General election: 5 ways to get kids engaged in politics
1. Identify the issues that matter to them
Whether it's their local park staying open, how much homework they receive, or what they're taught in lessons – find out what your children care about most and talk about where these issues figure on the local and national agendas. You may awaken a latent mini-activist!
2. Read all about it
The Election, published by Fisherton Press, is a beautifully illustrated storybook aimed at under-sevens. It looks at the concepts of democracy, voting and elections in a very accessible way - well worth a look.
Many newspapers now produce child-friendly editions. First News is a particularly good example, providing seven- to 14-year-olds with a relevant digest of current affairs, plus dictionary support for more difficult words.
3. Visit the heart of British politics – and enjoy a yummy afternoon tea
A visit to the Houses of Parliament is a brilliant day out for anyone interested in understanding British history, society and how laws are passed. You can sit in on a parliamentary debate, wander the great halls and may even spot a few well-known faces. The scones in the visitors' café are the best way to end a busy day of political awakening.
4. Recreate your own election campaign
Sometimes, the best way to learn is through doing. The Parliament website has an excellent interactive game, MyUK, that allows children to become Prime Minster for day. Children over the age of 13 are able to login through their Facebook account to appoint friends to their cabinet, share their decisions and reveal the outcomes of their 'five-year term'.
5. Inspire them
Even though they can't vote, children can make a difference to society if they believe in something and want to make a change.
Aged just nine, Dylan Mahalingam co-founded Lil'MDGs, a non-profit created to leverage the power of social media to engage children in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Now, aged 15, Dylan is a youth speaker for the UN and has mobilised more than three million children worldwide – and counting!
Rumour has it that William Hague used to read Hansard, the official report of proceedings in the Commons and Lords, under his bed with a torch - but then in his day, Minecraft didn't exist.
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Last updated: over 1 year ago