My boys have been playing the game Four Square almost every day after school this year. I am fascinated to watch how they have adopted their own voting system to settle disputes on whether someone can stay on as king. Majority rules. End of discussion. And the game continues. Real-life learning for kids.
Reinforces my belief that it’s never too early to teach our children how and why we vote. Although I have written about voting with children in the past here, Election Day occurs on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November providing the perfect opportunity to share ideas and resources about the voting process with our children.
Kids can practice at home or at school so they will learn the value of independent thinking and making informed choices, and the importance of leadership.
Dinnertime can be a great place to talk. Ask your children these conversation starters:
What they would do if they were President/Leader of their house?
What they would do if they were President/Leader of their school?
What they would do if they were President/Leader of their city/town?
What they would do if they were President/Leader of their country?
This is an opportunity to teach our children about making choices, however difficult and living with the consequences. Give them examples of things in their everyday life to think about; like food, toys, parks, school, and books, and ask them to choose which things are more important if they can’t have or do them all. Ask them what will happen if they make specific choices like, “Eat candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner” or “How or who will fix the playground?” You never know where the discussion will lead. If your kids are less apt to talk at the table, check out the following books as a way to jump start a conversation about voting.
Grace for President is a fabulous picture book on the campaign process. It’s about a girl who is dismayed to learn there has never been a woman president and decides to run for school president. In this wonderful story, Grace learns what it takes to run a campaign, the importance of honesty, what the key issues are, and what it takes to be leader.
More great books about voting:
- Duck for President by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin
- Otto Runs For President by Rosemary Wells
- Letters from the Campaign Trail: LaRue for Mayor by Mark Teague
- Madam President by Lane Smith
More about voting:
- Watch You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown, a 24-minute episode about Linus running for school president and what happens when he starts making outlandish promises.
- Find out where to vote in Rhode Island by visiting the RI.gov website.
- At Blue State Coffee, customers (even kids) can vote every day to support one of five causes. Read more about this unusual coffee shop.
- Learn about Kids Voting USA. A national leader in civic education, Kids Voting USA (KVUSA) gets students involved and ready to be educated, engaged citizens. Students learn about democracy through a combination of classroom activities, family dialogue and an authentic voting experience.