A Cool Summer Contest for Teens
by Danielle Wood
Got a teen who refuses to get off the couch? Looking for some ideas to keep her brain active during the summer? If you’ve got a sneaking suspicion that as the temperature rises, your child’s gray matter is turning into mush, there may be help on the horizon.
FreshBrain, a non-profit based in Saratoga, California, has just kicked off a series of summer contests for teens. Not only can they win cool prizes like iPods and camcorders, but they can win them doing what they probably love to do anyway… use technology and throw ideas around with friends.
Here’s how it works: Each week, the site releases a challenge—from inventing a video game for a cell phone, to building a Facebook application, to creating a tongue-in-cheek documentary on 101 things to do with a cell phone. Entries are judged “on creativity, age appropriateness and technique” according to the site, and for each contest there are prizes awarded to the winners—from surfboards and headphones, to gift certificates to Circuit City or the Apple Store.
From creating a video on alternative ways to get around now that gas prices have hit the roof, to launching a podcast about gaming, these are contests cool enough to pique a teen’s interest, and challenging enough to keep their brains lubricated until school starts again in the Fall. All the tools they need to participate can be downloaded from the site for free (software or editing tools, for example) and there are no entry fees. Plus, the site has a bunch of other non-contest related ideas to spark your kid's interest-- like tutorials on how to edit rock music or make a college recruiting video.
True, it may not be the summer you remember from your own teen years. But it may fill your child's hours with less texting and more doing. And the skills he polishes this summer may just help him the next time a school project rolls around.
At the very least, it's something to have in your back pocket when your teen yawns that he’s bored. And who knows, he may just learn something this summer…
Danielle Wood is the Director of Editorial for Education.com. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org