If your polling area has elections in 2023, Election Day is Tuesday, November 7, 2023.
Voting isn’t always fun. Sometimes it is downright stressful. However, I want my kids to know that I take my civic duty as a citizen seriously. Over the years, we have found some fun ways to prepare for and enjoy Election Day with kids. Getting kids involved in the whole voting process takes some of the stress off of me and teaches them a little about our civic duties.
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Make an Election Day Yard Sign
Cool Websites to Explore Together on (or before) Election Day
The web can be an overwhelming place when you are learning about politics and the election process. These are some of the best sites to help teach kids how to be good citizens and share your own beliefs as you work through them together:
- Your City’s website – If you need a sample copy of the ballot. Start with your City’s website. Once you know who the candidates are, you can can move on to the next site.
- Vote Smart – This is a nice site to hit with your older kids before election day. You can find bios, positions and speeches. You can even try out their “Vote Easy” tool, which walks you through a series of questions to help you pick your candidate.
- I Side With – Also has some quizzes you can take together to see who it pairs you with politically.
- iCivics – I mention this site in my Family Screen Time article as a fun way to play online as a family. It offers a variety of civic-minded games for grade school and up.
- The Living Room Candidate – Pop some popcorn and get in your best MST3K state of mind to watch a series of political commercials from the past.
- Brightly (Penguin Random House) offers election day printables and reading recommendations.
- PBS has a fun activity to turn voting into a math skills lesson, including this cute Sesame Street video where Abby & Elmo vote on their favorite snack.
Don’t forget to keep this matter of fact and reassure your children that disagreement is a sign of a healthy society. Disrespect and scare tactics are not. Point out both as you come across them.
Celebrate Past Presidents in NE Minneapolis
Did you know that NE Minneapolis has named its streets after the order of our presidents? I’ve been told they did this to help new immigrants pass their citizenship tests. We have a fun time pointing out the various presidents when out on walks. If you want to see them all in the proper order, Streets MN recommends walking east on Broadway beginning at Washington Street.
Go Together to Vote on Election Day
Kindergarten & Grade School Kids: Bringing your kids along to the polls with you, or filling out your mail-in ballot together, makes the process exciting and demonstrates its importance in your own life. Now that you’ve chosen your candidates, have your kids find where to vote and maybe navigate your GPS? A lot of polling places offer a kids election onsite – even if they held a classroom election, there is no rule they can’t fake-vote twice.
Toddler & Preschool Kids: Lines are longest on years with a presidential election, so get started by voting on non-presidential years and you’ll have a shorter wait for your little ones, but they can start to see the importance of the process even if they are not ready to participate.
If your polling place doesn’t offer a kids election, note that the Voters Bill of Rights states:
“You have the right to bring your minor children into the polling place and into the voting booth with you.”
To make it more fun, perhaps you can show kids of any age how to feed the ballot into the ballot box machine and let them choose where you will wear your “I Voted” sticker (or I just give mine to my kid). Some poll workers will give you an extra sticker for your helper.
Adult Kids: When your kids hit legal voting age (as some of the FFTC kids will this coming year), make a big deal about taking them to their first official election. Maybe take the morning off and go out for breakfast to celebrate “Good Citizen Day” afterwards.
Bookflix on Election Day
If you take advantage of your library’s free Bookflix subscription, you have three fiction/non-fiction book pairings to choose from on Election Day:
- Duck for President / Election Day
- Madam President /What Does A President Do?
- Otto Runs for President / Let’s Vote On It
Each of these pairings also include game-like lessons where kids can review vocabulary and practice comprehension skills.