15 Reputable Mathematics Competitions for Kids: Playgroup to 8th grade
Mathematics competitions are a model to promote STEM learning from a young age. Through these contests, young kids can challenge their math skills. The motivation to win makes them work harder towards achieving greatness.
Life itself is a challenge, by engaging kids in mathematics competitions you can prepare them for life. Here they can learn skills such as critical thinking, communication, creativity and problem-solving. The most short term benefit is the satisfaction of completing a challenge most students will not even try to attempt. Long term benefits include learning to work under pressure, whether individually or as a part of a team.
Kids that participate in these competitions do well in jobs such as a mathematical technician, an estimated annual salary of $60,000+, because these jobs require integration of engineering, technology and math knowledge. With the certificates from the competitions, companies such as Microsoft and Intel offer valuable summer internships to students.
These math competitions help students engage in a community that will support them later in their STEM career. Students that do well in the competition end up making connections with coaches or judges who can guide them in their future math endeavors. For younger kids, the competitions serve to solidify their intentions of pursuing a future in mathematics and STEAM.
Other skills kids pick up during international math competitions include:
- Critical thinking: while solving mental math challenges, they discover the ability to think differently + quickly to find solutions.
- Teamwork: most challenges encourage teamwork. The assignments given require students to collaborate to succeed; this teaches them to work with others in a tense situation.
- Work under pressure: putting time caps on already stressful competitions teaches kids a valuable life lesson of working under pressure.
In this article you will find a comprehensive list of international math challenges, online and otherwise for students of elementary school to 8th grade
⇒ STEM Education ⇐
Kids aged 5-10 years (elementary school)
International Youth math challenge
This youth mathematics competition is recognized all over the world. Almost 100 counties participate each year in this contest. What makes it unique is the fact that the same questions are presented to all the students irrespective of the country, that way the students are judged fairly. The completion is held entirely online and is open to international students. The challenges are mental math activities, such questions that are not generally found in textbooks.
There is no fee for participation! Submission deadline is Oct 11, 2020.
Who can compete? Students from elementary school to high school can participate.
Australian mathematics competition
This competition is open to international students to participate and solve the competition within their own countries. You can apply from anywhere, any school system or region. Teachers are given the resources to conduct the exam and guided throughout the process to maintain credibility. The competition is completely online with accommodations for special needs kids. There are a total of 5 levels from primary (grade3) to senior (grade12). The questions are related to real-world issues and solved using mental math!
The competition is scheduled for July 30, 2020.
Who can compete? Students from grade 3-12 can participate. The registration fee is $6.50AUD.
International math contest
This contest gives the participants 30 minutes of challenges based on the curricula studied in school. International students can participate in their countries because competition is based online. The registration is free for all levels. This competition promotes parents to sign up kids on the platform to compare each kid’s math skills with those around the world. You can apply for a detailed performance report for $20 after the contest and receive it in an email.
Who can compete? Elementary to middle school kids (grade 3-8)
Math world cup for kids
The competition is ongoing every hour on the website. Students from any country can log into their account and take part in the contest as it is completely online. You can win gold medals at the end along with a certificate. The registration is free. The competition helps those young minds that enjoy mathematics and mental math activities. For them, this competition offers advanced-level problems using the same principles they are taught in school.
Who can compete? Elementary school students (K-5)
Mathematical Olympiad for elementary and middle school
The goal of this platform is to get more and more kids engaged in mathematics and STEM. Challenges are presented to teams of 30+ students. They explore the problems and discuss different approaches to solve it. This promotes creativity and teamwork while also working on their problem-solving skills. 17,000 students from 35 countries participated last year.
Registration fee is $150 for international students. You can apply for the 2021 season on the website
Who can compete? Elementary and middle school (grade 4-8)
Kids Aged 10-12 Years (Middle School)
Online Math Champs contest
This contest is special in the way they present the challenges. The main focus to help develop the art of problem-solving using mathematics principles and STEM education. There are different divisions for middle and high school ages and the questions are designed accordingly. The contest is held online and individual participation is accepted. The registration is free for all international students; people from all around the globe can apply and qualify for certificates and prizes!
Who can compete? Middle and high school students
Purple comet, Math meet
After the competition goes live, a ten-day window is given to the students to compete. The entire competition is held online and the participation is free. International students are welcome from 53+ countries. The questions are divided according to the age group from middle school to senior level. Certain numbers of questions are given that require integration of STEM education and mental math to solve. Calculators are allowed along with using reference books and writing programs to find answers. Over 12,000 students compete in the form of 3200 teams.
