Teaching Your Children About The 2016 Election

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. 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.

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.


1. Kids.gov

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 anMcCray_AuthorPhoto (1) attorney by day and writer all the time. Her work has been featured on My Brown Baby, AfroPunk, AfroNews, For HarrietMadame NoireBlack Girl NerdsBlack 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.

Living History: From the Black Panthers to Congress, Meet Bobby L. Rush

Congressman Bobby L. Rush has represented the 1st District of Illinois for over two decades. At almost 70, he has led a remarkable life full of activism and public service. Check out eight must know facts about this living legend.

Congressman Bobby L. Rush has represented the 1st District of Illinois for over two decades.  At almost 70, he has led a remarkable life full of activism and public service.  Check out eight must know facts about this living legend:

1. He co-founded the Illinois Black Panther Party in 1968.

While in the military and stationed in Chicago, Rush became a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  He participated in civil disobedience demonstrations in the South and upon his return to Chicago, he co-founded the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panthers at the request of Stokely Carmichael who was one of his mentors in SNCC.  One of Rush’s most notable recruits to the Panthers was Fred Hampton who at the time was the head of the Youth Division of the NAACP.  Hampton went on to become an influential activist and one of the most famous Black Panthers.  He was murdered by Chicago police during a raid on his apartment on December 4, 1969.

2. He helped develop the nation’s first mass testing program for sickle cell anemia.

When Mr. Rush was Defense Minister for the Illinois Black Panther Party, he also administered the Panther Party’s Free Breakfast Program for Children and ran a free medical clinic in Chicago.  One of the initiatives created by the clinic was a massive testing program for sickle cell anemia which was the the first of its kind in the United States.  Through these efforts, the organization also raised public awareness of sickle cell anemia’s impact on Black citizens in Chicago.

3. He is a military veteran.

In 1963, Mr. Rush enlisted in the United States Army directly out of high school and served in the Army until 1968 when he was honorably discharged.  Throughout his political career, he has sponsored and supported bills that would aid veterans and their families.

4. He lost a son to gun violence.

On October 18, 1999, Huey Rich, the son of Bobby L. Rush who was named after Huey P. Newton, was shot and killed as he was walking to his apartment in Chicago.  He was murdered by two men in an armed robbery.  Mr. Rush has six other children with his wife Carolyn.

5. He was the last person to beat Barack Obama in an election.

During the 2000 Democratic Primary, Rush was challenged by a young State Senator named Barack Obama.  As an incumbent, Rush had a clear advantage and won the contest by over 80% of the vote.  Eight years later, he endorsed that same young State Senator for President of the United States in 2008.

6. In honor of Trayvon Martin, he spoke before the House of Representatives while wearing a hoodie.

On Wednesday, March 28, 2012, one month after the murder of teenager Trayvon Martin, while speaking before the House of Representatives, Rush took off his suit jacket, pulled a gray hoodie on over his head and put on sunglasses stating, “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.” The teen was wearing a hoodie when we was murdered by George Zimmerman.  Rush went on to speak out against racial profiling and discrimination.  The House forbids its members from wearing hats, and Rush was called out of order and ultimately escorted from the hall. According to CNN, Rush said the purpose of putting on the hoodie was to send a message to young people, “to stand their ground, stand up and don’t stand down.”

7. He is a cancer survivor.

In 2008, Mr. Rush was diagnosed with a very rare form of salivary gland cancer.  A deep tumor was removed from his jaw and he went through months of a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.  When Mr. Rush was found to be cancer free, he went through speech and physical therapy.  His cancer scare prompted him to push for universal healthcare for all Americans.

8. He routinely wins reelection by over 70% of the vote.

Mr. Rush’s long history in Chicago of activism and public service has made him incredibly popular.  The predominately African American electorate consistently turns out for him every two years to re-elect him.  He has won each general election against Republican challengers from 1992 through 2014 with at least 73% of the vote going in his favor.


Information attained from:

“Rush, Bobby L.” http://www.blackpast.org/aah/rush-bobby-l-1946

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=R000515

John Mccormick, “A Father’s Anguished Journey”, Newsweek, published November 28, 1999, http://www.newsweek.com/fathers-anguished-journey-164318

Janny Scott, “In 2000, a Streetwise Veteran Schooled a Bold Young Obama”, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/us/politics/09obama.html?_r=0

Deirdre Walsh, “Lawmaker wearing hoodie removed from House floor”, http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/28/politics/congressman-hoodie/



About The Author

Rick McCray is a maRAMrried father of three amazing sons. He is also a proud graduate of Duke University where he holds a BA in History and African/African American History, and Howard University School of Law. He is also a regular commentator on the In The Black podcast.  Rick is passionate about our history and helping to educate our community concerning the great contributions of people of color to the world. You can find Rick on Twitter @RealRickMcCray.