Google's Doodle contest for kids reveals top 5 finalists

The national competition for US students in grades K-12 sees references to climate change, health care and magic kites.

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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google doodle finalist

Grade 6-7 finalist Christelle Matildo's doodle touches on climate change and diversity, among other things.

Christelle Matildo/Google

Magic kites, space travel, going green, comic books, farming and family love -- Google has revealed the top five finalists in its National Doodle for Google children's competition, and their reworked Google logos put a creative spin on these topics and more.

Google Doodles are temporary versions of the tech company's logo, which periodically show up on its much-visited search page and honor holidays and historic occasions while bolstering the Google brand. This month, the company's been celebrating the Women's World Cup, 50 years of gay pride, Father's Day and even the creation of falafel.

google doodle georgia

Arantza Peña Popo, grade 10-12 finalist, offers up this representation of a daughter returning a big favor and growing up to care for her mother.

Arantza Peña Popo/Google

The National Doodle for Google contest started in 2008, and the theme of this year's competition is "When I grow up, I hope...." Students in grades K-12 from all over the US submitted reworked Google logos representing their dreams.

Natalia Pepe of Connecticut, the finalist in the K-3 group, said she hopes to see more farms for growing our own food and helping save the planet. Puerto Rico's Amadys López Velásquez, the finalist in the 4-5 grade group, delivered a doodle that shows a magic kite. The kite turns adults into children so they can use their imagination without limits and their hearts "without problems of adults."

Christelle Matildo of Texas, the finalist for grades 6-7, addresses climate change, mutual understanding among people and better medicine through tech. New Jersey's Jeremy Henskens, grade 8-9 finalist, wants to be a cartoonist and turned in a suitably panel-filled and action-packed doodle.

And the doodle from grade 10-12 finalist Arantza Peña Popo of Georgia features a soulful painting that shows, in her words, "a framed picture of my mother carrying me as a baby (a real picture in my house) and below the picture is me, caring for her when she's older in the future." 

Those five are the national finalists, culled from the finalists from every US state and territory. Judging thus far has involved the public, professional Google Doodlers and guest judges and is based on artistic merit, creativity and theme communication. A panel of Google execs will anoint one of the five above finalists the overall winner, with prizes including a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 tech package for a school or nonprofit. And of course the winning doodle will grace Google's search page.

Google says the kids' doodles represent the hopes of not only individuals, but also "this next generation."

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Our Favorite Google Doodles Through the Years

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