This election in particular has been a tough one for me to wade through all the issues with my kids, so I’ve been getting creative with how I’m involving them in our family’s political discussions. I’ve been implementing Kristen and Liz’s great tips for talking politics with your children in a nasty election year, and I’m also planning to take mine with me when I vote so they can see firsthand what that experience is really like.
I’ve also been looking for some fun political activities for kids to help mine get a little involved and learn a thing or two about our election process. Also, ones that can help keep them entertained while we watch the election night results together.
Time to get out those red and blue markers, and have some fun with these printables, posters, and more.
Hold your own at-home election using these awesome free printable ballots and “I Voted” pins at Studio DIY. You can create a ballot box from an old shoebox, or even an entire voting booth out of a large cardboard box if you’re feeling particularly crafty. I love that this printable is a write-in ballot, so you can include any candidate you want on here: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or even Duck … for President.
Liz’s kids have been volunteering at campaign headquarters throughout the election, so we’re big fans of empowering our kids to have an opinion and get their voice out in support of their candidate…even if they can’t vote yet. These printable DIY campaign posters at PBS kids are a great place to start. Whether they hang this in their bedroom or post them all over your neighborhood, it gives them a chance to use their creativity to support their pick for President.
Obviously, the best place to go for great political insight is Schoolhouse Rock. Right? This video explaining the electoral college is the one I grew up on, and it still makes this fairly confusing process so much more clear to me. I mean, my kids.
If your older kids want to learn even more about the electoral college, the Does Your Vote Count? video at TED-Ed is a great resource. It digs a little deeper into the history of our election process, and even includes some graphics that might be more appealing to your older kids.
Once they’ve learned the basics of electoral votes, it’s time to start tallying! My kids will be helping me keep track of the results as they come in on this printable Electoral College map by Elizabeth Perry at Flickr. I like that they can practice their geography by finding states as they’re called, and work out their math by adding up the totals. Once a candidate passes 270 electoral votes…game over.
I love the idea of challenging my kids to think about what they’d do if they were president, and this “If I Were President” printable from Sandy Gangelosi is perfect for helping them think through some very serious issues, like what the world needs more of, and less of. It’s based on the poem “If I Were in Charge of the World” by Judith Viorst, with blanks where your child can fill in their own priorities. You can buy it as part of her complete President for a Day printable pack (probably best for teachers or others who work with big groups of kids) or hand your kids a blank piece of paper and see if they can create their own.
Kids can have so much fun filling out this Voting Rules! ballot from Treehouse Kid & Craft, and getting in on the voting action. If you live near Athens or Atlanta, you can visit their shop to vote for your favorite food and spirit animal. And for the rest of us who live outside of Georgia, click over to see where your kids can mail in their absentee ballots. I love how there are write-ins, too, because not every kid wants to ride a magic carpet to school.