Friday, October 26, 2018

Political Canvassing with Kids: Free Physical, Intellectual, Social, and Civic Education!

Kids are better canvassers than adults, but Google only came up with two results when I looked up "canvassing with kids."  Canvassing for a candidate is when you knock on doors on behalf of a political campaign to talk to potential voters about your candidate.  Going door-to-door is the best way for a candidate to gain voters.  Why are kids better canvassers?  Potential voters would rather talk to them than adults!

Kids can have fun canvassing.  For my 5-year old kid, canvassing for New York State Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes through StreetsPAC was one big game, and my 7-year old enjoys it, too.  The objective of the game is to talk to potential voters and to do that, you have to find the home, run up the steps, ring the doorbell, speak to people or leave campaign literature.  You tally the homes you visited to find out you won the game no matter what.

Kids enjoy the game, but there are also hidden benefits in canvassing:  Family bonding, getting exercise, working as a member of a team, practicing numbers, increasing social interaction with all types of people, learning about civic engagement, and feeling connected to the political process, which many people find abstract.

There is a lot of walking up lots of stairs, skipping along the sidewalks, strolling blocks, jumping to reach the buzzers.  It doesn't seem like work because there's a surprise at each door.  Will they be home?  Will they have a dog?  What will they say?

My daughter was thrilled to find the next residence, open the gates, knock on the doors and figure out the best way to leave the campaign literature behind (but don't put it in the mailbox because it's illegal).