Raising your little voters
After all the primaries, all the commercials and all the hype, we’re still about a month away from the day that we will elect a new president. I know some folks have already cast their ballots through absentee or early voting. But my husband and I are a little more old school. We like to go to the polls and we take the kids with us.
They get a chance to see democracy in action, so to speak. Just last year, our sons got a lesson on the touch screen machine (those aren’t used anymore) and they voted for George Washington. The poll workers are always really nice and they definitely make sure to give the boys the cool “I Voted” stickers as we are leaving.
So maybe you are trying to decide how to get your kids involved in this thing we call democracy. Whether you lean to the left, right or have a more independent streak, here are some fun ideas for you.
To let your children hear from the candidates themselves, check out the latest Nick News With Linda Ellerbee: Kids Pick the President special airing at 9 p.m. Sunday. That may be a little too late for some so it might be a good idea to set up the Tivo. Presidential hopefuls Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama will answer questions that have been submitted by kids that touch on a wide range of topics: health insurance, immigration, the war in Iraq and global warming. And following the show, youngsters can go online to Nickelodeon and “vote” for their candidate Sunday though Oct. 20. The winner will be announced at 8 p.m. Oct. 20.
Now I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was to wake up on Saturday mornings and watch cartoons. And that also mean enjoying the shorts in between the cartoons, School House Rock! Now you can rock out with your kids to I’m Just a Bill, which tells the story of how a bill becomes a law. It also includes Conjunction Junction, Interjections and Three is a Magic Number. We found the DVD on Amazon for $14.99.
A PBS Kids Web site called The Democracy Project lets kids imagine what it is like to be president for a day, step inside the voting booth and take a look at how government affects them. It’s always a good idea to check out the site first before you let your child scroll around on it. This one gets our vote for easy explanations and fun graphics.
If you think your kiddo would make a great president some day, check out the cute “Me for President” t-shirts at Chasing Fireflies. And they were regularly $39 but now are on sale for $19.99. This is a great site for all kinds of fun kids clothes and costumes. In fact, this could be your kid's costume!
And if you want to have a little more Halloween fun with your kids –- and wear your red or blue on your pumpkin -- check out these political designs. Too much fun.
Of course, nothing beats a good book to teach your kids about the election process. Check out these kids' books, all of them just right to help you explain the presidential race to your wee ones.
-- Sherry Robinson
[Kids Voting photo -- Times files; Obama/McCain photo -- Getty Images]