In the United States of America, every four years, on the 20th of January, an inauguration is held to swear in the new or returning elected president and vice-president. This Wednesday, January 20th, 2021, Americans all over the country will get to watch our soon-to-be 46th president, Joe Biden, and our first woman and woman of color vice-president, Kamala Harris, take their oath of office and be sworn in.
The inauguration will air on nearly every news and major network, and be streamed through their respective online portals. The swearing in ceremony will begin at 12:00PM EST. Though tune in early (11:00AM EST) if you want to watch any opening remarks.
Lady Gaga will be singing the National Anthem. Plus, Jennifer Lopez will be giving a live performance, along with performances virtually from the Foo Fighters, John Legend, and Bruce Springsteen. The invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. The benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware.
Though most interesting, in my opinion, is 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, who will be reading an original poem on unity and hope, that as she says, “…isn’t blind. It isn’t turning your back to the evidence of discord and division.” I am sure this will be inspiring for us all, especially with the insurrection of the capitol still fresh in our minds. And hopefully, it also strikes a chord with our youth, as Amanda Gorman is quite an accomplished young poet, and the youngest to read at an inauguration.
Every inauguration has a theme, and this year the theme is “America United.” Something very poignant in my opinion and something we all have a role in, including our American kids. This event is American democracy in motion. Therefore, an event to share in with our kids. Though please note this statement from The National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance:
“The NCBLA has always encouraged the adults who live and work with young people to engage their kids in current events by watching and discussing them. This year the FBI is warning everyone about the potential for armed protests in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals in the days leading up to and including Inauguration Day. With the possibility for violence at hand, we recommend that educators and parents proceed cautiously in their decisions about whether to watch the inaugural activities live this year. A possible alternative is to share the inauguration video with young people later in the day with sensitivity as needed. This can be managed by video recording the events or by finding them on news streaming services.“
A sobering reality, but I intend to take heed. Plus, we will most likely watch a later feed anyway, since 12:00PM EST where I live is right in the middle of breakfast. Regardless of when we watch on Wednesday my 2-year-old will be disappointed to learn the Paw Patrol will not be performing at this year’s inauguration, so it is going to take creativity to get him involved. So, here are 3 ways to get your kids involved in Inauguration Day 2021.
1) PICTURE BOOKS
I picked a few picture books up at the library this past week about democracy and the role of the U.S. president. If you choose to do the same, perhaps read them at bedtime this week or when they start losing interest in the inauguration. My son has loved these books I picked up.
by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Greg Paprocki
A simple colorful board book that teaches what it means to participate in democracy. The same author also wrote, Baby Loves Political Science: Justice! and Baby Loves Political Science: Congress! Plus, Baby Love Political Science: The Presidency! coming out in April of this year. Requests to read this book have already surpassed ten, so I may proudly have a future politician on my hands.
by Catherine Stier, illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
This picture book puts a diverse group of kids behind the desk of the oval office. It brings kid humor, but also teaches grounded realities about the role of U.S. Presidents and the workings of the government. It strikes a perfect balance of fun and education in my opinion.
by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
When Grace learns in school that there have been no women presidents, she announces to her class she’d like to be president. So, the school holds an election. This book does an amazing job at simply teaching the entire democratic election process, including the electoral college. I think I learned a few things. Plus, there is also a second book entitled, Grace Goes to Washington.
These are just a few children’s picture books on democracy, and you might be able to find others, but reading about democracy and then watching democracy in the inauguration might work perfectly in engaging your little ones.
2) OTHER ONLINE RESOURCES
OurWhiteHouse.org — a division of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance has a downloadable Inauguration Celebration Kit. It is lengthly but informative on every part of the day for young, and old, as far as I’m concerned. For much younger kids though, you may just want to take a few pieces from it to share and discuss with you kids before and during Inauguration Day. There are even some fun activity ideas.
Scholastic suggests an outline for your child to write their own Inaugural Address. This is a great activity for older kids. Younger kids could always draw a picture of their ideas for America.
3) KID CONTENT NOW INAUGURATION BIDEN BINGO
Kid Content Now has made a fun BIDEN, inauguration BINGO card. While watching the inauguration, sit each kid down with a card. Use some American Flag stickers, or just pens to mark their squares and challenge them to find five in a row or better yet black-out the card. Perhaps have candy or some other prize, like “you pick Friday night dinner” or “one day of no chores,” if they win. That will certainly keep everyone engaged and learning.
January 20th, 2021 will, without a doubt, be a historic day. And not just because the inauguration is democracy in motion, or because the pandemic has brought change to inaugural traditions, or even what weight the recent capitol building insurrection will bring to the day, but because Kamala Devi Harris will become the United States’ first female and female of color vice-president. The thought alone makes me emotional. My parents witnessed history and remember where they watched American astronauts first land on the moon. I remember where I watched Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 when he became the United States’ first African American president. And when he reads with his kids in their history book about Kamala Harris and her historic vice-presidential inauguration, I hope my son remembers watching it with his mom.
If you download the Kid Content Now Inauguration BIDEN BINGO, please subscribe, share your marked up BIDEN BINGO cards on all your socials, and tag @kidcontentnow.
I really hope they bring some extra inaugural-fun!