As much as I love exercising my right to vote, the slew of negative campaign ads and mailers always makes me cringe. As a parent who wants to teach my kiddos about the election process, and their inalienable right to vote (they’ll be 18 someday…right?) it’s tough to engage them when they are exposed to the less attractive side of election season.
Over the years, I’ve come up with some ideas to make election season fun and relatable for the kids:
- Have your own mock election about a favorite family topic, like food, toys, or sports: I borrowed and modified this idea from the mock election held 2 years ago at the kids’ school. Last week, we had a breakfast-time vote: sesame vs. cinnamon raisin bagels. Each kid took a side, presented their arguments, and we all cast our secret ballots. Sesame won by a landslide.
- Make yard signs: My daughter and husband spent hours during the 2016 campaign season working on yard signs for their favorite candidates. For your budding artist, there’s nothing better than a big blank poster board and a bunch of paints and markers. The kids got so into the campaign signs that they expanded to chalk art campaign signs on our driveway. At the end, the whole neighborhood gets to see their beautiful artwork, and the kids feel like they are contributing to election efforts.
- DIY American flag crafts: I don’t know what it is about red, white and blue, but these colors get just about everyone into the Election Day spirit. And they’re fun to create! Check out these cute ideas from I Heart Crafty Things.
- Take your kids with you: My kids go with me to the primary and general elections…every time. They get an “I Voted” sticker and their 2 minutes of fame while the election officials make a big deal out of them being there. What’s not to love about that?
- Talk to your kids about being president: My son tells me regularly that he would ban school if he were president, and it doesn’t bother me anymore. Instead of getting into a discussion about why he doesn’t want to go to school, I turn the conversation toward how he would have to pass a bill, then run it through Congress to close down all schools. We even watched the Schoolhouse Rock I’m Just a Bill clip last week. I’m waiting for him to figure out that he’s learning something from these conversations.
Happy Election Day 2018!