The competition is scheduled for April 6-20, 2021.
Who can compete? Middle and high school students
Online international math challenge
The competition begins with a tryout phase in which the kids warm up by solving a series of 10 to 15 questions that are not included in the final grade. The actual competition is divided into four parts and each has 40 MCQ to be solved in 90 minutes. Since the exam is online international students can participate in their own countries. The exam format works on laptops and tablets. The contest has participants from 70+ countries.
The exam took place on 8-9 Oct 2020. Registration fee is $25 for international students.
Who can compete? Elementary to high school students, age 9-16 years.
⇒ Brain is my Natural Calculator ⇐
ClassPad Math contest
This is an online web-based competition for kids to sharpen their problem-solving skills. New competition questions are uploaded on the website and international students can register and answer to compete with other kids their age. The unique feature is the design of questions. Because it requires kids to use mental math to solve brain teasers. Currently, over 13500+ elementary students are participating in the competition. Each week new content is uploaded. Participation is free.
Who can compete? Elementary and middle school kids
Global Math challenge
This competition is online and held by the Sony Global education Inc. Kids from all over the world log in to solve fun brain teasers and other mental math activities using STEM knowledge. The questions are shown with illustrations to attract young kids. Afterwards, a GMC review team goes over the child’s performance and encourages their strengths while helping them work on the weakness.
The 2020 competition was cancelled due to the pandemic, the new season dates will be announced soon.
Who can compete? Middle and high school students
Kids Aged 13+ Years (Junior High School)
International Mathematics Olympiad
The math Olympiad had its 61st annual competition this year. Each season students from across the globe look forward to participating. Because of the value of certificates and participating in terms of a future in mathematics. The competition is now held online and each country has the contest in their region. You can check the list of countries here. The test starts at the same time no matter where you are and strict precautions are taken to maintain the standard of this international Olympiad. A wide variety of questions are designed according to the ages of participants. Each activity requires a high level of mental math work.
This year the contest was held in September 2020. New dates will be announced soon so keep an eye out! It is free for the participant, the cost is paid by the organization.
Who can compete? Elementary to high school students
Mathematics Association of America– AMC 10
The goal of American mathematics competitions is to foster problem-solving skills in young kids through a series of tests. International students can participate as the competition is held online. Countries including South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the west are included in the list of countries. The competition includes MCQ based questions and a 40min time cap is given for each exam. The organization rewards the 20 highest scoring girls with $1000 as an additional motivation to others.
The fee for the registration is $2.5 per participant. The date of the competition is Nov 8, 2020.
Who can compete? Elementary to junior high school
The competition is held annually on the same date every year; the third Thursday of March. International students register with the organization and then take part in the competition at a centre in their own country. 77+ countries are included in the Kangaroo. Each country has its website so be sure to check the locations near you. This is a prestigious competition so the participants who do well here benefit at the time of college admission and the international mathematics Olympiad. A series of multiple-choice questions are given and the time cap is 75 minutes.
The participation fee is $25.
Who can compete? K-12
Tournament of towns
This competition offers options to take the exam virtually and in person. It encourages international participation from any country in the world. For that reason you have to register from your region and build a team, then the organization will conduct the competition in your town. The unique feature of this competition is that the problems are designed in a way that develops research skills and the ability to look at a situation from different angles. There are two divisions; O level is basic and A level is advanced. A student can attempt a question three times and the best answer is considered.
Each year there are two rounds of the competition, one in spring and the other in the fall.
Who can compete? 8-11 Grade students (junior and senior high school)
Caribou Math contest
This competition is held entirely online and is open to all countries of the world; you simply need to be a math enthusiast between the ages of 5-18 years to participate. The competition is free for second grade and under. For higher-level grades, the fee varies according to region and competitor level. The fees start from $18 CAD and more details can be found here. The questions are math puzzles, mental math and activities that require a supreme level of problem-solving abilities.
There are six contests each year with the final in May.
Who can compete? Elementary and high school
Related: 15 robotics competitions for kids.
⇒ Robotics for Kids in 2021 ⇐
If you are a parent with a young math genius at home, then enroll him/her in a math challenge to stimulate their mind. STEM education is the future of the world. And mathematics is an important component of it. These games are less focused on who wins and more focused on teaching soft skills to kids such as collaboration and communication skills.
The aforementioned list includes competitions for various age groups and international students. So no matter where you are located, you can participate online. The certificates received are quite important for STEAM education summer camps and college admissions.
These contests are an excellent opportunity for math enthusiasts to interact and learn from each other. So what are you waiting for? Click on the links and sign up for a competition that suits you the most!