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10 Fun And Empowering Ways Kids Can Get Involved in Political Change in 2022

Toddlers, kiddos, and pre-teens — it's time to get pumped ... and get involved!

Daniel Fernandez

It was my man Thomas Mann who said, “Everything is political,” and if you think about it, he’s pretty spot on. From voting on what movie the family will watch tonight (sorry Dad, it’s gonna be Frozen 2 again) to kids asking parents for a little extra “stimulus” each month, just about everything we do is political. Now that we’ve established that politics play a pivotal role in our lives, here are some great ways to empower kids to get involved and start changing the world for good!

1. Get to Talking!

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Lisa5201 / Getty Images

Nothing gets kids less excited to learn about politics than hearing, “You just wouldn’t understand,” or, “This is just for grown-ups.” Next thing you know, your child is saying, “Whatever, I didn’t want to learn about politics anyway,” as they wipe the tears from their eyes and throw away their powdered wig.

Taking time to answer their questions, define unfamiliar terms, and research new topics as a family can make the whole subject feel way more accessible and way less intimidating. By starting the dialogue early in their lives, you may just be paving the way for a future president! 

2. Playtime!

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FCTRY

If you thought I was above using shiny things as an easy way of getting a kid’s attention, then I want to let you know that YOU THOUGHT WRONG, MY FRIEND.

Whether it’s playing with a doll, painting, or simply doing a puzzle together, playtime can be a fun and constructive opportunity to start conversations about people who have been a force for change in our world.

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Michelle with Peonies Paint-by-Number Kit

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eeBoo Women March! 500 Piece Round Puzzle

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3. Reading!

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Kokila

Reading about politics can feel like a chore, especially if all you have to work with are super dusty Encyclopedia Britannica volumes (achoo!) and history textbooks filled with big words you can’t define. Luckily, some pretty great authors have made it a point to make learning about politics way more fun for kids.

Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama

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Quarto Little People Big Dreams: Malala Yousafzai Book

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Quarto Little People Big Dreams: Kamala Harris Book

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Little People, BIG DREAMS: Martin Luther King Jr.

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4. Movie Night!

Movies are an entertaining way to learn about the history of our country and understand important issues.

And this isn’t just true for historical documentaries! Plenty of great animated movies have thoughtful and informative political themes, from Zootopia, which is about living in a multiracial society, to The Iron Giant, which addresses the topics of war and gun control, to Happy Feet, which has a powerful message about climate change and global warming.

From informative to sensational to inspirational, movies are a fantastic way for the whole family to engage with politics.

5. Cartoons!

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Andrewgenn / Getty Images

Political cartoons are cartoons that point to a specific topic or current event from an angle that you may not have considered before. If your child is more of a visual learner, then looking at political cartoons together on Cartoons for the Classroom, The Week, or as you read the morning paper can be way more impactful and fun than reading a book or hearing a lecture. 

As an engaging activity, pick an issue or a politician that your family cares about and work together to make your own political cartoon. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then political cartoons are probably worth a whole lot more! 

6. Speechwriting!

Speeches have a way of inspiring, calling to action, and empowering us to make a better future for ourselves and others.

From Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I have a dream,” to J.F.K.’s “Ask not what your country can do for you,” to Charlie Chaplin’s “We think too much and feel too little” (The Great Dictator is a must watch!), a powerful speech can get pretty close to pure magic.  

Share your favorite speeches with your child, or better yet, challenge your child to write their very own speech about how they would go about enacting the change they wish to see in the world! 

7. Student Government!

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NBC

If your child is passionate about causes and wants to make change happen, it can be a little frustrating for them to learn that a career in politics comes with some pretty steep age restrictions. If your kid’s school has a student government, encourage them to get involved! Help your kids craft their platform and slogan, then help them make buttons, stickers, and campaign posters.

Student governments are a great springboard into learning more about the political arena and process. Remember, just because you’ve gotta be at least 25 to run for congress doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start! 

8. Fundraising!

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FOX

When we find a cause or candidate that we care about, our first instinct is to help spread the word and offer our support, which is precisely where fundraising comes in!

From walking dogs to shoveling snow or cracking open that piggy bank, help your kids brainstorm different ways they can raise money to donate to a candidate or a cause they support. Though the days of lemonade stands may be long in the past, a kombucha stand doesn’t sound too far-fetched nowadays …

9. Take a trip to the polls!

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Democratic National Convention on Giphy

You can watch movies, read books, have discussions, and explain just how important voting is to your kids until the cows come home (BESSIE, PLEASE COME BACK, I MISS YOU), but there’s no substitute for leading by example. 

Even though kids may not be old enough to fill out their own ballot, taking your child to the polls to vote with you shows them just what it means to exercise their civic duty and be a model citizen. Plus, if you go to the voting booth together, you can get ice cream afterwards and take a trip to Camp. Frankly, there’s no better way of getting kids excited about political change than with toys and Rocky Road!

10. Continuing Education!

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SoulPancake on Giphy

Politics can be kinda like Groundhog day. Everybody cares A LOT for a brief period and then forgets about politics until the next election rolls around and the cycle repeats itself. The only solution to this loss of interest is continuing education!

Along with your local public library, there are tons of free online resources out there like: Time For Kids, Rock The Vote, or the Zinn Education Project to help you and your kids stay engaged.

Who knows? Before you know it, you may just see your kid on the campaign trail! 

First published January 2021, updated January 2022