Teachable moments happen every day. From learning to tie their shoes to figuring out how to measure liquid ingredients for a cake mix, our kids have countless chances to learn at home. But this year, we have a huge learning opportunity that many parents miss: the presidential election.
It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you’re on. Learning about how our government works and why we elect a president is an extremely important part of our child’s education. If your child’s school isn’t teaching about the electoral process – or even if they are – there is no reason why you can’t supplement that instruction with a few activities and resources of your own! Who knows? You might even learn something yourself along the way.
Here are five of our favorite resources for kids…
Created just for kids, Scholastic’s site on the election introduces children to this year’s candidates, as well as the electoral process through games, maps, videos, polls, and more. In addition, the site offers viewers the opportunity to learn election vocabulary and the timeline for this year. Learn about the many roles our commander-in-chief must play, then cast your vote on whether or not you would want to be president!
Kids can learn about the candidates, participate in the Sticker Race, apply to be president, or create their own campaign poster. The graphics on this site are well done and very kid-friendly. It also has an interactive section that lets students explore how the government works for them. Our favorite part, though, may be the Presidential Trading Cards! (Really. They’re hilarious!) Best suited for elementary-aged children.
Another great site, Elections for Kids includes lesson plans and free downloads, too. Readers can print up their own ballots and voter registration cards. Teachers and students can check in each week to participate in a new voting poll, and submit their own votes. You can also design your own campaign button using their printable template.
This video is one of the best guides to explaining the electoral process so that everyone can understand. The visual components are great for helping children (and adults) really comprehend how it all works. Take a look…
The Election Activity Book: Dozens of Activities That Help Kids Learn About Voting, Campaigns, Our Government, Presidents, and More by Karen Baicker includes 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 write & read mini-book, election time line, polling and graphing activities, updated and revised literature links and Web site connections, and a BIG, colorful poetry poster! For use with Grades 1-3.
Now, who’s ready to vote?
Monica Olivera Hazelton, NBC Latino contributor and the founder and publisher of MommyMaestra.com, a site for Latino families that homeschool, as well as families with children in a traditional school setting who want to take a more active role in their children’s education. She is the 2011 winner of the “Best Latina Education Blogger” award by LATISM.