articles

Our Favorite FREE Contests for Kids & Families: January - March

Updated for 2024

By Sarah Hauge, Publisher of Macaroni KID Englewood, Greenwood Village, Centennial December 27, 2023

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!

Contests are listed by entry deadlines, so plan ahead to make sure that your submission is worthy of a top prize.

Disclaimer: These contests are NOT affiliated with Macaroni KID in any way. Enter at your own discretion.


Ongoing Contests


Ages 13-19 ~ Teen Ink Cover Art Contest ~ Teens are invited to submit an original photo or artwork for the cover of Teen Ink magazine. There is no limit to the number of images you submit.

Submit your artwork at any time throughout the year. If your submission is selected as a cover photo, you will receive a $25 gift card.


All Ages ~ Press 53's 53-Word Story Contest ~ English writers are asked to submit a short story — exactly 53 words long — that follows a monthly prompt. The winning story gets published in Prime Number Magazine, and the winner receives a free book from Press 53.

Submit your story by the 15th of each month.


January Kid Contests


Ages 18 and younger ~ Sony World Photography Awards Youth Competition ~ Photographers can enter up to three images related to this year's theme, "Through Your Eyes." Photos must be captured in 2023 to be eligible.

Prizes include a certificate, trophy, inclusion in a published book, flights & accommodation to the awards ceremony in London, and more.

Submissions are due online no later than Friday, January 5, 2024.


Ages 18 and younger ~ International Festival of Owls ~ Artists are encouraged to create original works of 2-D art that focus on owls. 

Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each age category. Winners will receive a mailed, customized, and signed award certificate with a custom wax seal.

Submissions are due no later than Monday, January 15, 2024.


Ages 4-17 ~ 12th International Children's Art Contest ~ Students must create an original piece of artwork no larger than 62 x 42.5 centimeters that highlights an Anton Chekhov-related theme such as portraits, illustrations, humor, landscapes, family, or Chekhov's hometown, Taganrog. Artists may consider various styles and mediums such as graphic art, painting (watercolors, gouache, tempera), and decorative and applied arts.

Submit your work no later than Wednesday, January 31, 2024


Ages 5-19 ~ St. Mary's College of CA: River of Words Youth Poetry and Art Contest ~ Students must create an original poem (not exceeding 32 lines) or artwork that addresses one's environment or watershed. Participants may submit up to five entries for poetry and five entries for art (a total of up to 10 entries).

Submit your work no later than Wednesday, January 31, 2024. Winners are announced in early April 2024.


February Kid Contests


Grades 6-12 ~ The Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation's $1000 for 1000 Words Contest asks young writers to submit a piece of fiction on any topic that contains exactly 1,000 words.

Winners will earn cash prizes.

Submit your writing online by Thursday, February 1, 2024.



Grades 3-12 ~ The 2024 EngineerGirl Writing Contest wants to hear from our youth about the "secret life of everyday items." Students will explore the lifecycle of an object used in everyday life through a short story or short essay (depending on age group) featuring at least engineering disciplines.

  • Elementary School (grades 3-5) ~ Entries are limited to 800 words.
  • Middle School (grades 6-8) ~ Entries are limited to 1,000 words.
  • High School (grades 9-12) ~ Entries are limited to 1,200 words.

First, second, and third-place winners will be selected from each grade category. Winners will receive cash prizes from $500 to $1,000.

To qualify for the contest, entries can be submitted via the online submission form by Thursday, February 1, 2024, at 11:59 PM EST.



Ages 2-12 ~ The U.S. Kids Magazines Annual Cover Contest encourages children to use their artistic talents to demonstrate this year's prompt, "Recall a dream you had and make it real with your art."

Winning images will be featured on the front cover of Jack and Jill or Humpty Dumpty magazine, and the winner's school will receive a cash prize.

To qualify for the contest, submit your entry online no later than Thursday, February 1, 2024.


Ages 4-16 ~ The DSWF Global Canvas Contest invites children, tweens, and teens to use any art technique to create a work of art that represents the theme, "The Barometer of Life." Participants can submit work individually or in groups of 2+. Winners will be selected from three different age groups and will receive a cash prize, vouchers for art supplies, digital animal adoptions, and certificates:

  • Ages 4-7
  • Ages 8-11
  • Ages 12-16

Submit your art online by Tuesday, February 13, 2024. Winners will be announced on April 25, 2024.


