Monday, October 26, 2015


Election Day is next Tuesday, November 3rd.  Here are some ideas to introduce children to a privilege that we have in our country. Explain that we are lucky to live in a democracy where every person gets to vote – and every vote matters! Tell the children they must be 18 to register as a voter, but you are going to have a “mock” (pretend) election in your classroom.

1st – Children must register to vote before the election. Let them sign their name on a sheet of paper and fill out a voter registration card. 

2nd – Let children help you decorate a voting booth and a ballot box. Remind them about the importance of a “secret ballot” so nobody knows how you voted and nobody can tell you what to do.
*A cardboard box set up on a table with one side cut off makes a perfect voting booth. A shoebox or cardboard box with a slit cut in the top will do for the ballot box.
3rd – Prepare a ballot with classroom activities children can vote on. You could have two books, two games, two songs, two art projects, etc. (Picture clues will help younger children with their selection.) Demonstrate how to mark their choice with an "X."

4th – On Tuesday choose three children at a time to “work” the polls. One child crosses off names on the voter registration sheet. One child stands at the voting booth and hands out ballots. A third child presides over the ballot box. 

After children have voted, let them make an “I Voted” badge from red, white, and blue paper.
5th – Count the votes and then read the book, sing the song, or play the game that won the most votes.   

Voting Sticks             
Here's another super simple idea that you can use throughout the year to empower children with making choices. First, each child will need to decorate a jumbo craft stick with their name. Second, you will need two cups or cans to hold the sticks when the children vote. Write options on index cards and tape them to the cups. (For example, if they were voting on a book you could write the names of the books and tape them ample, if they were voting on a book you could write the names of the books and tape them on the cups. If they were voting on a game they'd like to play you could write the names of the games on the cards.) One at a time children make their selection and place their stick in the cup. Which one do you think got the most votes? How can we tell for sure? Use a tally to record votes. Write the numerals under the tally marks. Introduce the inequality sign to show which is greater or less. I think I see some math standards here!!!
One thing I remember from my history of education class was that the purpose of schools in the United States was to “educate to perpetuate a democratic citizenry.” You can plant the seeds in your classroom every day by providing children with the opportunity to vote!