My Vote Gives Me Power (Preschoolers)
Have you and your children ever had to make a decision about something that was hard to agree on? Maybe you were debating what to watch on TV or whether to go to the beach or the park. How did you finally arrive at a decision? Voting is usually a fair process for decision-making. Voting usually involves a slip of paper on which that user’s preference is marked before it is put into a ballot box (of course, major elections use machines in the process, but we must keep things simple for young children!).
To make a ballot box, recycle a shoebox and decorate it with stars, stripes, elephants and donkeys (you might need to explain the animals and how they represent the two political parties). Cut a slit in the box lid and your ballot box is ready. Fill out your slip of paper and insert it into the box. Another fun way to vote is the “yes or no” link column. Write “yes” and “no” on an index card. Tape this to the wall. Give your child and members of the family strips of paper. Explain that one link represents one vote. Let your child and family link their “vote” under the YES or NO sign. Gather the group and present the voting question. Then have your family attach their links to the appropriate sign. No matter how you vote (ballot box or link) the votes must be counted and the decision announced.
I Continue to Make a Difference (Schoolchildren)
Involve your child in creating an “election wish tree”—a place where the members of your household can hang the wishes they have for our country. In sharing their wishes, children begin to understand what changes they have the power to make, whether it be keeping their environment litter-free or improving their behavior at school. A famous statement by Anne Frank sums up the spirit of optimism inherent in this idea: “How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment. We can start slowly changing the world. How lovely that everyone great and small can make a contribution.”
To make a wish tree, ask your child to find a bare tree or large branch and place it in a pot filled with pebbles. Cut out large stars from construction paper. Instruct your child and family members to write their wishes on the papers (or ask your littler children to tell you their wishes so you can write them down for them). Punch a hole in a tip of each star and tie them onto the tree using loops of yarn. Discuss these questions together: How can our wishes for our country come true? Is there anything a young person can do to help these wishes come true? Can you think of a political person who can help these wishes come true? Can you think of anyone who had a wish or a dream for our country and then helped make it come true?
A Patriotic Snack for All Ages
For a delicious treat in the spirit of Election Day, cut strawberries in half and line them in a dish to form a five-pointed star. Place a scoop of cottage cheese in the center and sprinkle this mound with fresh blueberries. Enjoy your nutritious and patriotic fruit salad, and then head to the polls!