(istockphoto)

Looking for something to do after school? A new project, or even a top-secret mission? Whether you’re interested in photography or robotics, there are plenty of contests and competitions to try this fall. Enter by yourself or assemble a crackerjack team — the choice is up to you.

It’s also not too early to enter KidsPost’s Halloween costume contest, using your homemade costume from this year or last year. Find our online submission form (click here for the form) for instructions on how to enter. If you submit photos by October 4, you’ll be entered into a raffle for a special prize: a $15 gift card to Michaels craft store for last-minute Halloween supplies.

Shoot for the stars (or a free vacation)

What you need to do: Submit your best #nofilter photos to National Geographic’s International Photography Contest for Kids. You can submit one image in each of this year’s categories: animals, the outdoors, traveling and things that are weird or funny. Judges are looking for creativity, not just quality.

What you can win: One grand-prize winner gets to visit the iguanas and other wildlife on the Galápagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador. Four first-place winners and four second-place winners get a Contour camera and other prizes.

Who can enter: Kids ages 6 to 14.

How to enter: Submit your photos online or by mail by October 15, following the directions at natgeokids.com/photo-contest.

Get galactic

What you need to do: The Space Foundation wants to see your best space-themed artwork for its International Student Art Contest. This year’s theme is “Space Through My Eyes.” What comes to mind when you think about the universe, the galaxy or the solar system?

What you can win: Twenty-five winners receive an art kit, sunglasses and other prizes. Their work is also exhibited online and at the Space Symposium conference in Colorado Springs in April.

Who can enter: Kids ages 3 to 18 compete within eight age groups.

How to enter: Submit your drawing, painting, digital or mixed-media work online at art.spacefoundation. org by November 14.


This group from Montgomery County, Maryland, designed an award-winning app to help children with autism communicate their feelings. (Verizon)
Build a better app

What you need to do: Assemble your squad — a team of five to seven kids, plus a teacher or adviser — and come up with an idea for an app that could solve a problem in your school or community. Last year, one of the winners of the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge was a group from Montgomery County, Maryland. They designed an app to help kids with autism communicate their feelings and stay focused on daily tasks.

What you can win : One middle school team from each state wins $5,000 for their school and an Android tablet for each team member. Up to five of those teams win an additional $15,000 and get the chance to turn their app ideas into reality.

Who can enter: Kids in grades six through eight. High school students compete in a separate division.

How to enter: No coding required. Just go online to appchallenge. tsaweb.org before November 18 and submit an essay and three-minute video explaining your team’s idea.

Accept a new mission

What you need to do: Gather a team of three to four kids, find an adult adviser, and put your math and science skills to the test. The Army’s eCyberMission competition has you choose from fields such as national security, robotics and the environment and then solve a problem by conducting research and holding experiments.

What you can win: Teams that place first or second in their state win money — and each member of the winning national team wins $5,000.

Who can enter: Kids in grades six through nine.

How to enter: Go to ecybermission. com and register your team by December 7. You have until February 22 to research your problem and complete your challenge.