It’s unseasonably cold in the Twin Cities today. The VERY chilly breeze blew in a thick fog, the dog is back to curling up under the blanket on my bed, and I’ve just stuffed the fireplace with logs for tonight. Leaves are beginning to turn, kids are back in school(-ish) and somewhere beyond the pea-soup clouds, election day looms in the not-at-all-distant future.
With all the constant pressures of this season, it seemed important to rediscover & reclaim some of the fun of the voting process. I have fond memories of helping my dad prepare for class elections back when he was a sixth-grade teacher and I was the tiniest of biscuits – cutting apart paper ballots, making the ballot box, and decorating the cardboard polling station display board, while he eagerly explained how it would all work on election day.
I also remember how incredibly empowering it felt as a kid to simply GET a VOTE (when it came to anything). To honor and foster the excitement that comes with exercising the right to make our opinions count, I designed this little election kit that kids, parents, or teachers can use to put ANYTHING to a vote.
Can you use this to elect a class president? FOR SURE. But you can also print it out to vote on classicly heated issues like, “shaved or grated parmesan cheese..?”. Yes, you can put anything up for a vote with this set – which movie to stream next, what to have for dinner, what to name the new puppy, what to name the new baby…
From the ballots to the box, the election day decor, even buttons & pins (flair for the people!) our kit has everything your little campaign organizers need to run their own elections. And while they’re prepping their own setup, YOU can drop in with some serious election knowledge. Start a discussion, talk about how voting happens here, why it’s part of our civic duty, and what that even means (I have helpful links for you below!).
There are tons of opportunities for coloring, decorating, and adding general pizzazz to our printable election supplies, so kids can rock the vote in their own style.
Our specially-designed ballots are set up as PDF forms, making them incredibly easy to customize and fill in a minute, but can also just be printed and filled out by hand. For a bright set of ballots and stickers that go easy on the printer ink, print the black and white versions on colored papers or cardstock.
USA friends: be sure to make your voices heard and VOTE this year! Visit vote.org to find your polling location, locate a ballot dropbox, find early voting locations, get reminders, and more!
For your own kids’ election kit you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains either our own printable products, or Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- Cardstock (you can use plain white or other fun colors!) or watercolor paper
- Our free printable kids’ election kit
- Crayons, markers, watercolors, or other coloring supplies
- 1.5-inch Avery label sheets
- Pinbacks, tie tacks, or a 1.5-inch DIY button kit
- A 1.5-inch hole punch (I have this kind)
- Temporary tattoo paper
- Ribbons, feathers, star stickers, or other decorative craft materials
How to Set up a Kids’ Election – DIY Instructions:
Download our free kids’ voting kit
As part of our “free forever” collection, you can download the free printable kids’ ballots and election kit (updated to include a page of six mini ballots that’s perfect for classrooms or multiple votes!).
Use the PDF form boxes to fill in voting options
Our ballots have been designed to allow for easy and quick candidate/issue fill-in if desired. Type in the voting options to have them populate across all ballots on a page.
Choose the pages you’d like to print (we recommend choosing a “borderless printing” option or choosing to print at 100%).
Invite kids to color, design, fill in, or decorate.
Pass ownership of the voting process over to kids by having them handwrite ballot options, make and decorate their own ballot boxes, or design their own voting stickers.
Looking for some ways to turn our voting kit into a solid (and engaging!) electoral process lesson? Try adding in a few of the kids’ election activities below…
More ideas for kids voting and election activities…
- Make your own ballot box or voting booth! Grab some good ballot box design inspiration from 7 Days of Play on Instagram.
- Dig into the facts with an amazing free kid’s guide to the electoral college from Get Your Teach On Collective.
- Read about the election process with captivating and colorful picture books like Vote for our Future! or V is for Voting. I love these kids’ election picture book collections from Pragmatic Mom and Book Riot too!
- Use the opportunity to stand up for a cause and make your voices heard! These DIY protest signs from Art Bar are great art-making inspiration (and Bar has very kindly supplied a collection of fantastic free printable posters with wonderful messages here).
- Your kids can help get out the vote with free printable DIY voting postcards from Kid Made Modern.
- Design your own campaign buttons, track the electoral college on election night, or make your own election booklet with these free printable kids’ election worksheets from education.com.
- Nothing brings home a lesson on elections like some righteous right-to-vote jams – and we’ve got a playlist for that!
- Set aside some time for relaxing creativity on election day and make these awesome VOTE flexagons and DIY vote pop-up cards
- Celebrate a successful electoral process with some vote-themed lovin’ from the oven. For festive cupcakes that don’t require any fancy decorating skills or much extra time, use these adorable free printable election day toppers.
I hope all of these activities help your family find and celebrate the joy of voting. Although it comes with an extra big sense of importance and duty this year, the ability to create change by voicing our opinions is pr-retty, pretty awesome.
We’d love to hear about your own elections! Be sure to take pics and tag us with @barleyandbirch or #barleyandbirch on social media so we can see how YOU get your vote on and share your ideas (they’re always inspiring!).
*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!