Grades 4-12 ~ Scholastic Scope Contests ~ After reading articles within the recent Scope Magazine, participants may submit written or artistic submissions for a variety of contests. Prizes include books, Scope notebooks, and gift cards.

  • Great Alaska Earthquake Contest ~ Students must write a thoughtful short response using text evidence that answers the question, "How does author Lauren Tarshis transport readers to March 27, 1964?"
  • Pangolin Contest ~ Participants create a poster, video, or slideshow about saving pangolins from extinction.
  • Apollo 13 Contest ~ In the epilogue, Haise says that ingenuity, leadership, and teamwork brought the crew home safely. In a short essay, explain how his statement is supported by details in the play.
  • The Owl Contest ~ Write a sequel in which the narrator sees the owl again. Your sequel could take place weeks, years, or even decades later.
  • Root Power Contest ~ Read “The Mysterious Manuscript.” Then follow these steps: 1. Write down the meaning of each word in green. Use context clues or, if needed, a dictionary. 2. Find another word that contains the root script or scrib. 3. Write a sentence using that word and draw a picture that shows the word’s meaning.
  • My Apologies Contest ~ Write a poem titled “My Apologies.” Your poem can be to yourself, to a part of yourself, another person, place, or thing.
  • Gum Contest ~ Using “The Sticky Story of Gum” as a model, make an infographic titled “The Story of Chocolate.” Present your infographic on a poster or with a digital tool such as Canva.

Submit your entries online by Monday, February 19, 2024.


Grades 4-12 ~ Pangolin Contest ~ Students must use information from a specific article and infographic in Scholastic Scope to create a poster, video, or slideshow about saving pangolins from extinction.

The prize is a copy of Mixed Up by Gordon Korman.

Submit your text online by Monday, February 19, 2024.


Grades K-12 ~ 2024 National Poison Prevention Week Contest ~ Kids nationwide are invited to create a poster (grades K-4) or a video (grades 5-12) that educates others about poison dangers lurking in our everyday environments. Videos and posters must include the Poison Help line number and logo.

A cash prize is up for grabs. Winners will also have the opportunity to go on a tour of the Capital.

Submit your text online by Tuesday, February 20, 2024.


Grades K-12 ~ The ART of Conservation's Fish Art Contest combines art, science, and creative writing to encourage kids to explore the wonders of fish. Participants may illustrate a wild fish species of choice, and upper grades (4-12) must also write a one-page creative writing submission to accompany their illustrations. Some fish selections are eligible for specialty awards.

Complete your artwork and entry form no later than Wednesday, February 28, 2024.


March Kid Contests


Grades 6-12 ~ Playwrights for Change ~ Students must address the theme, "Caring For Our World," in an original play. Completed scripts may have no more than six characters and must not be longer than 10 minutes when read aloud.

Submissions are due no later than Thursday, March 1, 2024. Adults may submit a contest submission into the 18+ category by Monday, April 1, 2024.


Ages 5-18 ~ The Colorado Kids Create Artwork Contest encourages children to create a colorful piece of artwork inspired by Colorado's rich, Western heritage. Artwork must be done with markers or paint in the landscape orientation.

There will be a grand prize winner, NOCO Regional Winner, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winner for elementary, middle, and high school entries.

The deadline to submit artwork is Thursday, March 1, 2024. Winners will be announced on April 1, 2024.


Ages 11-19 ~ The Science Without Borders® Challenge engages students and teachers in ocean conservation through art. This year's theme is "Hidden Wonders of the Deep." Students must use their imagination to create artwork depicting mysterious and unique deep-sea creatures or ecosystems, highlighting the beauty and diversity that often goes unseen.

Winners will earn cash prizes (from $50-$500) and be determined by two different age groups as follows:

  • Students 11-14 years old
  • Students 15-19 years old

The deadline to apply online for the Science without Borders® Challenge is Monday, March 4, 2024.


Grades K-12 ~ Latimer's Legacy Contest ~ Lewis Latimer was an African-American inventor, poet, and artist. Contest participants will commemorate 175 years since his birth by submitting original works of invention (grades K-5), poetry (grades 6-8), and art (grades 9-12). 

Prizes include $175 worth of gift cards, Steph Curry’s “Black History Month edition” Lewis Latimer sneakers, Scholastic books, and a class field trip to the new permanent exhibition at Lewis Latimer House Museum in NY.

Submissions are due by March 31, 2024.


Stay tuned! More contests are added as we hear about them.