Motivating Young Gifted Children Using Academic Competitions!

I don’t see a lot published about competitiveness in gifted kids, nor do I hear it discussed often at the “gifted children seminars” that I so often attend – so I thought it warranted some attention here.

The gifted kids I know are extremely competitive (particularly academically, but also athletically) – so it makes sense to channel the competitiveness in healthy ways. Curiously, I’ve found that this competitive drive has recently surfaced in Lily (Lucy’s 5 year old sister) when her Kindergarten class began participating in Raz Kids Reading. Completely and totally unprovoked by me, Lily is now determined to “beat” the other kids in the class and read more, do more, and test better. The great thing is that the Raz Kids has gotten her excited again about reading, now that there is a purpose (winning!)

Lucy’s teachers have been very involved in promoting various academic competitions in the classroom, locally, regionally, and even nationally. It gives the classroom a sense of collective purpose and enables the kids to practice empathy (“I’m sorry you didn’t do well, next time!”) and support (“Way to go, that was an amazing project!”) for fellow classmates. There are many ways that teachers and parents can help gifted children participate in these competitions, and here is a very short list of a few great competitions for younger gifted kids:

Noetic Math – A math competition designed for gifted children.  The kids in Lucy’s class live and die by this bi-annual math competition, offered to kids in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5.  Any teacher from a public school or a private school is encouraged  to register their students.

Noetic Math

Scripps National Spelling Bee – So many gifted kids are gifted spellers too.  Unfortunately Scripps doesn’t start until 8th grade but most school district have their own spelling bees starting around 3rd grade.  Good practice for Scripps!

Doodle for Google – I’m a huge Google fan.  Doodle for Google is SO awesome – I’ve loved Lucy’s drawings! Open to K-12 students and is judged by grade level.  A couple of kids at Lucy’s school won the state level!

Scholastic Kids are Authors – Many gifted kids are fantastic writers because they are so creative and “out of the box” thinkers. Kids Are Authors is an annual competition open to students in Grades K–8 in the United States and U.S. international schools and is designed to encourage students to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills.

Obviously, Hoagies is a terrific resource to find a more comprehensive list of these competitions but I wanted to highlight the academic competitions for our younger gifted kids!