If you like science projects and winning some awesome gifts, this is the challenge for you. Open to kids from 3rd to 6th grade, the 3rd annual Kids Science Challenge is currently accepting applications - And the best part is, they send you cool stuff just for entering.

What's even better is that you don't have to build anything - Simply come up with an original idea or design that relates to one of three given topics. If you win, you will be able to test your idea with an expert, and see if it really works.

Magical Microbes

Microbes or micro-organisms are those tiny organisms that are can only be seen through microscopes. They range from bacteria and fungi to plants like algae and even small animals like plankton. While they may be tiny, they are an important part of our eco-system. These organisms are also used in some foods and drinks, as well as, for modern technologies based on genetic engineering. One common example is yeast, which is used to make bread, as well as, biodegradable plastic.

The folks at Kids Science Challenge want you to propose a new way that a micro-organism can help the world we live in. Remember, you only have to come up with an idea and explain why you think it makes sense - not prove it. For that you will be asked to fly down to New York or New England (your choice) and work with a real scientist at the Polytechnic Institute of New York or University of Massachusetts, Amherst - If you come up with the winning idea of course. Take a look at the video and other ideas presented here for inspiration, www.kidsciencechallenge.com.

Sensational Sounds

Can you make music from any ordinary item? If so, this is the perfect topic for you. Simply imagine a new kind of musical instrument and send your entry in. If you can draw a picture, it will definitely help your case. The best part is, the winner gets to fly down to Point Reyes, California for a mini-vacation and a chance to build their ingenious idea with musical instrument builder, Bart Hopkins. Check out the video for some inspirational ideas - www.kidsciencechallenge.com.

Super Stuff For Sports

Think your soccer ball could be made smarter or baseball bat more precise? Then this is the topic for you. Come up with an idea about how to make your favorite sport better with lighter, stronger, safer equipment that could help you go faster, further, or higher, by using different materials or taking advantage of the properties of certain materials - for e.g. while silly putty seems to be completely malleable, when rolled into a ball it bounces like one. Once again, remember, the competition is just about coming up with an innovative idea - not about building an actual piece of equipment - For that (if you win of course), you will get to visit either K2 Sports in Seattle or School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at the University of Southern Mississippi, and work alongside a real materials scientist. Check out the video for ideas www.kidsciencechallenge.com.

Have a great idea for all three categories? Not a problem. You or your friends (limited to five), can enter in each of the three categories - However, only one entry per category is allowed.

While the competition is open until February 2011, the first 1,000 entrants will receive a free Science Kit and, if you send it in before December 31st, 2010, you will even get a cool pin. So put your thinking caps on today and get going! To check out more details or download an entry form go to www.kidsciencechallenge.com. Be sure to check out all the cool prizes you can win. Best of luck and do let us know if you win or even enter, by adding your comments below.

Source: kidssciencechallenge.com