This week, the 4th and 5th grade classes in my sons’ elementary school held a mock presidential election. In the weeks leading up to the election, the students were encouraged to educate themselves on the candidates running for office so they would make informed decisions when casting their votes. As media coverage has gotten more and more hostile and divisive, I find it incredibly difficult to expose my children to positive election news coverage that informs them of the choices before the American public. However, when my son came home from school after he voted and asked me if Trump “hated babies,” I knew I needed to take affirmative steps to get him informed! Here are a few kid-friendly sites I have found that make it easier to teach our children about the 2016 Presidential Election and the election process.
Kids.gov is the “official kids’ portal for the U.S. government.” It is divided into four categories: Kids (Grades K-5), Teens (Grades 6-8), Teachers and Parents. It also has a link to their YouTube Channel which currently features a video on how votes are counted in an election. The site features games, videos and interactive worksheets explaining the workings of the government.
Truth be told, the site is pretty no frills and not all that exciting. However, it is extremely informative. It was a great refresher for me and also gave me the tools to teach the basics of U.S. government to my children in a way that they understand. The site does not discuss the candidates but it does include links to learn about your individual state.
2. Scholastic News
Yes, this is the Scholastic of your childhood. Scholastic is a publisher of thousands of books and educational materials for school age children.
I like the Scholastic site. So did my kids. Visually, the site is appealing. It includes an election countdown, results of a student Scholastic vote, and stories by kid reporters, including the latest election news. The site also includes candidate profiles and lessons on the election process. Scholastic is unique because it is the only site I came across that provided information on Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, the Green Party and Libertarian Party nominees, respectively.
3. TIME for Kids
TIME for Kids is a weekly classroom news magazine sponsored by Time, Inc. It is very similar to the Scholastic site. It also features an opportunity for kids to vote, stories by kids reporters and candidate profiles. I like the profiles on Time better because they are more detailed. For that reason, they may be more appropriate for older children.
Although they don’t address the more controversial issues of the election, there are a few articles on TIME for Kids that tackle difficult topics that your children may have questions about like, “How possible is a Rigged Election?” The article is a fact-based discussion of voter fraud but it does mention Trump’s allegations of election tampering. I appreciate that Time doesn’t “dumb down” the election coverage which makes it a great spring board for discussing the election with your child/children.
4. PBSKids.org You Choose 2016
We are big fans of PBS Kids website in our house. The site has games and activities featuring your favorite characters from the television network. Their 2016 Campaign Coverage does not disappoint.
While it isn’t as comprehensive as TIME for Kids or Scholastic, it is a great resource for younger children. It’s simple interface and lively music made it attractive to my six year old almost immediately. It includes a section called Meet the Candidates which features basic information about the Democratic and Republican nominees. It also features a number of videos with a kid reporter named Presley who explains the basics of government and the election process. Kids can also create campaign posters and trading cards with past U.S. Presidents and their spouses.
About The Author
Faye McCray is an attorney by day and writer all the time. Her work has been featured on My Brown Baby, AfroPunk, AfroNews, For Harriet, Madame Noire, Black Girl Nerds, Black and Married with Kids, and other popular publications. Faye also has a number of short stories and a full length novel available for purchase on Amazon. Most importantly, Faye is a proud wife and mother to three beautiful and talented young boys who she is fiercely passionate about raising. You can find Faye on Twitter @fayewrites and on the web at fayemccray.com.