Tag Archives: contests

What’s That About Radon?

This past fall, two of my children entered our state’s Radon Poster Contest sponsored by the health department. To enter, students were to design a poster showing that radon is a harmful gas that can affect people in their own homes.

Right before Christmas, my daughter Cassie learned that she had won first place for our state! It took us a little while to coordinate everything with the health department, but this week, she received her award. And the rest of us received some good information.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that forms naturally under the ground. When buildings are constructed over radon, it seeps into the building and becomes trapped. Depending on how much radon is present, the results can be deadly, as it’s the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. The representative from the health department told us of a young mother of three in our town who passed away from lung cancer a few years ago; the cause, they decided, was radon in her home.

“How do we test for it?” someone asked. Testing is done with a kit that you can either purchase at a home improvement store or get from your health department. After letting it sit in your house for a few days, you mail it off to a lab for the results.

If you test your home and find high levels of radon, what then? Fortuanately, there is a way to fix it. A ventilation system (they call it a mitigation system) can be installed under your home to allow the radon to escape before it ever enters the building. Newer homes, we were told, are often built with this system in already in place.

We also talked about the segment aired a couple of weeks ago on the Today Show about radon and it’s potential danger in the public schools. In one classroom that was tested, young elementary students were exposed to as much radon as if they were smoking a half a pack of cigarettes a day!

The poster contest was a success! Cassie received a lot of  prizes, our co-op received a monetary prize, but most of all, we all learned about radon and how to protect our families.

Are you children interested in entering? Check online to see if your state offers the poster contest. And be sure to check out the 2011 winners here!

 

Art Contests for Kids

 

There are a lot of art contests for kids online, and homeschoolers are encouraged to enter them as well.  Our school days at home are fairly relaxed, so contests provide some healthy structure to our work. By participating in a contest, children have a definite goal a deadline to meet. They also recognize the need to present their very best work, even if it means re-doing something that’s already completed. If they win, they experience the thrill of victory, and if they don’t, they learn how to take defeat in stride to try again another day. They learn, as Henry Ford stated, that “failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”  (Love those “failure/success” quotes!)

If you’d like to encourage your child to enter an art contest, here are a few to check out:

  • Constitution Day Poster Contest – This contest for ages 3 -12 celebrates the U.S. Consitution. Children are to create an 8 ½” x 11” poster showing how they have benefited from the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. A fun and creative contest, but you have to hurry – the deadline for submitting entries is October 1.
  • Teachers Against Prejudice is sponsoring an art contest for students in grades 1-4. The theme for the artwork this year is “Sharing Cultures.” Entries must be submitted by October 15.
  • This is My Math Art Contest sponsored by McGraw-Hill is for students in grades K-5. Young artists are to illustrate “What math means to me” and enter their work by October 29.
  • NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest – Have a wildlife artist in your family? If she’s 18 or under, she can enter this contest with her best drawing or painting of an animal. The deadline is November 1.
  • Smilemakers Pearcasso Art Contest – If your child likes to play with his food at mealtime, this may be the perfect contest for him! Artists ages 5-18 are to create their artwork with pears! Entries must be sent by November 15.
  • Decide to Drive Poster Contest – For students in grades 5-8, this contest focuses on the importance of driving without distractions. Entries must be sent by November 15.
  • Frogs are Green Art Contest – Kids ages 3 – 12 are invited to enter this contest focusing on green living. The deadline for submissions is November 30.

Contests for Kids

Last fall, three of my children entered a local art contest, and all of them won a ribbon! As part of their prize, each won a ticket to the local children’s theatre, and we were finally able to redeem them last night and see a musical together. What fun!

 Many organizations offer free contests for kids to enter, and children can learn some good lessons by participating. Not only do they have a project they need to finish well, but they have to complete it by a certain time or deadline. They develop their skills through the process, whether it’s art or writing, crafts or photography. They learn to be gracious if they win, and they learn how to deal with disappointment if they don’t. And through it all, they learn that to succeed at anything, they first have to try.

 If you can’t find any contests for kids in your local community, check out the ones available online. Here are a few with upcoming deadlines to get you started:

 ART:

SHADE Foundation Poster Contest – This contest is for children in grades Kindergarten-8th. Participants enter a 8 1/2” x 11 1/2” poster featuring five sun-safety action steps. The deadline is April 1.

Animal Rescue TV Art Contest To enter this monthly contest ,children draw or paint their favorite animal. For kids ages 16 and under.

Look and Learn Art – Based in the United Kingdom, this is a monthly international contest and is open to children ages 18 and under.

State Fish Art Contest – This contest is for students in grades 4th – 12th. Entrants draw or paint a state fish and include an essay about the habitat and behavior of that fish. The deadline is always March 31.

National Geographic Kids posts contests from time to time. Keep checking the website for updates.

WRITING

PBS Kids Go Writing Contest for children in grades K-3. Check with your local PBS station for rules and deadlines.

Kids are Authors Writing Contest – Sponsored by Scholastic, this contest is for students in grades K-8 to encourage them to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills to create their own books. The deadline for 2011 is March 15.

Let’s Have a Parade!

This week, we met up with family to spend a day together at a children’s museum. While we were there, we began talking about Christmas parades, and my grown niece commented that one of her dreams was to be in a parade.

“Really?” I replied. “That’s funny, because we’re going to be in a parade this Sunday. We’ve been in one every year for the last five years.”

“But I thought you had to represent a business or an organization,” she said.

But in our little country town, you don’t. Participation is open to anyone willing to pay the entry fee, which ranges from $10 – $20 depending on what you are entering. The categories always include commercial and non-commercial vehicles and floats, classic and antique vehicles, recreational vehicles, horses, pageant winners, and walkers/marchers.

Those may seem like difficult categories for a family to fit into, but they’re not. We enter every year as a non-commercial vehicle. We decorate my husband’s old pickup truck and dress up to fit the theme of the parade. My husband drives the truck, and the kids and I all ride in the back, waving and tossing out candy and wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas.”

Our parade offers plaques as prizes for the entries with the best decorations, and would you believe it, for the past five years we’ve placed either first or second in our category? When I first came across the entry form six years ago, I thought it’d be fun to enter it on a whim; now it’s become a family Christmas tradition. And the kids are always anxious to see if we’ll win again.

If your children would like to be in a parade next year, check into your town’s entry requirements. If you do need to enter as a group, you could enter as a club, a church organization, or a homeschool co-op. Then, with a little creativity and a lot of planning, you’ll be ready to join in the fun!

Photo by gracey