With the upcoming elections, I figured the best thing to teach my kids about the basics of voting, leadership qualities, and the job of a President would be to start with something fun and relatable. Then they’d have more background knowledge to better understand the national Presidential elections.
Most importantly, I want my kids to know that they have an amazing right as a citizen of the United States — the right to vote and pick the leadership governing our country. Not only is it a right, I want them to know it’s a responsibility.
So, we set up elections for our pumpkins to learn the basics of an election process. Vocabulary words are in bold.
Election Activity with Pumpkins
1. Pick 2-3 candidates to run for President of your family.
We used pumpkins. You could use your pets, dolls, or stuffed animals.
2. The candidates need a platform— something that they believe in strongly. Depending on their ages, you make up silly and simple platforms, or have your kids make them up. (Of course, feel free to be more realistic or complex.) Our pumpkins’ platforms are:
Lulu — she’s the cute one
Old Guy – he’s wise
Max – he was abducted by aliens so he knows how to protect our country from them
More realistic platform topics might include: education, foreign policy, taxes, and health care.
3. Now, discuss the job of President for the family. Something like:
Develop family budget.
Appoint Official Helpers.
Declare war on dirt, toys, and other “infestations”.
4. Divide up into supporters for each candidate. Make campaign signs, buttons, and/ or commercials.
5. Vote using a homemade ballot box. Printable voting ballots.
National and Local Elections
1. Talk about the 2 major political parties, Republican and Democrat, and each party’s candidates as well as the ballot issues.
Activity: Election Vocabulary Bingo
Activity: Read children’s books about elections and voting.
2. Learn about each candidate’s platform. Discuss as related to your family’s values.
Activity: Talk about television commercials, analyzing the differences between the positive and negative ads.
3. Learn what the President’s job is.
Activity: Older kids watch the Khan Academy video on the Electoral College.
. . .
I hope this election activity helps you as it did for my kids — at least get the gist of the system in this country and electing a good leader.
What are your doing already in your family to learn about the elections?