Presidential Debate Activity
Ages 4+ with an adult helper

The election is getting so close! As part of our election activities, this month we are going to talk about the debates. Sometimes kids can get confused and think that debates are arguments, but really debates have a lot of rules and are a chance for candidates to show how their different viewpoints compare to one another.

Here are some interesting debate rules to tell kids about:

  • Debates happen in a large area with a stage so that an audience can watch the event live. This means that debates happen in real-time, and answers can’t be pre-recorded
  • Each debate has a moderator, who keeps the debate on track and asks the questions of the candidates. In some debates, audience members may also ask questions.
  • In this year’s presidential debates, each candidate will get 2 minutes to answer a question. Can you answer a question in 2 minutes? Take turns timing each other to get a sense of how long 2 minutes is!
  • The questions are a surprise to the candidates, so they practice for weeks before the debate by answering potential questions and getting their message on different topics down to a quick answer

We are going to make a stage, and then kids can make puppets or their toys “debate” each other following the rules above.


  • Shoebox
  • Staples
  • Glue
  • Scrap fabric, tissue paper or newspaper
  • Paint, crayons, markers (optional)
  • Scissors


  1. Take your shoebox lid off and set it aside
  2. Cut a big square in the bottom of the shoebox, so most of the bottom cardboard is gone
  3. Place the shoe box on the edge of the lid, and glue or staple in place
  4. Paint or decorate the shoebox as desired
  5. Take scrap fabric (or tissue paper or newsprint) and crinkle/fold it so the it looks like theater curtains.
  6. Make 2 curtains.
  7. Staple the top of one curtain to the edge of the shoebox, so it frames the theater opening. Do the same with the other side

More Fun:

Watch or Listen to some of the debates together as a family! Being able to understand the rules should make this more interesting to kids.

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