Monday, November 3, 2008

The upcoming elections and children

Today I am thinking about the elections that have already begun by early voting and will be decided tomorrow. I have been contemplating how to get my kids involved and help them learn about our Democracy within a Republic. I wanted to share a few ideas for getting your kids involved and letting them learn about the election process. Whether you homeschool your kids or not, you can play a role in educating them about our government. These ideas are presented with the homeschool family in mind but can be used by any family wanting to make the elections come alive to their children. I used some of these in the classroom when I was teaching. Some of these ideas are a bit late for this election but great to put away in your "election education" file.

Mapping The Results:
This idea is for most any school age kids. I actually remember doing this as a child during the Bush/Quayle elections. Get a blank map of The United States and a red and blue crayon for each child. You will have to give some explanation of the election process and then the kids can watch the results come in with you and color states their prospective colors. With older kids you can even have them make predictions as to how they think the states will go and then compare in the end to the actual map.

Mock Election:
Mock elections are so much fun. I would recommend this for upper elementary students and older but younger siblings can definitely join in. Create a position or office for which the kids can run. Let them make signs and hang them around the house. You can even have a "debate" or speeches by the candidates. Decorate a shoe box and cut a slit in the top to collect the votes. You can even count you votes and announce the "winner" during the elections to fill in the gaps of commercials or color commentaries that the kids aren't so interested in hearing.

Election Party:
I love to have theme parties! Let the kids color flags, make red, white, and blue, construction paper chains, and of course nothing makes a party like the snacks. The important thing is to let the kids be involved in creating, decorating, and baking for your party. Invite friends or have just your family. Either way they will remember it for years to come!

Research Candidates:
For your older students, give them the chance to research candidates both federal and local and see how they stand on the issues that are important to your family. You can even make a spread sheet for them to check or X issues according to the candidate's views. Most candidates have a blog or website that you can find by googling the candidate's name. This may turn out to be a good resource for you! Not only is this teaching research skills but also training them for the years when they will be voting.

Read About Elections From History:
Reading books about elections and past candidates is a great way to learn about the election process. It is a good lesson in History as well as civics. Kids love to hear what happened in the past and there are so many interesting things that have happened with different elections and the rules that govern them.

These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Have fun with the elections this year and DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!!

No comments:

Post a Comment