Once every four years, those of us in the United States get a wonderful opportunity for teaching our kids a little about how our government works. In 2016, I created my first presidential election lap book. Over the past few weeks, several people inquired about whether or not I would be updating my lap book for the 2020 election. It took me a little longer than I anticipated, but it is now ready and freely available.
While I definitely have strong opinions and views on politics, I have done my best to make this lap book as neutral and nonpartisan as possible. I believe that the best future is one in which all sides can communicate openly and respectfully with one another and try to understand each other’s point of view.
That being said, while I tried to create this lap book as accurately as possible, there may be finer points of certain political parties which I am not as familiar with. If you believe I got anything wrong regarding any of the four candidates positions on certain issues, please let me know. I am always learning.
For those that have older kids vs. younger kids, there are two versions of this lapbook. One version I call the “minimal writing” version. It is the one I use with my own kids. Anything that could be pre-filled out, I typed in already. There is still some writing, like the page that asks who the child would vote for. However, it is not as overwhelming for new writers.
The other version leaves a lot more blank, so older kids can research the answers. They will need to look up the duties of the president and vice president and the dates of the debates, election, and inauguration. They will need to find the number of electoral voters per state. The biggest undertaking is the chart in which kids will need to decide which issues are important to them and then research the different candidates’ positions on those issues.
Of course, there is always the option to mix and match. Some kids might benefit from looking up some answers, while having others already filled in for them.
Both versions of the lap book have a map for the child to color as the results come in. There is also a final tally page where they can keep track of the number of electoral votes awarded for each candidate. This way they can watch real time who is winning the race to 270 electoral votes and the presidency.
If you are using this lap book with elementary-aged kids or younger, there are two picture books that I recommend trying to get from your library. Our family really enjoyed Grace For President by Kelly DiPucchio. Not only is it a charming story, it does a fantastic job of introducing kids to concepts such as the electoral college and swing states.
We also read Duck for President by Doreen Cronin. This book targets a slightly younger audience. All my kids liked it, including my preschooler, though my 10 year old did not really learn anything new. It is great for explaining what an election is and illustrating the difference between local vs. national politics.
Recommended Age Range: Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School
Time Required: ~30 minutes to assemble
Cost: Free printable
- Paper for printing 2020 U.S. Presidential Election Lap Book. (Note that if you are doing the “minimal writing” version of the lap book, you will want to print pages 1-13. If you are doing the blank version, you will want pages 1-7 and 14-19.)
- manila file folder (personally, I like the straight cut version for lap books, but any will work equally well.)
- 4 pieces of cardstock
Supplies & Tools
- First, print out the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election Lap Book. If you would like to create the “minimal writing” version of the lap book, you will want to print pages 1-13. If you would rather create the blank version, print pages 1-7 and 14-19.
- Cut out all the pieces.
- Make your election vocabulary booklets and staple them together. You have some options. My personal preference is to put the picture on top, then the definition (which I call the clue), and then the vocabulary word on the bottom. That way kids can test themselves to see if they can figure out what the word is using the picture and definition. Another option would be to put the word on top, then the picture and definition underneath.
- Fold the shorter side of your manila file folder inward to meet the middle, as shown.
- Fold the longer side of the manila file folder in to meet the middle as well. I chose to overlap them slightly, but that is up to you.
- Tape a piece of cardstock to the top of the lap book. Remember to tape it from behind when it is folded down so it can open and close easily.
- Tape a sheet of cardstock to the bottom of lapbook. Again, remember to tape it when it is folded inside the lap book.
- Tape a second piece of cardstock to the right of the piece of cardstock at the top of the lap book.
- Cut your last piece of cardstock in half. I used a paper cutter, but you could also just fold it in half and use scissors.
- Tape one of the half sheets of cardstock onto the left of the sheet of cardstock on top.
When you are finished attaching the cardstock, it should look like this:
- Place the cover page on top of the file folder and center it.
- Without moving the page, bring forward whichever side of the file folder will be on top. I chose to bring the shorter side forward, but it doesn’t really matter. Use a pencil to mark the edge of the side. This is where you will cut.
- Cut along the pencil marking.|
- Glue the cover pieces onto the front of the lapbook.
- When you open the election lap book, glue the President and Vice President duties on either side. Remember that there are two versions of these sheets – one filled in and one blank. Choose the one that is more appropriate for your child.
