Have Fun Teaching Your Kids About Elections with These Easy Printables
When I was a kid my mom would work the polls during every election. Back in those days, voting polls were set up at our local schools. My mom was one of the people who would check IDs and verify voter registration. She loved the job and made a nice little chunk of change for a day’s work. When Iris was a baby, I remember taking her to the polls with me, wrangling her in the little booth as I cast my vote. I was so disappointed when we moved to Washington where all voting is done by mail. No lining up and showing my kids democracy in action. The trade-off, I suppose, is voting in front of them the kitchen table…
I think all of us can agree that teaching our kids about how elections work and the value of voting is important. The hard part, figuring out how to teach kids about voting and elections. Because let’s face it, they are complicated…I have put together this cool unit packed full of election activities, games, and information.
Who Can Vote? Who Can Be President?
My election unit starts out with the basics. Who exactly can vote? My kids found it amusing that for many years I was the only one in the house who could vote because their father was not a US citizen. This unit spells out all the qualifications to vote, who are exempted, and a few notes about women not being allowed to vote for much of history! Each page is designed with information broken down into tiny pieces so kids don’t get overwhelmed.
How Does the Electoral College Work?
Explaining the Electoral College to kids can be complicated; especially considering that many adults don’t understand how it works. I break the process down to the basic hows and whys and include an electoral college map to show exactly how many votes each state gets. This map can also be used on election night to track which candidate gets each state. I recommend having one copy for each child and having them color each state won by a Republican red and a Democrat blue.
There is also a page explaining the three branches of government and why the president can just do whatever he wants.
Host Your Own Election Night
There is no better way to get your kids excited about elections than to host your own election. My kit includes a sample ballot as well as blank ballots so you can choose your issues and vote! I have done this with my kids in the past where we have voted on what to have for dinner, what to have for dessert, and what movie to watch.
I have also included fun cutout I Voted stickers the kids can tape to their shirts.
Election Night Bingo
This election unit includes three different bingo pages. Print these out and play bingo on election night as you track the results (with your electoral college map).
This Election Unit is perfect for kids from 3-6th grade, but can also be used for older and young kids. There is a page of resources and links at the end in case you’d like to continue learning with your kids.
More Resources for Learning About Our Government