Election Day is November 3.
From the moment young learners become citizens of the world, they are absorbing everything around them. They may have heard you discussing what to have for dinner with a family member, or even talking about the election happening on November 3. “Social studies” is just a complicated way of saying “learning about people.” And as your child learns about the world their own pace, you can give them experiences context and meaning.
A little extra support can help your child discover what it means to be part of a community and the different ways they are capable of making a difference.
The Night Before Election Day
by Natasha Wing
Best for: ages 3-5
Yes! It’s almost here. And the big question is: Who will be our next president? Will our leader be a he or a she? A young citizen gives her take on politics and Election Day in this charming story (featuring a colorful sticker sheet!), told in the style of Clement C. Moore’s holiday poem.
I Voted: Making a Choice Makes a Difference
by Mark Shulman and Serge Bloch
Best for: ages 3-5
I Voted explains the concept of choosing, individually, and as a group, from making a simple choice: “Which do you like better, apples or oranges?”, to selecting a class pet, to even more complicated decisions, like electing community representatives.
Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, A Kitten, and 10,000 Miles
by Mara Rockcliff
Best for: ages 5-8
In April 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York City on a great adventure! In a little yellow car, they traveled with a teeny typewriter, a tiny sewing machine and a wee black kitten. But also, a very important message for Americans: Votes for Women!
V is for Voting
by Kate Farrell
Best for: ages infant – 4
V Is for Voting is an ABC book that introduces progressive families to concepts like social justice and civil rights and reminds readers that every vote counts!
Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America
by Deborah Diesen
Best for: ages 2-5
A right isn’t right
till it’s granted to all…
The founders of the United States declared that consent of the governed was a key part of their plan for the new nation. But for many years, only white men of means were allowed to vote. This unflinching and inspiring history of voting rights looks back at the activists who answered equality’s call, working tirelessly to secure the right for all to vote, and it also looks forward to the future and the work that still needs to be done.
Take your little one with you when you go vote.
There’s no better way to show the value of voting to little learners than to lead by example. So, next time you vote in a local or national election, take your little one along with you! Talk about what it means to be involved in how the choices that those in charge are making. Optional: Take a photo together and share it on social media using #kidstothepolls
Hold an in-home election.
Give the empty box of tissues a new life! Create a ballot and show kids how their vote counts when it comes to making everyday decisions. What’s for dinner? What movie should we watch? What game will we play? Next, discuss how adults get to vote for the policies that the government makes. Lastly, explain how some groups of people had to fight for their right to make their voice be heard.
Have a sash- and sign-making party.
Sashes were worn for rallies and parades by supporters of woman suffrage. Make a “Votes for Women” sash or a sign with your child using paper, markers, glue and other craft supplies. After you make the sash and signs, talk about what it means to be an activist. Then, have your own suffrage parade in your home!
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Parts of this post were originally published in an earlier post on brighterfuturesirndiana.org and written by Indiana Humanities, a statewide nonprofit which connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. As a convener, leader and partner, Indiana Humanities promotes the public humanities and engages Indiana’s community of minds to create stronger, more vibrant communities. Learn more at www.indianahumanities.org.