The recent election can only emphasize the importance of voting. The votes came in extremely close, which just goes to show that every vote does count! We have the privilege of being able to vote in our country, and that should not be taken for granted. It’s never too early to explain the importance of voting to our children, which is why I put together this voting booth dramatic play for a USA theme. Check out all of the learning that took place with this simple set-up!
USA Lesson plans
Voting Booth Dramatic Play
Setting Up the Center
This dramatic play set-up is simple, yet still inviting, for preschoolers to come over and join in the election. The first thing I did was save a medium-sized box to use as our ballot box. Just cut a slit in the ballot box printout and a slit in the box, and then tape them together. I actually cut out the bottom of the box to be able to collect the ballots on a daily basis, too.
Next, set up the voting booth! I taped three whiteboards together, but you can also use a large box or folders to create a privacy booth. Add in the “Vote Here” and “Your Vote Counts” posters for extra little touches. Then, we added our ballot of the day in a small tub and “I Voted” stickers in another tub.
To make the “I Voted” stickers, I just printed the included stickers on a full label sheet and cut out the circles. It was a little tricky for my little ones to separate the sticker from the plastic backing though, so keep that in mind. but it was totally worth it for the experience of placing the “I Voted” sticker on their clothes.
Finally, as one of our fine motor activities for the week, my little ones cut out the red, white, and blue paper strips to create the paper chain. We then said the ABC pattern over and over to create a decoration for our voting booth.
Let’s take a closer look at our ballots. I’ve included 5 different ballots for the best animal, recess activity, a class pet, snack, and activity. Every one of these choices is something that is relevant to toddlers, which makes voting meaningful to them.
First, the students would check their choice on each ballot, and then they would sign their name to add in name writing practice! Then, they would fold the ballot and place it in the ballot box, just waiting to be counted with the whole group!
We used a different ballot each day this week to encourage the kiddos to go to the voting booth.
Graphing the Votes
Adding Math to Dramatic Play
After all of the ballots were in, we sat down together to tally the votes! We opened one ballot at a time and colored the choice on the graph. The excitement built as I opened each vote, everyone excited to see which choice was the winner! After all of the votes had been graphed, we determined which choice won the election by seeing which choice had the most votes. “And the winner is…” Drumroll, please! Then, we talked about which choice had the least votes. Other questions I asked were, “Which animal got 4 votes?” or “How many votes did monkey bars get?”
Learning Through Play
To go along with this voting booth, we had to learn some new vocabulary words. In order to simplify some of these complex words, I wrote straight and to-the-point definitions that are easier for preschoolers to understand. We were exposed to some on a daily basis (vote, ballot, voting booth, and ballot box), but there are a few more to add to their learning (campaign, country, speech, election, president, etc.). These can help simplify some of these complex topics as you teach your class.
Class Character Chart
After reading so many incredible USA books about what it means to be an American, our flag, and different leaders of our country, we sat down to talk about what makes a good leader. First, we talked about something a little more relevant: leaders in our school. This helped reel in this abstract idea.
After adding different ideas to our chart, I told the kiddos that they could be leaders, too! Come with ideas, but also listen, too. Be kind and honest. And always help others. Sometimes, you can just be a leader, and other times, you have to be chosen, like our president. Presidents have to show how great of a leader they can be in order to be chosen, and one way they do that is through a campaign poster. Then, we made our very own campaign posters using mirrors to help draw some self-portraits. Such a great way to end our week of USA activities!