Kindergarten students are usually very aware of what is going on in the world and Presidential election time is no exception. But how you talk about election day in kindergarten without getting all political and opening up the door to hearing what five-year-olds have heard about the candidates? So here are some ideas to help you plan some election activities for your week.
I always like to start with vocabulary. Words your kindergarteners should know are President, White House, election, vote, and informed decision. I really like the phrase informed decision because we want our students to understand that we are not just picking, we are thoughtfully deciding what we want to choose. These are all words the kids will hear throughout election week and so it’s a good place to start.
From there we do a little background building. I like to use actual books for this step of my lesson. There are many good books out there to talk about the election, but my new favorite one is this One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote by good old Dr. Seuss and friends. This book covers everything from how elections work to what happens if you are out of town during an election. It’s an information-packed book your students will love.
From there I like to talk about what it takes to be a president. We talk about some of the requirements to become president and we discuss some of the jobs and responsibilities he or she will have.
It’s alway fun to do some mock elections too. There truly is no better way to learn about elections than to experience one yourself right? The general consensus, and my person opinion, you don’t want to have the students vote on the actual election because they just don’t really understand. (We may do the writing activity with the candidates clipart at a different point, but it is a very open-ended activity). We start by registering to vote and will end with a fun little I VOTED necklace the kids can wear.
There are so many different ideas for different kinds of elections out there. Pick one that you like and I am sure your kids will love it.
So we think about our own thoughts and opinions and then we talk about it as a class. We will make a pros and cons chart so that way the students did some research so they can make an informed decision.
We vote and then tally the results as a class. This is a great opportunity to integrate some math as the students tally and then graph. We do they tallying as a class on the carpet – I will pull out one vote and we will make one tally mark altogether. This is a great opportunity to model tallying of bigger numbers so it fits perfectly with this time of year. From there I will model how to use the tallies to make a graph and send them on their way to do that portion of the activity.
It’s also fun to have the students experience running for an election, well on a kindergarten level. So we all fill out class applications, create posters and signs for a class president election we won’t actually have. I love this activity because it really opens up some conversation about behavior and expectations.
And Simply Kinder has you covered to teach all of this with our Election Day Unit for Kindergarten. (It will work for some preschools and first grades too).
Looking for some great short videos to show your class about the elections or presidents? Click here for the full list.
And for more great books about elections, see our must read list here: