Making Democracy Fun: Election Day Activities for 1st Grade Students

election activities for kids
Students love doing these fun activities as they learn about the election.

Are you a first-grade teacher looking for creative ways to teach your students about democracy and the election process? It can be such a tedious process, not to mention overwhelming for our littles. In this article, we will explore some exciting election day activities that are sure to engage your 1st-grade students. You can make learning democracy fun instead of complicated.

Sign up for a free 10 min daily process that builds a classroom community with more focus, better learning, and test success!

mock election for kids
Help students will learn about democracy with these fun and engaging activities.

Why teaching democracy is important

Understanding how democracy works is so important for our young learners. Democracy is not just about voting; it’s about fostering a sense of community, empathy, and respect for diverse opinions. So when you teach your 1st graders about democracy, you’re also teaching them how to be responsible citizens.

Sign up for a free 10 min daily process that builds a classroom community with more focus, better learning, and test success!


Explaining the concept of democracy can be challenging for our kiddos, but it is possible to break it down and keep it simple. Start by discussing how decisions are made in the classroom, emphasizing the importance of everyone having a say and how voting is a fair way to make choices. When you help them understand the basic principles of democracy, you are setting the stage for further exploration.

Understanding the concept of elections

Before diving into election day activities, it’s important to make sure your students have a clear understanding of what elections are. Explain to them that elections are a way for people to choose their leaders or make decisions as a group. Use relatable examples, such as choosing a class monitor or a book for storytime, to help them understand the concept. One of our favorite books to read is Duck for President. Another good one is If I Ran for President.

To make it more engaging, you can create a classroom election board where students nominate and vote for different items or activities. This will help them understand the process of decision-making through voting and the importance of respecting the majority’s choice.

These students decided that they wanted to vote for outdoor recess or indoor recess, so they worked in groups to campaign for their choices.

election posters by students
My students loved creating their campaign posters!

Essential Election Vocabulary

These first graders needed to know the vocabulary words they would be using during their election activities. They started with this poem about the election, which can also be used as a song. I introduced the words during morning meeting.

They highlighted the words:  election, candidate, campaign, vote, government and ballot, as they learned what the words meant. They kept their poems/songs in a poetry folder so they could review these words.  Then they built the poem in a pocket chart and completed a fill-in-the blank sheet.

election vocabulary words
Students will be engaged with these vocabulary words about the election.

Creating a Mock Election in the Classroom

One of the best ways to teach students about elections is by organizing a mock election in your classroom. Divide the class into groups and assign each group a candidate for a make-believe position, such as “Class President” or “Class Mascot.” Have the groups come up with their campaign slogans and posters.

Encourage the students to think about what qualities make a good leader and how they can convince their classmates to vote for their candidate. Our Daily Concept Builders morning meeting process uses the term “Quality Student” so you can list characteristics of a “Quality Leader.” This activity not only teaches them about the election process but also helps develop their critical thinking and persuasive skills.

Exploring Different Roles in an Election

To give your students a deeper understanding of the election process, introduce them to all of the different jobs. Explain the roles of candidates, voters,  and election officials. You can create role-playing scenarios where students try different roles and experience the responsibilities and challenges faced by each.

For example, students can act as candidates and deliver speeches to their classmates, highlighting their ideas and plans. They can also take turns being election officials and learn how to set up polling stations, hand out ballots, and count votes. This hands-on experience will make the learning process more relevant and memorable.

girl giving speech
Students build confidence as they speak in front of others.

Designing Campaign Posters and Slogans

Highlight your students’ creative skills by having them design campaign posters and slogans for their favorite candidates. Provide them with art supplies and let their imaginations run wild. Encourage them to think about what visuals and slogans would catch their classmates’ attention and persuade them to vote.

The activity of designing campaign materials not only allows students to express their creativity but also helps them understand the power of visuals in elections. It teaches them how to communicate messages effectively and attract more voters.

election poster by kids
Allow students to use their creativity as they make campaign posters.

After my students completed their posters, they went into another classroom and campaigned for indoor recess or outdoor recess. The kids in the other class were so cute. They clapped for them after they shared their posters. Then they voted for their choices.  We had a ballot box and they checked pieces of paper that represented a ballot.

I brought the box back to our classroom and took each vote out and we tallied them on the board.

Voting and Counting the Ballots

Once the campaign period is over, it’s time for the main event: voting! Set up a polling station in your classroom, complete with ballot boxes and voting booths. Explain to your students the importance of privacy and respect for each other’s choices during the voting process.

Give each student a ballot and have them cast their votes. After voting, have the students assist in counting the ballots. This activity helps them understand the importance of accuracy, fairness, and honesty in elections.

I brought the ballot box back to our classroom and took each vote out and we tallied them on the board.  My students got so excited as we tallied all the votes.

Outdoor Recess was the winner!

After the mock election, take the opportunity to discuss the importance of fair elections. Explain to your students that fair elections ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and that the results represent the majority’s choice.

Reflecting on the Election Process

Once the mock election is complete, it’s essential for your students to reflect. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings about the entire process. Ask questions about what they learned, what surprised them, and how they felt about participating in a democratic activity.

One of my students said his friend did such a great job campaigning for outdoor recess that he was changing sides!  He said that his friend told him that playing outside on the equipment makes you strong and healthy, and he agreed with him.

election posters by kids
My students learned how important a campaign is and listening to all sides.

Use this reflection session to reinforce the key concepts learned throughout the election day activities. Emphasize the importance of respecting differing opinions, making informed choices, and being active participants in their communities.

You can also invite guest speakers, such as local politicians or community leaders, to share their experiences and answer questions from the students. This provides a real-world connection to the election process and inspires students to become active citizens.

Creating a mock election in the classroom not only teaches students about the election process but also promotes teamwork, critical thinking, and decision-making skills. It’s a fun and interactive way for students to experience democracy in action.

Sign up for a free 10 min daily process that builds a classroom community with more focus, better learning, and test success!


Share this post with your teacher friends!

picture of a blog signature

This post contains affiliate links through which I will receive a small compensation when you click through and purchase.


Share this post

Subscribe to our Newsletter!



Looking for something?