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US President Games for Kids

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Do your students think that the presidents are old and boring? These active and interactive games will keep your students engaged in the process of learning the U.S. presidents.

The Presidents and Kids

Learning the U.S. presidents is a huge task. Rote memory activities just don't work for most young students. The more fun the learning process is for children, the more likely they are to retain information.

The activities offered in this lesson are designed to be a fun way for your students to familiarize themselves with the U.S. presidents, their order, and a few things that each accomplished.

Materials

To prepare for these activities, you will need the following:

  • 'Quick Presidential Facts' sheet for each student. This information sheet should include:
    • the presidents listed in order (numbered)
    • the dates associated with each presidency
    • at least two interesting facts about each president
  • Four or five sets of 'President Playing Cards'. These can be purchased or made with index cards. The playing cards should include just a picture and name.
    • If making your own, make it a class activity and have the students create the cards.
  • Several sets of 'Name only' index cards that have just the presidents' names on them, as well as other famous names (i.e., Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, etc.) that will serve as distractors - one name per card

Active Movement Activities

A great way to get students engaged in a concept is to allow them to move when learning. These activities will need lots of room for your students to move.

Lava Walk

  • Material: You will need the 'Quick Presidential Facts' sheets and the 'Name only' index cards. Depending on your class size, you may need three sets of these cards for this game.
  • Preparation: Sprinkle the cards across the middle section of the room.

Tell your students that the center of the room is a pool of lava. The cards are rocks. The trick is that only president rocks are safe. Students should line up parallel to the lava pit on one side of the room and then race to the other side stepping only on president cards. They must jump from one to the next and pick up their cards as they go. Note the order in which students reach the other side. Before announcing a winner, check to make sure they have only presidential names on their cards.

This could also be played in groups with one member crossing the lava pit at a time. Group members could give advice using the fact sheets.

Ordered Presidents

  • Materials: one deck of 'President Playing Cards' and the 'Quick Presidential Facts' sheets
  • Preparation: none

This is an activity to be done in groups. Groups should have at least five members but could be as large as half the class (the larger the group the more challenging the activity). Group students and separate the groups around the room. Spread the playing cards out on the floor. At a signal, all students run to the cards, grab one card and run back to their groups. The race is on to see which group can properly order their cards first.

Relay Race

  • Materials: one deck of 'President Playing Cards' and the 'Quick Presidential Facts' sheets
  • Preparation: none

Separate your class into five groups. Assign a set of presidents to each group - since there have been 45 presidents, each group should be assigned 9 presidents. For example, Group 1 might be assigned presidents 1-9, while Group 5 is assigned presidents 37 - 45. Tell students that they must collect their presidents in order, in relay fashion, and collect only the presidents their group has been given. Spread cards out in the center of the room. Start the race with a signal. Ensure that only one student from each group searches the presidential pile at a time.

If time permits, repeat this game by assigning different numbers to the groups until all groups have been assigned all the presidents.

Interactive, Seated Activities

These activities are designed to be just as interactive as the active activities, but without the movement.

Presidential Bingo

  • Materials: 'Quick Presidential Facts' sheet for each student, paper and bingo markers
  • Preparation: none

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