Our Favorite Contests for Kids and Families: Entries due April - June

By Sarah Hauge, Publisher, Macaroni Kid, Englewood, Greenwood Village, Centennial April 8, 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.
These 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 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington DC as well as an all-expense 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 poem, "Monster in My Closet," 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 as well as 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.

Entries are due to JQA by May 31, 2024. Artwork can be mailed to the JQA office in Japan or submitted digitally.

Grades 8-12 ~ Ayn Rand Institute: Anthem Essay Contest ~ Read the book Anthem by Ayn Rand and select one of three topics to consider for an essay. Winners are eligible for cash prizes up to $2,000.

Submit your essay online no later than 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.

Highschoolers, Undergrads, & 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." In the first part of the essay you should attack this claim; in the second part defend it.

Essay winners are eligible for cash prizes up to a $1,000 scholarship and complimentary registration + 2 nights' lodging for JASNA's upcoming Annual General Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.

Entries must be submitted online by  June 1, 2024.

Middle & High School Students (Ages 13+) ~ Ayn Rand Institute: The Fountainhead Essay Contest ~ Read the book The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and select one of three topics to consider for an essay. Winners are eligible for the grand prize of $25,000.

Submit your essay online no later than June 7, 2024.

Highschoolers, Ages 14+ ~ Stuck at Prom® ~ Wow the judges with prom dresses and tuxedos made entirely with Duck® brand duct tape and/or Duck® brand crafting tape.

First-place winners from each category will be awarded $15,000 cash prizes. Four runner-up winners for each category (Dress and Tux) will each win $1000 cash scholarships in addition to Duck® Brand Prize Packs. New this year, three judges' choice award winners will receive $1000 in new categories: Runway Worthy, Most Inspiring, and Trust E.'s Choice.

Submit a photograph of your work online by June 5, 2024. Voting goes through July 10.

Sorry, Colorado residents! This contest is limited to legal residents of the United States (excluding Maryland, Colorado, Vermont, Nebraska, and North Dakota), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US territories, or legal residents of Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec) only.

Grades K-12 ~ FMCSA Road Safety Art Contest ~ Students are invited to use their creativity to raise awareness of how to stay safe on the road, particularly when driving, biking, or walking around large trucks and buses. Artwork must be presented in landscape/horizontal orientation and include imagery or references to large trucks and/or buses. Including cars, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians is also encouraged. Seat belt usage for all people pictured in vehicles is mandatory. Artwork should not depict crashes and injuries; safety messages should be kept positive.

All winners receive a framed copy of their artwork and an award certificate. Plus, winning art will be featured in the 2025 Road Safety Art Contest Calendar.

Submit your art no later than June 7, 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 & multimedia, performing arts (music & dance), or poetry/spoken word.

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

Submit your artwork online by June 10, 2024.

Have you seen another great kid contest that we should add to our list?
We'd love to hear all about it! Email your publisher at