By Tracey Dowdy
Between the protest turned Capitol riot and the restrictions necessary with COVID 19, the 2021 inauguration will be like none other in American history.
Aside from trying to unpack the complexities of our current political climate, take some time to do an Inauguration Day activity or two with your future leaders.
- Go online together and explore past presidential inaugurations. Check out these fun facts from Scholastic, Brittanica Kids, and FactMonster. For example, did you know that Philadelphia and New York hosted the presidential inauguration until 1801? It then moved to Washington, D.C.
- Along with President-elect Biden’s rise from Vice president to become the 46th President of the United States, incoming Vice President Kamala Harris represents a host of historic “firsts.” She is the first woman, Black person, and Indian-American ever to serve as Vice President. Talk to your children about these firsts. Ask why they think it’s taken so long for a woman, especially a woman of color, to be elected to this role.
- Create a list of things you expect to see and play “Inaugural I Spy” as you watch the ceremonies together. You can download this Inauguration Day I Spy Scorecard to keep track!
- Write a letter to President Biden or Vice President Harris. Their letter will be read by a White House secretary who may refer it to the President. No matter who reads it, however, you will receive a reply. Your letters can be neatly handwritten or typed. It should be short and to the point. The address is:
The President of the United States (or, The Vice President of the United States)
White House Office
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
- Livestream the ceremony on one of The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) social media channels: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch. They have prepared a lineup of programming leading up to Inauguration Day.
- Check out the White House’s 40-page printable document to help kids understand what Inauguration Day is and means to the country.
- Let your kids design their own oval office. Check out images of the current or past oval office decor, and let their imaginations run wild as they decorate what it would look like if they were President.
- While they’re dreaming of their own presidency, Scholastic has a fun template to help kids write their own Inaugural Address. If that seems like a chore, have a conversation about what they think are the most critical things President-Elect Biden needs to focus on as soon as he takes the oath of office.
- Host your own Inaugural Ball. Sadly, due to Coronavirus, there will be no Inaugural balls to celebrate this historic moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw your own at home! Get dressed up – or at least put on clean sweatpants and serve one of President Biden’s favorite meals – pasta with red sauce and ice cream for dessert – or Vice President Harris’ favorite dish, seafood gumbo. Then, put on some music and dance the night away.
For more kid-friendly, educational activities focused on the Inaugration, check out the Inauguration Celebration Kit for Kids from ourwhitehouse.org and the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.