- Glue the Political Parties label and cards onto the piece of cardstock on top, when it is folded down, as shown.
- When you lift up the political parties, glue the presidential candidates on the bottom sheet of cardstock which is still folded up. Be sure to match the candidates to the political parties that were on the top sheet.
- On the half sheet of cardstock directly above the presidential candidates, before it is opened up, glue in the important dates. Note that there are two versions of this page with the dates blank and filled in.
- On the full piece of cardstock directly above the presidential candidates, before it is opened up, glue in the election vocabulary.
- In the area after you unfold the top pieces of card stock, glue the important issues onto the 2 and half page spread. You can choose to either use the pre-filled-in issues pages or the blank version.
- When you fold down the presidential candidates, glue the electoral map onto the middle section of the manila file folder and the final tally onto the very bottom piece of cardstock. Note that there are two versions of these pages as well.
Your 2020 United States presidential election lap book is now ready to use. Have fun taking advantage of this once-in-four-years learning opportunity!
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This is wonderful. I think you did a great job keeping it neutral. A+
Thank you! I definitely tried to be fair. I’m glad you like it!
Thanks so much for this awesome resource! I can’t wait to use it with our government unit.
I am so glad you are able to use it, Deb! :)
You did a great job and I would have liked to print it to study with my 9th grade students in France but it seems to be protected and I can’t print it. All the pages end blank.
That is very strange! I know of people that have successfully downloaded and printed it from this post. Are you able to save the file? This is the direct link: https://researchparent.com/wp-content/uploads/US_Presidential_Election_2020_Lapbook_ResearchParent.pdf
Maybe try right-clicking and save-as? If you are still having trouble, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email you the file directly.
Thank you so much for making these, they are wonderful! I’m having the same exact issues of it not printing out. I can’t even do a “Save As” as because it’s been page protected. I will also send you a email. Thank you!
Hi Maritza! I’m not sure why you are having this issue. I’m so sorry! I emailed you the files yesterday. Please let me know if you didn’t get them or are still having problems.
Thank you for this resource! I thought the United States was a Constitutional Republic not a Democracy. I’d love to see that included.
It’s my understanding that we are a representative democracy (also called a democratic republic or constitutional republic) rather than a direct democracy. I meant this resource for my elementary-aged children, so those distinctions are a little more advanced than I wanted to go at this age. Since the U.S. promotes democratic principles around the world, as opposed to totalitarian dictatorships, democracy is the word that I want my kids to be familiar with right now. If I update this resource in 4 years though, I will definitely consider adding republic and constitution to my vocabulary words. Thank you for the suggestions!
Thank you for this. It is just what I have been searching for.
I am so glad it is useful to you!
I am so excited I found this resource. Thank you so much for taking the time to help us teach our children about this important right. My entire family, grown ups, high schoolers, & littles are loving the info and we can’t wait to fill it in on election night.
Yay! I’m so glad your family found my resource helpful, Shannon! Thank you for taking the time to let me know. You’ve made my day!
Absolutely wonderful idea, great job on the design. As far as the issues go, may I suggest using the following website. https://www.isidewith.com/candidates
You can choose any candidate, then select the policies tab. You’ll see their official answer, & if you want the reference for it. For example, Donald Trump stance on abortion: “Pro-life, but allow in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother or child.” I would reword for younger children to “Pro-life with exceptions.”
That is a great suggestion, thank you! I will be sure to take this into account for the next election in 4 years!
Thank you so much for this! My little one has had lots of questions regarding the election and this is perfect to break it all down for him. I just put it together tonight and he is excited to learn about the candidates and color in the map next week!
I’m so glad my lapbook was helpful to you, Sarah!
Thank you so much for this resource. It is amazing.
I am so glad you are able to use it!
This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. This very new homeschooling teacher is grateful to have found your post. I look forward to looking through the rest of your website.
I’m so glad you were able to use my election lapbook! I hope it was helpful to your kids!
Thank you for taking time to do this. I am thankful and delighted to have found it. My son looked at it and said that he wanted to do it. I was planning on doing the tally sheet and the map. We are adjusting our schedule to add this to our week. Thanks again and God bless America!
I am so glad you and your son found my lapbook helpful, Valerie!
This is so awesome! Thanks so much!
You are so welcome, Nikki! I’m glad you found my lapbook helpful!