Making civics for kids interesting is all about you present the topic to children.
About Civics for Kids
Introduce the topic of civics for kids, and most kids will groan, exclaiming that the subject is boring. Kids don't see themselves as having a personal stake in politics, government, and history. In fact, some people feel that schools aren't emphasizing civics enough in the classroom. But, is the subject of civics just the responsibility of schools, or should parents also make a concerted effort to involve kids actively in civics as well?
The responsibility of incorporating civics into children's lives is one that must be shared by everyone who is involved in a child's life. When people think of instigating the role of civics into the classroom, they often bring up the topic of student government. While student councils and student governments are an integral part of a child's education, only a handful of students will actually experience these roles. In most cases, minority students and students from low-education families don't take on the roles of leadership at their schools. Teachers and parents must look for other ways to involve children in government, politics, and history.
Civics in the Classroom
While history and government textbooks typically address the subject of civics, there are many other ways to incorporate civics for kids in the classroom.
Newspapers can be used in so many ways. In fact, many local newspapers participate in a newspaper education program in which papers are provided to local schools free of charge. How can you use newspapers in your classroom? First, have kids become familiar with each section of the newspaper by developing a newspaper scavenger hunt. Once they understand how the paper is divided, have them participate in a variety of activities.
- Have kids cut out or copy editorial cartoons to start a class discussion. Then have them draw one of their own.
- Let kids pick a topic that is relevant to their school or city and write letters to the editor.
- Let kids design their own newspapers with articles that relate to events happening in their school and their town.
If you haven't heard of Web 2.0, you will. The influx of technology in the classroom has created a whole new way of learning for kids. Kids can follow local, state, and national government issues and address these issues in blogs and wikis that they can share with other students and even other schools.
Numerous projects that are geared for both individual study and cooperative groups can be found at websites, such as teAchnology, the Center for Civic Education, and the National Constitution Center Kids can do art projects, conduct interviews and surveys, hold mock elections, draw up laws, conduct mock trials, create maps, and more through these innovative lesson plans.
Civics in the Home
The education of your child shouldn't end with the school day. You can encourage your kids to become more civic minded.
- Subscribe to newspapers and a variety of magazines. Get into the habit of reading articles together, then discussing them at the dinner table.
- Take your kids with you when you vote. While your kids may be too young to initially understand the process, the fact that you exercise your right to vote will influence them in later years.
- Talk to your kids about civic events in your area and in the world. If they ask you questions that you don't know the answer to, then you and your kids can do some research on the computer.
- Take your kids to civic events, such as local rallies, government speeches, etc.
Finally, open up your kids' eyes to the world around them. Let them know that they have rights, and that one day they will be the ones to make the decisions that affect their government and their lives.