Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Election games

With only a few weeks left until the presidential election, it's not just adults paying attention to politics. Even though kids can't vote, they are learning a lot about presidential politics from their teachers and classmates. I hear lots of buzz around the library from the kids, regarding the candidates and their views! Getting kids involved in the election process is a good way to help them become concerned, well-informed voters when they get older.

School Library Journal recently published an article highlighting some websites that can get kids learning about politics in fun ways. My two favorites are games that would be appropriate for kids in upper elementary grades and older. They are: (click on the title for a link to the site)

Budget Hero: This game allows players to adjust spending in areas such as defense, healthcare, and social security, all the while keeping an eye on the deficit. It teaches kids that there is a consequence for every action taken by the politicians, and that the U.S. budget is a complex balancing act. Take a look at the game- it's a lot more fun than I make it sound!

eLECTIONS: This game is modeled after the game "Life." It has a board game format, where players take turns with the spinner, and move the number of steps the spinner directs them to. The game can be played between two or three players, with one of the players being the computer if desired. Players have to make decisions about which states to campaign in, and what fundraisers and media events they should attend.

If you have a politically-minded kid in your household, they should enjoy these fun, challenging games. And the best part- they're online and free!

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