I'm itching for a contest to run. Got any ideas?
The "Ask The Kids" project last year was a blast, and we made many new friends -- who can forget "people monkeys" or "the evolutionary war?" So I'm trying to come up with the next funky way to get kids thinking about evolution.
Summer vacation is coming up. Hmm, summer... kids will be outside a lot. They'll get a zillion mosquito bites at the corner park. They'll go camping. They'll catch frogs down by the pond. They'll watch the fireflies come out at dusk, and maybe get freaked out by a slug.
While they're out there, maybe we can get kids to see the natural world the way Darwin did: with delight, with close attention, and with wonder at the relatedness of things. What's a good contest design that will help them do that?
Maybe we can ask kids to keep an eye out for the coolest/weirdest/most adapted creature they see over the summer and send us a photo or draw us a picture.
Or maybe we can give kids a simplified Tree of Life and ask them to locate the creatures they encounter this summer on it. Or better yet: pick two creatures they meet and figure out how they are cousins.
Or maybe we just ask kids to enjoy their experiences in nature and write a poem about it, along the lines of these poems about nature and evolution for kids.
There should be some kind of creative entry for each kid, something we can post on the web and celebrate. It should be easy enough for little kids to take part, but also open-ended enough that older kids can get more elaborate. And as always, it can't be a pain in the butt for parents.
There should also be a reward for kids participating or winning. A prize or two of some Charlie's Playhouse products probably, or maybe an entry into a raffle. Or something else.
These ideas are early and vague. I could use some help, so I'm tossing it out there for input from you, my loyal reading public (hi, Mom). Any suggestions?
And hey, if we use your idea for the contest I'll send you a t-shirt of your choice! Rock on.