We know kids are awesome, amazing, and astonishingly capable. Yet, the entries in the Let Grow Independence Challenge still impressed and surprised us. Through essay, photo, and video entries, kids all over the country showed how they're stepping up their independence during this unprecedented time. Here are the top contest winners of the independence challenge. The grand prize winner will receive a $500 gift card, and six runners-up will each receive a $100 gift card.
Thanks to all the incredible kids who entered this independence challenge contest. We know when adults step back, kids step up. And this is exactly the kind of thing we need to celebrate right now. Check out the video of some of the entries below.
If you want to keep encouraging your own kids to step up and be independent, get our free Independence Kit.
Grand Prize Winner of the Independence Challenge
Kingsley conquers her entire day in video.
In this essay, Sable shows how she overcomes anxiety by figuring things out on her own.
“Being independent is like getting a power-up in a video game or winning a prize at the claw machine," Sable writes. Her entire essay is wonderful, and you can check it out here.
Yug cooks for himself and his brother, as he explains in his essay.
Yug's current goal is to be able to crack an egg on his own, right over the pan. "Because you can get burned the first time you do it," he writes in his essay. "I was burned twice." He's currently cracking his eggs in a measuring cup, but he's determined to get to the next level. He's also making omelets, guacamole, and snacks for his little brother. He writes, "I think I can teach people how to cook food now. It's like I am a mom. Actually I am dad. I love being independent. It makes me feel happy!" Here's Yug's essay in full.
This photo shows how Mila steps up while her dad is overseas in the independence challenge.
"I have a new baby brother, and my mom is breastfeeding him," Mila Abbas writes. "I want to make sure mom and baby get the best nutrition, so I make breakfast for my mom every day." Mila's dad is stuck overseas because of COVID-19, and she said she can't wait for him to come home so she can make healthy meals for him, too.
In her essay for the independence challenge, Alia figures out that growing up isn't so bad after all.
“Now I practice doing things on my own and figuring things out on my own," Alia Lanier writes in her award-winning essay. Alia says she used to rely on her mom for everything, but now she's doing so many things on her own for the first time. Check out her amazing essay in its entirety.
Alice masters the stove at the age of 7 in this independence challenge video.
“It’s so accomplishing to think I made my own food," says 7-year-old Alice Holmes. "I learned how to make my own food because my parents take forever. To me, it even tastes better than when mom and dad make my food." The full video of her making toad in the hole (she prefers to call it frog in a teacup) is right here.
This photo for the independence challenge shows Kylie learning how to be a problem-solver.
“She saw the check engine light come on and wondered what was all under the hood," writes Kylie Thurman's mom. She says she learned how to check the oil and other car basics at Kylie's age, and she's glad her daughter's learning, too.
Plus check out these contest honorable mentions!
We had so many great entries from this contest, making it really hard to pick the winners. Here are a few more we loved.
Kira has been helping more and more in the kitchen, and she’s excellent at chopping up veggies! -Laura, Kira’s mom
The toilet fill valve needed to be replaced and my dad couldn't do it bc he just had back surgery, so I learned how! -Noah
His mother has always wanted a Little Free Library. With time on his hands now, he has drawn up plans and started work to build it for her and get it placed in the neighborhood. -Chris
She has started making masks and donating them to the local senior center. -Christina, Diya’s mom
There's a whole world of possibilities if you're willing to take the time to look for them. -Aidan
Since my grandpa can not go out and get a haircut, I decided to do it for him. At first he was a little nervous but then when he saw the result, he loved it. He told me that the next time he needs a haircut, I can do it. -Angelina
Julian and Lily, 11 and 8
Julian and Lily decided to clean out our “junk room” and turn it into their very own greenhouse. They did all the work themselves from cleaning it out, finding pots, soil and seeds, and doing the planting and watering. -Debbie, Julia and Lily's mom
I played mancala online and I got the idea of making my own real life board. My mom has been teaching me woodworking for a while, and this time I wanted to do it all by myself. I sawed, drilled, sanded, and stained all on my own. And then I taught my brother how to play the game. -Lydia
Since we haven't been able to find pasta in the store, we decided to make our own. My 8-year-old, Katie, has easily mastered the process on her own. -Aimee, Katie's mom
Owen is hesitant to interact with his younger brother, who is nonverbal and has multiple disabilities (and a great smile). While walking recently at a nearby state park, he asked if he could have a turn pushing the stroller and quickly gave himself and his little brother quite a thrill! -Gary, Owen's dad
COVID-19 has played a major role in my life because it changed me from a lazy, not so active, and dependent person to an independent, self sufficient, and pretty active human being. -Aditya
I am strong and fast, and I don't need to be at school or looking at a screen to learn or have fun. -Jude
Quarantine has allowed me to explore my interests like national parks, gardening, and math. -Delia
Nicholas is Making Sunday’s dinner with his little brother, Nehemiah. -Maya, Nicholas' mom
Abel decided to make a falling down shack into a place to hang out when things are better. He had zero budget. A lot of bees. A helpful sister. No parental advice or guidance. -Adam
Marie makes me coffee every morning, she does laundry, she manages our dog on her own, and she keeps herself entertained. -Erika, Marie's mom
Abby girl has set out to hike as many miles as possible on her own two feet since day one of the crisis. -Erica, Abby's mom
Phoenix is currently helping his dad take the spare parts off a “parts” car to restore a 1959 Edsel Villager. -Melissa, Phoenix's mom
Cambrie did great making hot dogs for the whole family. Up until now the stove has been off limits, but how is she going to learn and grow? -Allison, Cambrie’s mom
Alice and Roz, 5 and 6
Alice and Roz are learning to plant, nurture, and care for their own plants. They love watching them grow into food! -Nicole, Alice and Roz's mom
This is me mowing the lawn for the first time ever. It was very difficult, but I still persevered. -Laura
Montana is stepping up to some of the tasks around the homestead, like chopping wood and building a fire in the woodstove, all by himself. -Keeth, Montana’s dad
The kids designed and built a brick stove in the backyard! They cooked lunch and dinner over it for the family. -Noreen