Celebrating Election Day | Explaining to Children The Greatness of Our System

I think we can all agree that our election process is extremely important for our future generations to understand. It has become increasingly more apparent to me (or maybe it is just me) that there is a serious lack of understanding in how our election process works and what actual powers each branch has control of in government. I see article after article spreading untruths about how this system works. Now I believe that most moderates are sick of this race and are over the candidates. Who could blame them? It has become a circus – full of inappropriate behavior. How can we make sure this doesn’t continue to become the norm for our election process? We need to focus on education of our youth in order to improve our government for the future. What better way to educate our children on the election process than through celebration? Because believe it or not, when we get a new president, it is an exciting day and one that should be celebrated regardless of party.

Education of the Process: Now you could start with a whole history lesson on how our government was created and such – but I think it is better to start with the primaries and caucuses. This can really be tough for children to understand, so I think the more visuals, the better.

  • Here is a link to education world lesson plans for discussing the primaries (For grades 3-12)

  • Here is a link to some lesson plans from C-Span that come complete with diagrams, articles, and video evidence as well.

  • Here is another link on the primaries and caucuses for kids using BrainPop. I really like this educational tool because it makes things easier to understand for children of younger ages.

After discussing how the presidential candidates are chosen I would then discuss the campaign process and ultimately the elections. This is, in many cases, the easier and more fun part.

  • Here is another link for BrainPop lesson plans.

  • Here is a link to all of the PBS resources for the election process. I am always impressed by the sources the provide for free on all topics in an unbiased fashion.

  • Lastly, here is a great list of books for little kids

Crafts for Demonstration: Here are some great crafts, not only for celebration decorations, but also for helping kids to understand and participate in the election process. There were also lots of crafts listed in the former links – but thought I would add a few more in case you didn’t see what you were looking for in those lesson plans.

  • These election crafts are great for all ages and great for the celebration décor

Local Fieldtrips: I love a good field trip! I think it really brings everything into a reality. What’s exciting about the election process is field trips are not too hard to come by. Yes it may take some planning and time, but it is totally doable.

  • Voting: Not necessarily the easiest one (depending on age) but the cheapest is taking your children with you to vote. I went several times as a kid and remember how exciting it was to be a part of the process. It is important to prepare your children for your expectations of their behavior while you vote. It is also equally important to know what will be on the ballot in order to be as efficient as possible. Don’t be afraid to talk thru what you are doing while voting. After you have finished voting make sure you answer any questions and go over its importance.

  • Visiting Government Buildings: This may seem like the obvious choice but as a former high school history teacher it was astonishing how many of my students had never been to a single government building. Now you may not be able to make it to Washington DC and see our federal government buildings – but you can always check out the local government buildings. There is an election process for them as well and is oftentimes more important for our daily lives. Most government buildings I have seen are beautiful and easy to access – feel free to take a quick visit.

  • Going to a Debate or Campaign Speech: Although you may not be able to go to a presidential campaign or debate, there are several local ones which mimic the major campaigns. It is great to go see a live debate or campaign speech. Nothing will get your more excited about an upcoming election!

The Celebration: Ok – now that you have gone thru all of the education now is the time for the party. Regardless of who wins, the election process is exciting and should be celebrated. We should be thankful we have a governmental process where no single person has too much power and that our executive branch goes thru cycles. So how do you make this a celebration? Listed below you will find some of my favorite examples of how to celebrate this election with your children.

  • What is a party without a photo booth? It’s a great way to remember to take pictures and have keepsakes of your event.

  • Here are some great printables to help with decorating the party.

  • You also must feed the masses. Here is are some other links to some great food ideas. And any election themed food is really just American Party food so the options are endless!

So as much as we are all groaning about this election,  it is so extremely important that we understand as a nation how we got here and how to move forward. We can do better than the current candidates and its with better knowledge and more educated votes that we can make a change. So start with some background, fun activities, and maybe even a field trip! Then celebrate our fantastic process with a party not only to recognize all we have learned but to also welcome in the new president. Let’s face it – regardless of who wins, these are exciting times to be a part of the election process. People have been fighting and dying for this sole opportunity for centuries. We should never take this luxury for granted. So go out there and celebrate – and if the right candidate doesn’t win…well we can change that in the next four years!

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Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

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