contests

Grades K-12 ~ World Historian Student Essay Competition ~ Students will write an essay that acknowledges a family story related to a historical event or your personal family cultural background, or an issue of personal relevance or specific regional history/knowledge, such as "My ancestor walked with Abraham Lincoln from Illinois to fight in the Black Hawk War of 1832." Essays should be approximately 1,000 words.

A $500 cash prize and a one-year membership in the WHA will be awarded to the essay winner.

Entries must be emailed or postmarked by  May 1, 2024.

Grades 5-8 ~ 3M Young Scientist Challenge ~ The annual challenge invites students to submit a 1-2 minute video describing a unique solution to an everyday problem. Entry topics include robotics, home improvement, automotive, safety, AR/VR, climate tech, and more!

Winners will be eligible for cash prizes (up to $25,000), exclusive mentorship opportunities, and 3M Innovation Prize Packs. Ten finalists will be chosen for their passion for science, a spirit of innovation and ingenuity, and effective communication skills.

Submit your video online no later than May 2, 2024.

Ages 7-15 ~ JQA International Environmental Children's Drawing Contest ~ Children are invited to create a hand-drawn piece of art that reflects this year's theme, "Passing on Our Precious Earth to The Future." Artwork is limited to being 257×364mm or smaller. (In inches: 10.1x14.3)

All entrants will receive a participation prize. Fifty-three winners will receive special memorabilia.

You can mail your artwork to the JQA office in Japan or submit it digitally. Entries are due to JQA by May 31, 2024.

June Contests

Ages 19 and under ~ Get to Know Contest  ~ Students are asked to get outside and create works of art inspired by nature. Entries may include art, photography, writing, music, or video. Students may submit up to 10 entries per category.

Prizes include adventure swag, such as binoculars, buddy packs, and art supplies.

Entries must be submitted online no later than June 1, 2024.

High Schoolers, Undergrads, and Grad Students  ~ Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest  ~ Students are encouraged to write an essay that debates the topic, "Jane Austen's novels are still relevant and speak to us after 200 years." You should attack this claim in the first part of the essay; in the second part, defend it.

Essay winners are eligible for cash prizes up to a $1,000 scholarship and complimentary registration + two nights' lodging for JASNA's upcoming Annual General Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.

Entries must be submitted online by  June 1, 2024.

Ages 11-18 ~ Bow Seat's Ocean Awareness Contest ~ For the 13th year, Bow Seat encourages students to learn about environmental issues through art and communication. The theme for 2024 is "Tell Your Climate Story." Students should creatively express their personal experiences, insights, or perceptions about our changing climate reality.

Original content may be presented as visual art, creative writing, film, interactive and multimedia, performing arts (music and dance), or poetry/spoken word.

Winners are eligible for cash prizes up to $1,000.

Submit your artwork online by June 10, 2024.