This presidential election season has been nasty. We are all tired. So very tired. No matter what side you are on it feels like the longest campaign in the history of ever. As parents we never have time for tired. We still have to teach our kiddos and help them develop their skills as responsible citizens. Which means we have to find a way to engage them in a political event that most of us would like to avoid all together.
Today I’m sharing some of my election activities for children. I loved that my parents included me in their political discussions as a child and I’m hoping to share that love with Sylas K. Here are a few of our ways to make election time fun!
We love practice voting! Practice voting with friends and relatives. Favorite animals, favorite foods and favorite books are all good things to cast votes on. Remember majority rules. This is a great time to work on those losing skills. We can’t always get our way and we all still have to get along afterwards so this is a prime time to start teaching those lessons.
Election related books for children
Election related books for children are a great way to learn about the election process without exposing our kids to live media. I’m trying to keep Sylas K away from TV and streaming media about the election. It’s a sad day when you are afraid presidential candidates will say something that is inappropriate but it is what it is. Luckily, our public library has a great collection of election related books that have been so helpful and fun!
Here are links to a few of our favorite election related books. Amazon has a great assortment that are really affordable but like I said our library has a great collection so I’m sure you can find some great options there as well.
Election related games
We love board games almost as much as politics in this house. So I was thrilled to find the election board game! Unfortunately, Sylas K totally smokes me at this game and has become President four times so far. Maybe we need to have a discussion about how many terms he can serve so I have a chance at winning.
I have had President flash cards for quite awhile. I try to make a game out of using them. The older Sylas gets the more fun it is. The cards have interesting facts about each President and he seems to like that. I like that he is learning history in a fun way. The other night we invited Abe Lincoln to dinner and discussed his card and presidency throughout our meal.
Take them to the polls
Sylas has gone with me to the polls every single time I have voted. I think it is so important to show our children what voting really looks like. They hear and see adults spew their thoughts on candidates but rarely see how that talk is actually carried out. They need to see the act of voting not just the action of voicing our thoughts. If your children have school on election day consider advance voting at a time that works with their schedule.
There are so many local issues that seem to get forgotten during Presidential elections. Those local elections can have a big impact on our children. Make sure to talk with your children about the local issues as well. In our area education funding is a big issue. Sylas and I talk often about how important our schools are, where the money comes from for school and how voting is a part of ensuring education remains accessible for all students.
I’m saddened that this campaign has become so dramatic and negative. For some of our older children this will be the first election they will ever vote in and I think it may deter some of them from engaging in the process. For some of our younger children the fear based speech has left them frightened for themselves and their peers.
I try to remind myself daily that democracy is an action and it is a privilege. My hope is if we all try to engage our children while they are young, in a healthy way, it will remain.