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October 11, 2012

Electioneering at your kitchen table: what are you teaching the kids?

By Jessica Kelmon, Associate Editor

Raise your hand if you can explain the electoral college to your curious 7-year-old.

We tried this at our GreatSchools laboratory (aka on our own children at home) and quickly figured out how tough it was.  

How do you teach your kids about something you don’t understand all that well yourself? That’s where we aimed to help. Keeping in mind that we want kids to be engaged, not glazed, we envision great fun and election education all wrapped up in a series of activities that would work for a range of kids (and might even teach us grown ups a thing or two.)

A virtual scavenger hunt!

Back at the drawing board, we mapped a plan to create something fun and useful.  Entertaining and educational.

Here’s what we did:

  • Because kids think paperwork is fascinating and fun, we let them register to vote.
  • Because there really are words your child needs to learn, we made a fill-in-the-blanks story.
  • Because we think all kids should think about being president if that’s their dream, we have silly speech-writing, creative poster-making, and inspirational White House design activities.

And because the best way to understand something is to do it yourself, we include a ballot so your child can vote.

How you use these materials is up to you. But try the activities with your child, share them with your child’s teacher, and tell us whether you think we helped turn your curious grade schooler into a well-informed, thoughtful, future voter. 

Download the election booklet here or see it here.



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Has no one popped in a DVD of School House Rock? They explain everything, set to song. My kids could multiply *and* understand everything from manifest destiny to the electoral college by second grade.

Choosing the best topic to teach to children is definitely a daunting task. You have to consider a lot of thing here since it is very delicate. Remember topics like electioneering should be properly conveyed to youngsters in a way that they would understand it on their own level.

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