Stuff We Like: Politics for Kids
While waiting in line at the polls yesterday, I noticed that many of my neighbors were well under the voting age. The little one right behind me, a diaper-clad tot who threw a few inquisitive glances my way from her mom’s arms, brought back my first experience with voting. I can still clearly recall toddling alongside my dad at our tiny town hall as he waited in line to vote. And while I might not (okay, I definitely don’t) remember who was on the ballot, I vividly remember the feeling that we were doing something important and exciting — it’s the fuzzy feeling that comes back to me all these years later, each time I’m about to cast my vote.
Whether my neighbors in line yesterday brought their kids along for convenience or with a purpose in mind, I’m glad they were there. I hope looking back they remember that same feeling of empowerment and that it drives them to the polls once they turn 18. Of course, raising a responsible citizen takes more than a family outing to the polls every four years. Luckily, we can help you fill the time in between: Read some advice from local experts on how to talk to your kids about political issues, and check out the following list of products and sites that help make politics more fun for your little ones:
Encourage kids to keep up on current events by getting them a subscription to an age-appropriate magazine or website like Time for Kids, which covers a wide range of real-world topics through a kid-eye lens. The site features a visually exciting design with bright primary colors, eye-catching photos, and interesting videos. Subscribers can also access worksheets, quizzes, and homework help. Young members are encouraged to apply for reporter positions in their areas of interest.
Presidents Were Kids Once, Too
America Comes Alive!, a history-focused site created by former Westchester resident and mom-of-three Kate Kelly, features a section called Growing Up to Be President. Here, kids can learn what key U.S. presidents were like when they were their age. Kids might relate to Teddy Roosevelt, who had asthma as a child, or Dwight Eisenhower, who grew up with six brothers. Also check out: Top 10 Interesting Facts About American Presidents
Founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2009, iCivics.org is a site with a mission to teach the next generation about our government and nudge them into knowledgeable, engaged citizens. Through 20 FREE games, young students can learn about the different branches of government, the Constitution, foreign policy, and more. By signing up for the site (also free), kids can save their games, unlock achievements, and compete with their friends by posting to their high scores to leaderboards.
The new book Roger Nix, President at Six captures the spirit of the election year with its take-a-stand verse and kid-at-heart message. When curmudgeon Robert Theodore Plee decides to run for president, he vows to get the country back on track by shutting down the schools and putting children to work. The news doesn’t sit well with 6-year-old daydreamer Roger Nix (or his teacher, kindergarten class, and a few apt imaginary friends, for that matter), so the whip-smart boy takes action and puts his name on the ballot. Author Nick Dazé says he penned the 32-page book to show kids that “changing the world isn’t just for adults.” (Three Bean Press; $17.95)