Engaging young kids in competitions is a sure way to get them excited to learn. Here kids find a community and pick up skills such as critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving. STEAM competitions are held all year round, with many different countries as hosts.
International STEAM competitions offer students scholarships to study abroad and attend high ranking universities. Moreover, companies such as Google and up-and-coming Silicon Valley companies are very interested in young brilliant minds. And they pay special attention to kids that participate in STEAM competitions because it shows them how well competitors can perform under pressure.
Competitions bring out so much from the kids; it highlights abilities you didn’t know they possessed. It makes them better. STEAM competitions have been gaining attention in the recent years and some might say these are just as exciting as the NBA finals.
In 2018 a research was conducted on young kids that took part in the ‘Power tech’ STEAM competition. They found that kids engaged in the competition developed a higher interest level in STEAM education after the contest. Plus they were more interested in pursuing a career in technology.
Some more reasons why you should enroll your kids in STEM competitions include:
- To develop critical thinking and learn collaboration with teammates: The challenges presented in these competitions encourage kids to evaluate a problem in detail. And appreciate the input from other members of the team. This way kids work together and develop leadership skills.
- Opportunity for kids to think outside the box and work on problem-solving skills.
- Practice soft skills such as communication: by sharing ideas with teammates and explaining their projects to judges, kids learn the professional way to voice their opinions and share their point of view.
In this article, we have compiled a list of prestigious international STEM/STEAM competitions for kids. All these competitions integrate various branches of STEAM. For convenience, we have divided the competitions according to individual aspects of STEAM education
The S in STEAM
- Deep blue Marine STEAM competition
This competition offers challenges that require students to learn about science, engineering and technology. The concept of this contest is to promote kids to be more aware of the issues around them. The competition is divided into three sections according to the age. This year’s theme is marine creatures. Kids have to use craft material to demonstrate their knowledge of science related to marine life. Certificates are awarded along with a fun science kit for the top students. The competition is online and submissions are made via email. The registration is free.
2020 competition took place on 23rd Aug. New dates will be announced in the summer of 2021.
It is for kids’ ages 3-10 years old from all over the world.
- Young reporters of the environment challenges
This competition offers challenges related to the environment. International students can present solutions to issues related to pollution and climate change. Kids’ make submissions online including articles, photos and videos. The challenge is focused on the S (science) portion of STEAM education. However, the solutions require the integration of all aspects of STEAM. The teams are judged on the bases of originality and the structure of answers.
Internationally 36+ countries participate in this challenge. Registration is free of cost. The entry submission is scheduled for 15th April 2021, with the final result declaration in July 2021.
It is for middle and high school students.
The T in STEAM
- Codein Game
This competition offers middle and high school kids an opportunity to code along with some leaders in the coding world. International schools can register for free. Students log into the schools’ profile and code according to the instructions of the challenge. The task can be related to a video game based on scientific principles, engineering rules or modern technology. It is open for all international schools who want to register.
This year’s contest is on Nov 12, 2020. The website has a detailed schedule
It is for middle and high school students
The ocean awareness program is a perfect blend of science, arts and technology. Kids have to learn about ocean rising and other themes as presented by the organization. Then create projects such as visual arts, poetry, dance or other means of creative communication. The students submit their work online. The mission of this competition is to promote the integration of all the components of STEAM education.
Submission deadline is June 14, 2021. International students can participate for free as long as they are between the ages of 11-18.
It is for middle and high students.
The E in STEAM
- Broadcom masters
This international competition is focused on science and engineering topics. It brings together international students by picking the top 10% of local level international science fairs students. Finalists all gather in Washington DC for a head to head STEM match. Kids can work with living organisms or use engineering knowledge to design a model etc. They are judged based on creativity, collaboration and the level of integration of STEAM principles.
Most regional fairs are held between January and April. Registration is free for all students belonging to 70+ countries.
It is for 6th-8th grade middle school students.
- Engineer Girl essay contest
This competition is open to all girls and boys around the world, and not exclusive to girls (some people misunderstand the name of the competition). The challenge is to write an essay about an engineering problem. The competition is web-based and submissions are made online. Engineer Girl encourages writing skills in kids while focusing on engineering and science. This year the theme is the contributions made by engineers towards the fight against COVID-19.
Feb 1, 2021, is the last date for submission of the essay. The participation is free. Rewards for winners are cash prizes.
It is for international elementary to high school kids.
The A in STEAM
- STEAM engine global
This is a completely online STEAM competition. It focuses on the A (arts) component. The challenge includes students aged 8-15 years old. They can participate from anywhere in the world. Kids can make an art project about any real-world problem they like. The competition motivates kids to look at their surroundings and observe problems that can be fixed. Kids have to look around their world and find a problem related to any component of STEAM, then create a solution or demonstrate it using their artistic side.
The participation is free. Kids can apply individually or in the form of teams. The 2020 competition ended on 5th Sep 2020. New dates will be available online.
It is for elementary and middle school kids.
- Design squad global
This STEAM challenge is focused on the A (arts) component. The design challenge offers students as young as 7 years old the opportunity to compete with others around the world. Kids can draw or make a project around the theme of the presented problem. The best feature is the compulsion to design solutions with household items; this promotes creativity and problem-solving skills. It is completely online so young kids don’t have to travel to participate.
The participation is free for international students. Dates will be available on the website.
It is for elementary and middle school kids.
The M in STEAM
- Canadian Open Mathematics challenge
This STEAM competition focuses on the M (math) aspect. The questions presented can only be solved by integrating the knowledge of science, technology and engineering. International students can participate and submit answers online. This is a very prestigious competition as the qualifying students are invited to the international Olympiad and get scholarships to top universities, summer camps and internships. The questions are presented according to the age level and each student is given 4 hours to solve.
The 2020 competition is underway, new dates for next season will be announced soon. It is for elementary to high school students under the age of 19.
- Noetic Learning Math contest
This STEAM competition focuses on the M component more. Challenges include math problems about issues relating to science, technology, engineering and arts. So knowledge of all fields is necessary to solve the questions. 20 questions are presented with a 45-minute time cap. The competition is designed to promote teamwork and problem-solving ability in kids while encouraging an interest in mathematics. Students have the choice to take the test online from anywhere in the world.
Registration is free for individuals. The fall competition is on Nov 12, 2020.It is for elementary and middle school kids (grade 2-8).
In the beginning, kids might be intimidated by the competitions and various challenges presented, but don’t hesitate to encourage your child to take part. The benefits of these contests outweigh the fear of participation. Kids learn to work under pressure and later on excel in high ranking jobs and lead teams with ease.
The list above covers various challenges available for international kids to participate online or in person. Follow the links and start checking the requirements to see which one is a perfect match for you. Don’t wait too long because you might miss the registration date.
Who knows, these competitions might give your kid a chance to meet his role model tech CEO or a chance to shadow Google executives. Most of the international STEAM competitions offer such rewards to the students who do well here.
Let us know in the comments what your kids love about STEAM competitions!