I have a Constructive Playthings telephone booth in my classroom that we turn into a voting booth. I took a patriotic tablecloth and covered the four sides of the booth for privacy in voting (just like a regular voting booth would be covered.) The candidate’s pictures were posted on the wall on the inside of the phone booth with a brown lunch bag under each photo. The children were given a small piece of paper and instructed to place the paper in the bag under the picture of the candidate they would like to vote for. The children engaged in additional voting activities during the previous week (e.g. snack, a story for the day, etc.in to familiarize them with the voting process. We also created a simple red, white and blue “Uncle Sam” hat with the word “VOTE” written on the front as a reminder to the parents to exercise their right to vote.
With a national election looming, and children seeing parents in the voting booth, my 4 year olds are old enough to hold their own “election.” After discussing the voting process, why we do it, how it works, how votes are counted, etc., we’ll set up our own election. After the introduction of the “candidates”, my mom helper will support her candidate and I will support mine. After all the facts are in, the children will vote. Oh yea, the candidates are two kinds of cookies. Or you could use TV characters, other foods, candy, movie characters, etc. We will have a ballot box with a secret ballot and then count the votes. Of course we’ll have a celebration for the winner. We might make banners, etc. It should be fun and they can tell mom and dad about their voting day. I’ll make “I voted” stickers for them to wear home. That should stimulate a little conversation on the way home!