Election 2010: Games and Puzzles Teach Kids about Civic
November 2, 2010 | Just because kids aren’t
eligible to cast their votes in today’s midterm elections
doesn’t mean that they can’t get a head start in learning
about the electoral process, past presidents, and American
Several toymakers have created election-themed games and geographical
puzzles … and parents wishing to introduce their children to
complex, timely topics will gravitate toward these educational products
found on many store shelves.
“Oftentimes, kids don’t even realize they’re
learning when they’re playing,” said Adrienne Appell, senior
manager of public relations at the Toy Industry Association. “The
best part about this category of products is that they’re all
really educational, and they inspire kids to learn about their
Here are some examples of games and puzzles that appeal to the
In Race for the White House Game (Aristoplay; ages
12 and up), players involved in a hard-fought presidential contest move
around the board acquiring votes and entering them into the Voting
Blocks on the Tally Sheets. While learning about Red States, Blue States
and Swing States, children get a taste of what it feels like to be a
politician forced to please, pacify, and avoid alienating various
constituencies and interest groups in order to reach the critical 270
electoral votes needed to win the election.
Hail to the Chief Game (Aristoplay; ages 10 and
up) is a trivia board game that teaches about the electoral process.
Players move around the game board by answering questions about
presidents and the Constitution; they become presidential candidates
along the way, and have to travel from state to state on the campaign
trail answering questions about U.S. history and geography in order to
win electoral votes.
The Scrambled States of America Game (Gamewright;
ages 8 and up) is a madcap game of observation and quick reflexes.
Players collect cards, and then match states to a “Scramble”
card or find a state’s closest neighbor. Whoever scrambles to
match and collect the most state cards wins.
In 10 Days in the USA (Out of the Box Publishing;
ages 10 and up) players learn all about American geography as they
travel the country by jet, car and on foot. The game involves
strategizing a trip’s trajectory from start to finish using
destination and transportation tiles – the first traveler to make
connections for their 10 day journey wins the game.
The award-winning Get Going American Time Activity
Tote (Peaceable Kingdom, ages 7 and up) is an activity game
tote that has 17 spiral-bound pages of fun -filled, educational games
for one or two players including Word Find, Bingo, Mazes, Magic Numbers
and Story Fill-ins. The tote includes two write and wipe pens and a
Puzzles teach kids about shapes and colors; they also sharpen memory
and logic skills. Melissa & Doug has created two great puzzles that
have the added benefit of teaching kids about their country: the Presidents of the USA Floor Puzzle teaches kids
about past presidents while the Large Wooden USA Map Capitals and States
Puzzle is an excellent way to learn about U.S.
geography. The Scrambled States of America Puzzle and Book
Set includes a 150 piece jigsaw puzzle that contains 10,
secretly hidden state-shaped puzzle pieces.
These are just some examples of the many products on the market that
cater to young political activists and budding geography buffs. For more
information on current toy trends, visit the “Trends” section on www.ToyInfo.org or “The Toy Biz” on the Toy Industry Association