Children can begin to learn about government in their first experience with education suggests Chip Flowers; that is, during preschool and kindergarten, and it can continue through high school. Much of this learning can be augmented by visiting some useful websites on the subject. Objective, interesting and ‘just the facts, ma’am’ but fun sorts of websites that are geared to hold a child’s imagination on the abstract concept of self-governing of a nation are not as easy to find as you may think.
This website is colorful, interactive and entertaining. It has everything that a child would want in learning materials, and presents it in a manner that doesn’t feel like actually learning. That’s always a plus when dealing with children. Each branch of government has its own section, as well as historical information on the fight for independence and the framing of the Constitution. There are activities to choose from and a ‘show what you know’ link at the end of each section that provides a wrap-up activity for the lesson. There’s even a quiz section to let children demonstrate how much they’ve learned.
The U.S. Government Printing Office is behind this website, and it is a treasure trove of information. There are three sections, divided into age groups for levels apprentice (ages 4-8), journeyperson (ages 9-13) and master (ages 14+). The home page is colorful and cheery, with a Ben Franklin avatar to direct visitors. The site includes links to games for all ages, library resources and ‘learning adventures’ that further break down the main topics into easily learned, manageable chunks of information for each age grouping.
Don’t let the name of this website fool you. This is a product of the U.S. Mint and it covers far more than the nation’s currency. The “Branches of Power” game is awesome! It is guaranteed to hold a child’s attention and teach the principles of democracy without the child even realizing it.
There are links to multiple games in various topics, all of which will fascinate children of diverse ages.
This site’s catch phrase is “A safe place to learn and play.” It has sections based on grade level: k-5 and 6-8. There’s also a section for teachers and one for parents. There are multiple links for exploring how government works and biographies of U.S. presidents. The site is easy to navigate and the graphics are colorful and easy to follow.
This site is included here because of the interactive games it offers. These games are geared more toward higher grade level students, in the range of fifth to ninth. The game “You’re the President” is particularly challenging. The newspaper mock-up that can be printed at the end is a deal maker for this site! There are links to explanations of how government works, and the games allow the learning to be applied to governing scenarios. The “Interview with Ben Franklin” is also quite entertaining. Anytime learning can take place under the guise of a game, a child’s attention will be captivated.