Starting today, kids and big kids at heart can put their artistic skills to good use and build a ship for a good cause.

Carnival Cruise Lines is launching a “Build a Ship” contest that invites anyone 13 years or older to build a model Carnival ship out of everyday items and submit a photo of it to win a free Carnival cruise. The contest, which benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is the latest in a series of contests and other activities in anticipation of the May 1, 2011 launch of the line’s newest ship, Carnival Magic.

Participants are encouraged to put their thinking caps on and use their imagination to create their own custom-designed Carnival cruise ship. Whether it’s soda cans, leftover scraps of wood or cardboard boxes, there are no limits on what household materials can be utilized.

The winner will be chosen by an online vote open to the public from a predetermined selection of five finalists and will receive a seven-day Carnival Magic Caribbean cruise for four from Galveston, Texas, in an ocean view stateroom. Details and contest rules can be found on Carnival Magic’s microsite at www.carnivalmagic.com/contest. Carnival will donate $1 to St. Jude, up to $10,000, for each entry and vote, as well as for each Facebook fan who “likes” the contest.    

Once the ship model is complete, entrants are asked to snap a photo of their creation and upload it to www.carnivalmagic.com/contest with a title and a brief description of the materials used to build the model. Photos will be displayed in an online gallery on the Carnival Magic microsite.

Submissions can be entered now through April 6, 2011, and the winner will be announced April 26, 2011.