With the 2012 presidential election just weeks away, there's no better time to teach our children about the politics of our nation's past and future. Looking for the right teaching tools to help you discuss this important topic? We've rounded up several of the best ideas and resources the web has to offer!

Online Election Resources and Activities

  • Encourage children to understand the basic principles of voting and elections with the many resources available on USA.gov. Topics include: Election History, Electoral College, Educational Materials, and more.
     
  • Visit TIME For Kids, which features comprehensive election coverage that is specifically geared toward younger audiences.
     
  • At Apples 4 the Teacher, you'll find Election Day coloring pages and worksheets that are perfect for introducing younger children to the principles of democracy.
     
  • Summer may be over, but this article on 10 Election Education Activities for Summer Learning Fun still offers lots ideas for getting your whole family involved in learning about the election.
     
  • Reading is always educational, so be sure to check out this list of 28 children's books about elections that can be read alone or aloud.

Ideas for Project-Based Learning

Projects designed to improve critical thinking skills are an excellent choice for students who already understand the basics of democracy and elections. Ideas include:

  • Discuss successful campaign ads and slogans from past presidential election, and then gather materials so your kids can create their own.
     
  • Encourage students in grades K-12 to compete in the Engage in Democracy 2012 Student Journalism Challenge by creating a video focusing on a key election topic.
     
  • Read about the history of the women and the vote, and then research prominent female leaders. Discuss Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign, and try to identify rising female politicians who could become presidential contenders in 2016.
     
  • Scholastic publishes election-themed issues of its educational magazines and skills books — choose from the appropriate age category and order yours today.
     
  • Watch one of the presidential debates as a family, and then host your own!

Take advantage of this teachable moment in our nation's history to ensure that your children understand how presidential elections work and why they matter. Because no matter which candidate wins the election, we as parents can't lose when we make education and learning one of our top priorities.