Every election, we make sure to take the kids with us to vote. We want them to be a part of the process so when they turn 18, it’s second nature for them. This election year, they have become really involved. It’s hard not to be when it’s all over the television, ads on their iPad (yup), and they are talking about it at school.

I have had some really great conversations with my kids in the past few weeks. It’s interesting to see it through their eyes. They are listening and watching and it can be really eye opening.

Engage your kids in learning about the election this year! Don’t shy away from it. To get you started, here are 9  Election Education Activities to allow children to have fun while practicing math and English skills and learn about the United States’ democratic process at the same time.

9 Ways to Engage Kids in Learning about the Election

9-ways-to-engage-kids-in-learning-about-the-election

1.   Don’t argue, debate!–A light-hearted “formal” debate offers children the opportunity to analyze their opinions, organize thoughts, and speak in front of a group. Whether your family is debating whether or not to add a hamster or a puppy to the family, EducationWorld.com offers some great tips and ideas to get you started.

2.   Walk the footsteps of our nation’s leaders – Take a day trip to local historical sites, government buildings, and, homes of past Presidents. Many offer guided tours and have historical documents and artifacts on display. Living in Philadelphia, I have the  opportunity to visit where our nation first began! Visit the National Park Service’s National Historic Landmarks to scout out your local adventure.

3.   Vote for… dinner!– “Nominate” two dinner choices and explain that you will hold an election to determine the winner.  Make campaign posters, a ballot box, and paper ballots; count ballots to bring out math skills or introduce new vocabulary words such as nominate, election, and more.

4.   Start (Electoral) College early – Older students will most certainly review the Electoral College in the fall. To learn more about this complex system, visit the National Archives and Records Administration’s page on the U.S. Electoral College. Students can even try predicting who will win the next presidential election with the Electoral College Calculator.

5.   Climb the branches of government –Have your children research and create a visual representation of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government.  Use reference materials or other online resources to gather facts.

6.   Get presidential with poetry –Have children start with, “If I were President, I would…” and encourage them to fill in the rest with a paragraph or more (depending on the child’s age) about what they would strive for as President.  Children can even send their thoughts to the President by visiting the White House website.

7.   Learn about local officials – Have your child practice research skills and report writing when they write about a local official.  You can also take a short trip to your state Senator and/or Representatives district office so your child can ask questions of their staff, and gather information.

8.  Buy The Election Activity Book – Help children understand the election process (and get involved!) with these quick, easy, and engaging activities that teach about how we elect our leaders; the presidency; the rights and responsibilities of voting; the differences between local, state, and national government; and more. Includes a read-and-write mini-book, an election timeline, polling and graphing activities, and literature and web links.

9.   And, as always, read with your children–Libraries offer many children’s books about government, the election process, presidents, and more for parents and children to enjoy together.  Check out titles like Duck for President and others on the U.S. Senate’s kid’s bookshelf – a great resource for books about how government works, the constitution, and more.

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