If there is one thing this election has been good for, other than decluttering your Facebook connections, it is having to answer difficult questions presented by your children. Unfortunately, I still don’t have a lot of great answers for why people would vote for a certain human cheese doodle. Questions about the election process, in general, are a little easier, though they sometimes challenge my ability to bring civics down to an understandable elementary-school level. I start talking about the electoral college and realize just how absurd and abstract this all sounds to a six-year-old.
So I started wondering how I could involve her in the process. Here are a few ideas:
Break out the crayons! Go print copies of this electoral college map. Let your kids predict the election today, and then tomorrow (or in real time if they are night owls) they can fill in the results on a separate map, and see how they compare.
270 To Win also has an online interactive version.
Visualize the results
Do you have a lego lover in your house? Do you feel like you have a million bricks waiting for your bare feet? If so, check out this idea.
Pull out your legos and designate a certain size to equal 1 electoral college vote. Divide your table into a republican section and a democrat section, and stack the bricks according to the results. It’s a great math excersize to go with the government lesson.
Print out these free Election Vocabulary Bingo cards and let the news coverage begin!
Education World also has a blank version where you can decide what words to include in the game.
After the kids are in bed, go ahead and break out the alcohol and play Election Night Bingo with this version. It would also be a good version for older kids (without the alcohol, of course!)
PBS Kids has free printables to allow kids to draw campaign posters for themselves, or whomever they think should be president. As you can see, Lorelei plans to be the first mermaid president. She dreams big.
Give the dolls a vote
Should she get to stay up an extra half-hour tonight? What’s for dessert, ice cream or brownies? Instead of a tea party, host a voting party! Get out all the Barbies and stuffed animals and Elsa dolls and let them vote on a series of ballot initiatives.
Even if you aren’t comfortable with the idea of discussing the partisan side of politics with your kids, each of these activities should still fit the bill. On the other hand, Lorelei will be voting for Hillary, “because Donald Trump is mean.”