President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as our nation’s 46th president on January 20 at noon eastern time. While this year’s inauguration will look different due to the ongoing pandemic and the need for heightened security following recent events, the transition of power still will occur. It’s a moment that occurs every four years in our republic and a great chance to talk with your children about our country’s history and government and guiding principles.
Here are some ways that you can use Inauguration Day as a learning opportunity for your kids and also have some fun!
Activities to Engage
- Find Washington, D.C. on a map. What are the two states that border our nation’s capital?
- Create Inaugural Speech Bingo – Fill in squares with words/phrases like United States, one nation, diversity, community, Congress, President, history, economy, environment, freedom, democracy, republic.
- Write a one-minute speech that you would give to the country if you just had become our president.
- Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris’ mom was born in India and her dad was born in Jamaica. Find those countries on a world map or globe. What are the capitals of those two countries?
- Find a short online biography of Joe Biden and write down or share five interesting facts about his life.
- President-elect Joe Biden gets to move into the White House right after he is inaugurated. Did you know that building has 35 bathrooms and 28 fireplaces as well as a bowling alley and movie theater and a room just to make chocolate and other desserts? If you were going to live in the White House, what rooms or fun things would you want to add?
- Look up how many miles it is from where you live to the White House. What roads would you take if you wanted to drive there?
- When you run for president, you need to do some advertising! Draw a poster for your campaign! Make sure you include a picture of yourself and what your slogan would be.
- Imagine you are a reporter who gets to ask President Biden a couple of questions right after he takes the oath of office. What questions would you like to ask him?
- Check out this short video, put together in 2013, that shows highlights of many inauguration speeches over the last century.
Questions to Ask
- Who gave the shortest inauguration speech in our country’s history? Who gave the longest?
- On a related note, what happened to President William Henry Harrison soon after the inauguration?
- We live in a country in which the powers of government are limited. There are only certain things a president can do. What are three responsibilities given to the president?
- What is the address of the White House, where the President lives?
- Who administers the oath of office to the President?
- On a related note, the oath the President has to say is written in the Constitution. Can you find it? (Hint – It’s in Article II)
- Which amendment to the Constitution changed the date of the inauguration from March 4 to January 20? Why do you think the inauguration originally was held in March?
- How old do you need to be if you want to be elected President of the United States?
- On a related note, President-elect Joe Biden will be our oldest president. Who was our youngest president?
- Our government has three branches of government. What are they? The President and the Vice President are part of which branch? Do you see people at the inauguration who belong to the other two branches?
Foods for Fun
I like to come up with fun food ideas that coordinate with any holiday or event we are celebrating in our home. Some examples of tasty treats to make for the kids on Inauguration Day might include:
- Transition of Power Tacos
- Pennsylvania Avenue Punch
- Article II Appetizers,
- White House Waffles,
- Oath of Office Oreos
- Kamala’s Cupcakes
- DC Dip
- American as Apple Pie
- Executive Branch Eggs,
- Joe Jam with Biden Biscuits
Or you might make (or order!) some Irish, Indian, and Jamaican food to celebrate the heritage of our new President and Vice-President!
Whatever you choose to do on January 20, it’s nice to take a moment and recognize that there are not many countries around the world in which the people get to elect their own leaders and in which we peacefully move from one leader to the next. Let’s celebrate that!