The election is permeating all factions of our lives these days — even my conversations with the kids. They are becoming aware that something big is going on and have been asking questions. I have to admit that some of the conversations have been fun (and funny). I didn’t want to spend tons of time covering the election with kids so young, but I did want to give them a good overview of the process and what is going on.

As with any topic we are looking to study around here, I pulled out the picture books first.

A little campaign advice from family.

If I Ran for President is a good overview of the presidential election process. It begins with a candidate’s discernment process, continues through the primaries and campaign, and concludes with the inaguration. It is chock full of information about what the candidates do on a daily basis and information about the political process. The author also has a website where you can download companion lesson plans and activities for the book.

Vote! is another book that outlines the political process. In this book the office in question is a mayoral one, but I think the kids found this book even more engaging than the other. There are interesting tidbits on the history of voting, fundraising, and even a recount. The story is moved along by a candidate’s two dogs who lend a bit of levity to the book. The back of the book also includes a glossary, a timeline of voting rights, and a question and answer page about political parties. One note: the book describes America as a democracy and includes the term in the glossary. No mention is made of the fact that our government is actually a democratic-republic.

Attention last minute shoppers: both of these books are available on Kindle!

In addition to our two books, we had conversations about the responsibilities and perks of being president. They also made their own campaign posters and watched the free Brain Pop video on the elections.

Note John’s self-assurance in election and greatness. He went ahead and drew himself on currency.

I often find that my kids retain more when they have a game to play to help them cement the facts in their brains. In an effort to aid that, I created a game based on the electoral college for us to play.

You can download the game pieces here.
You can download the answer key here.

This is a quick and dirty game that prints out well in black-and-white. After printing, fold each sheet like a hotdog and then hold the paper up in the light to see the light gray cutting lines. After cutting, add a bit of glue between the layers to hold the playing cards together. These cards will expire after the current election, so I wouldn’t worry about laminating them.

A few options for game play:

Bring in the strategy of the electoral college. This will likely work best with older kids as I tried to make the questions harder for the states that have more electoral votes. Spread the cards out on the table state side up and let the two teams strategize. Will they go for lower point, therefore easier questions, or go for it all with a high-point, high-stakes state? Toss a coin to determine who goes first. That team chooses a state. If they answer the question correctly then they get the electoral votes for that state added to their score. If they are incorrect or can not answer then the other team has an opportunity to steal those votes. Teams have to reach 270 points to win.

Electoral college blind draw. Same rules as above except they choose the questions randomly from a bag.

The easier version. Play for one point per correct answer. With this method you can have has many players as you want and feel free to use the harder questions or toss them out based on the objectives you have covered in your studies.

The cooperative version. Let the kids work together. Do they know enough answers to get to 270 electoral votes as a team?

And don’t forget all the math involved in keeping score! If you find any errors or problems with these, please let me know. I would be happy to fix them.

Welcome Simple Homeschool readers and thanks so much for stopping by. It’s always fun to make new friends. Here are a few related posts you might enjoy:

Thankful for Fantastic November Books
Homeschooling Helps Page — includes links to Thanksgiving unit studies we have done
Playful US Geography for First Grade

Don’t forget to leave a comment linking back to your blog, so I can “meet” you too, and please consider this my invitation to you to subscribe via feed, email, Facebook, or Google Friend Connect in the sidebar over there. Would love to have you stick around. — Pam