The Constitution is under constant attack; special interests, partisan politics, and a general lack of understanding have all contributed to a weakening of the Constitution in recent years. This is why it is so crucial for kids to get involved in protecting and upholding this vital document. Teaching your kids about the Constitution can lead to a lifetime of success and civic engagement. Kids can also gain a greater appreciation for our rights and freedoms as Americans.
By understanding the Constitution, kids can learn about the foundations of our democracy and how our government works. The more kids know about the Constitution, the better equipped they will be to defend it. It can help kids become better citizens by teaching them about their responsibilities to uphold the values and principles of our country. Every American should know about the Constitution and its meaning for our country.
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who
express their choice are prepared to choose
wisely. The real safeguard of democracy,
therefore, is education.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
What is the United States Constitution?
The United States Constitution is one of the most essential documents in American history; it is the cornerstone of American democracy. The Constitution outlines the basic principles of our government and the rights of every citizen. The Constitution was written in 1787 by delegates to the Constitutional Convention. It was ratified by the states in 1788 and went into effect in 1789. It has been amended 27 times, most notably with the addition of the Bill of Rights in 1791.
The Constitution establishes the three branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—and provides checks and balances to ensure that no one branch becomes too powerful. The executive branch, headed by the President, is responsible for carrying out the laws of the land. The legislative branch, made up of the Senate and House of Representatives, makes laws. And the judicial branch, headed by the Supreme Court, interprets laws. Together, these three branches work to safeguard our democracy and protect our rights and freedoms.
How is the Constitution Relevant Today?
Although the Constitution was written over 200 years ago at a time when America was a very different place, the Constitution is still HUGELY important to us today. The Constitution may have been written at a specific moment in history, but its principles are just as relevant today as they were then; and while it has been amend
ed over time, those amendments have only served to make it more reflective of our society and more responsive to our needs.
The Constitution serves as a beacon of hope for people and countries around the world who are fighting for their own freedom and democracy. It guarantees our rights and protections and ensures everyone is treated equally under the law. In an increasingly unstable world, the Constitution reminds us that democracy is possible.
Engaging Activities to Get Your Kids Excited About the U.S. Constitution:
Create a Family Constitution- Your Family Constitution is a document that outlines your family’s values, traditions, and expectations. It can be as simple or as detailed as you like. What traditions do you want to keep alive? Do you want to go on a family bike ride every Sunday afternoon or have a family game night once a month? What rules and expectations do you have as a family? Who is responsible for cleaning the dishes after dinner each night? At what age, will cell phones be allowed?
Draft a document that outlines the rules and regulations of your Family Constitution. Make sure to include everyone’s input so everyone feels invested in the process. Have everyone in the family review and sign the Constitution. Put your Constitution into action! Once you’ve created it, start living by it. Review and revise your Constitution as needed. As your family grows and changes, so can your Constitution!
Write Letters to State Representatives- The Constitution allows us to participate in our communities and make our voices heard on issues that matter to us. Choose a topic that interests your child. This could be something like animal welfare, the environment, or education. Help them research who their state representative is and how to contact them.
Once they have the contact information, help them to write a letter explaining why this issue is important to them and what they would like their representative to do about it. Help them proofread and edit their letter before sending it off. Encourage them to follow up with their representative to see what, if any, action was taken on their issue.
Visit a Local Courthouse or State Capitol- Many courthouses and state capitols offer tours specifically designed for kids. Seeing how our government works firsthand will help them better understand the founding document that governs our country. At the courthouse, they can watch as court cases are tried and see how justice is dispensed. At the State Capitol, they can tour the building and learn about the legislative process. Either way, your child will better understand how our government works and what it means to be a citizen of the United States. You may even gain a better understanding, as well!
Host a Mock Trial in Your Living Room- You can create a simple case by choosing a hypothetical situation that might violate someone’s constitutional rights. For example, you might pretend that a school is proposing a rule prohibiting students from wearing certain types of clothing. Once you’ve chosen your case, invite your kids to act as either lawyers or witnesses. They will then have the opportunity to present their arguments and cross-examine the other side. This is a great way to teach them about the different branches of government and how our legal system works. It can also help them understand the importance of fair trials and due process.
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and it governs everything we do as Americans. Without it, we would not be the free and prosperous nation we are today. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to teach your kids about the Constitution. Doing so gives them a foundation for their future as citizens of this great country. Your kids can help ensure that our democracy remains strong for generations to come, and the value of that is simply priceless!
“To live under the American Constitution
is the greatest political privilege that
was ever accorded to the human race.”
This post is sponsored by the Kids Guide to Free Speech & Cancel Culture.
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