Our Favorite Contests for Kids and Families: Entries due Oct - Dec

September 18, 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 (and FREE!) kid contests and publication experiences to help you find an opportunity that celebrates your best.

IMPORTANT NOTES: Opportunities are listed by entry deadlines, so plan ahead! These contests are NOT affiliated with Macaroni KID in any way. Submit your work at your own discretion.

October Contests

Grades K-12 ~ Constitution Day Poster Design Contest  ~ Artists must design a poster that illustrates how they have benefited from the freedoms embodied in the US Constitution.

The first 100 entrants receive a free pocket constitution book from as well as other exciting prizes.

Poems must be postmarked by October 2, 2023.

All ages ~ Embracing Our Differences Art Contest  ~ Artists of all ages are encouraged to submit a piece of original artwork that reflects the theme, "enriching lives through diversity and inclusion." Selected artwork will be displayed on billboard-sized canvases at the 2024 exhibit (mid-January through April) in Southwest Florida.

Review the design specs (dimensions, orientation, and file size), prior to starting your project.

Three $2,000 cash prizes are up for grabs: “Best-in-Show Adult;” “Best-in-Show Student;” and “People’s Choice.”

Artwork must be submitted no later than Thursday, October 5, 2023.

Grades 6-9 ~ AGI Earth Science Week Essay Contest ~ Students are asked to submit an essay that focuses on the topic, "Geoscience Innovations Solving Problems." Geoscience professionals are continually innovating with new technologies and practices — affecting the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere — to solve problems and create healthier, more sustainable communities. Describe how one geoscience innovation is making the world a better place. Essays are limited to 300 words.

Selected winners will receive $300 and a copy of an AGI publication. The winner's and finalists' names and entries will be posted on the Earth Science Week website.

Essays and signed entry forms must be submitted by Friday, October 13, 2023 at 3 PM MT.

Ages 4-12 ~Commercial Crew 2024 Artwork Contest ~ Star-seeking children are encouraged to get excited about space exploration by submitting an original piece of artwork in four space-related themes. The four themes are as follows: Rockets and Spacecraft, Living and Working in Space, Exploring the Solar System, and Astronauts.

Winning artwork will be used for an out-of-this-world calendar for 2024.

The deadline to submit artwork is October 25, 2023 at 10:59 p.m. MT

Grades 6-8 ~ VFW Patriot's Pen Essay Contest ~ Students must write a 300-400 word essay following this year's theme, "How Are You Inspired by America?"

Each first-place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first-place winner wins $5,000!

Essays must be submitted by midnight, October 31, 2023.

Grades 1-12 ~ George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest ~ Young artists are asked to portray any North American game bird or animal that may be legally hunted or trapped. To confirm eligibility, review the list of North American game animals and birds.

One artist will receive a $1000 cash prize for best in show. Then, first place will receive $750, second place will receive $500, and third place will receive $250.

Art and accompanying entry form is due by October 31, 2023.

Ages 10-14 ~ Kids 4 Human Rights International Drawing Contest ~ Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by creating an original piece of art.

Winning artwork will be featured in various locations before becoming part of a collection at the Queen Sofia Children's Art Museum in Valladolid, Spain.

Art must be submitted by October 31, 2023.

Grades 9-12 ~ VFW Voice of Democracy Audio-Essay Program ~ Students must write an essay and create an audio recording of the written text. This year's theme is "What Are the Greatest Attributes of Our Democracy?" and original audio essays should range from 3-5 minutes.

The national first-place winner receives a $35,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college, or vocational/technical school.

Audio essays must be submitted online or by mail by midnight, October 31, 2023.

November Contests

Ages 11-18 ~ Arapahoe Libraries Geek Out Contest 2023 ~ Show off your creativity and submit your favorite fan art, inspired by what you love. Submissions can be fan fiction, poetry, song lyrics, videos, cosplay, sculptures, or anything else you can come up with!

Prizes include a PS5, a Meta Quest 2 Starter Bundle, a 9th Generation iPad plus an Apple Pencil, and several Visa gift cards ranging from $50-$200.

Submit your entries at any Arapahoe Libraries location or electronically between November 1 and 30, 2023.

Grades 9-12, College Students, Adults ~ Compost Foundation Poster Contest ~ Artists may submit an original piece of artwork that is 12" wide by 18" that contains the theme title, "COMPOST... Nature’s Climate Champion!" and contains the words, "International Compost Awareness Week, May 5 – 11, 2024." Participants must include a short paragraph on why they chose to participate in the ICAW 2024 poster contest and give an explanation of their poster concept.

The overall winner will receive a $500 cash prize.

Submit your entry online no later than November 1, 2023 @ 10 PM MT.

Grades 9-12 ~ Bennington College Young Writers Awards ~ Students may submit an original piece of work including poetry, fiction (short story or one-act play), or nonfiction (personal or academic essay).

First-place winners in each category are awarded a prize of $1,000; second-place winners receive $500; third-place winners receive $250.

Submit your entry online no later than November 1, 2023.

All ages ~ Save the Frogs Art Contest  ~ Participants are encouraged to create an original piece of artwork to help raise awareness of the mass extinction of amphibians that is happening worldwide. All artwork must include the words, "SAVE THE FROGS!" or "" or both!

The grand prize winner receives a $100 cash prize.

Submit your artwork online no later than November 1, 2023.

Grades 12+ ~ Ayn Rand Institute: Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest ~ Read the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and select from available topics to consider for an essay. Winners are eligible for cash prizes up to $10,000.

Submit your essay online no later than November 6, 2023.

Grades 6-12, Catholic School Students ~ Maryknoll Student Essay Contest ~ Students must write a 500-750 word essay on the following topic: Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. How can we, as followers of Jesus, stand up for peace and against the growing violence in our country?

Submissions are due by Monday, November 13, 2023.

Ages 11-13, Visually-Impaired Students ~ Lions International Essay Contest ~ Students must reflect on the theme, "Dare to Dream" in an essay that is no longer than 500 words in length.

Submit your essay no later than November 15, 2023.

Grades K-12 ~ Art of Conservation® Songbird Art Contest™ ~ Students must select a species from the official songbird list, research that species, and create a piece of hand-done original art. Students in grades 4-12 must also submit a creative writing element describing the importance of their chosen songbird:

  • Painted Bunting
  • Chestnut-collared Longspur
  • Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Red-winged Blackbird

Submit your entry online or via mail by November 30, 2023.

December Contests

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. Teachers with 5 or more students published in the book will receive a free copy for their classroom.

Submit your artwork online no later than December 7, 2023.

Grades K-12 ~ NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund Youth Essay Contest ~ Students are asked to write a 1000-word essay on the theme, "What Does The Second Amendment Mean to You?"

Cash prizes are awarded in two different age divisions. First-place cash prizes are $1,000, $600 for second place, $200 for third place, and $100 for fourth place.

Submissions are due no later than December 31, 2023.