For parents, family members, teachers, librarians, and community leaders

OUR WHITE HOUSE. Illustration © 2008 by A. G. Ford. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.
OUR WHITE HOUSE. Illustration © 2008 by A. G. Ford. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance has created this Inauguration Celebration Kit for Kids to assist all adults who live and work with young people to engage with our kids in informed discussions about the presidency and American government, teach them to think critically, and energize them to learn more about the political process in America—using the presidency and inauguration as the focus. This Kit includes:

  • Exclusive articles covering such topics as why presidential inaugurations are held on January 20th, the oath of office, inaugural parades, and how Thomas Jefferson’s first inauguration helped unite the country following a bitter election battle.
  • Hands-on activities to use with young people in the classroom or at home, such as ideas for designing a parade float, hosting an inaugural ball for kids, and writing poetry.
  • Games to engage kids in this year’s inauguration, such as “Inaugural I Spy.”
  • Discussion questions you can share during class, around the dinner table, and at a club meeting.

Some of the ideas and activities provided in this Kit coordinate with the content and illustrations in Our White House, but most can be used independently of the book.

We believe you know the kids with whom you live and work far better than we do, so we leave to your judgment the articles and activities that best serve the needs and ages of the young people in your life. We invite you to print content from this site as needed or to browse these pages using your smart phone, tablet computer, or laptop while on the go.

To display and download an easy-to-print PDF version of this kit, click here.


Table of Contents

Editor’s Note: 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.

In addition, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has required major changes to inaugural activities. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has announced that the 2021 inauguration will be orchestrated mostly as a virtual event with no large public gatherings. President Biden and Vice President Harris will be sworn in at the West Front of the Capitol as is traditional. Other events will take place across the country and be broadcast on television and online.

This new interpretation of the inaugural activities provides a perfect educational opportunity for young people, teachers, and parents to COMPARE and CONTRAST how inaugural events were organized in the past to how they will be organized this year when our nation is experiencing a public health crisis. We encourage you to use these materials in creative ways to maximize their educational impact with the young people in your lives.

Click a link to display the article content.

Why Are Presidential Inaugurations Held on January 20th?
The Presidential Oath of Office
Americans Love a Parade
United by Voice and Vision: Thomas Jefferson’s First Inauguration, March 4, 1801
Come One, Come All! How Technology Transformed Inauguration Day
Activities and Discussion Questions for Young People

• Play “Inaugural I Spy”
• Design a Parade Float
• Inaugural Themes and Art
• Host an Inauguration Poetry Reading
• Write Poems Celebrating the Presidential Inauguration
• Bibles and Relics: Connecting with Past Presidents
• In His or Her Words: Listening to the Inaugural Speech
• Design the Oval Office
• Host a Kids’ Inaugural Ball! Ideas and Activities
• Create a Political Cartoon
• Visit a Presidential Historic Site, Library, or Website

Presidential Fact Files
First Lady Fact Files
Presidents, the President’s House, and More: A Select List of Books (and a Few Web Sources) for Children and Young Adults
Great Presidential Inauguration Websites
Learn More About the Presidents and Inaugurations


Learn More About the Presidents and Inaugurations

For more information about presidents and inaugurations, check out the following books and resources:

Books

Bendat, Jim. Democracy’s Big Day: The Inauguration of our President 1789-2009. New York:
iUniverse Star, 2008.
Grimes, Nikki. Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope. New York: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2008.
The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance. Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2008.
Santella, Andrew. U.S. Presidential Inaugurations. New York: Children’s Press, 2002.

Online Resources

“From George Washington to George Bush, Speeches and Parades, Dances and Tradition.”
<http://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/21/politics/1989inaug-history.html>

“George Washington, First Inauguration, April 30, 1789.”
https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/inaugurations/washington/index.html

“George Washington gives first presidential inaugural address.”
https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/george-washington-gives-first-presidential-inaugural-address

“Inaugural History.” <www.pbs.org/newshour/inauguration/history.html>

“Inaugural Luncheon.” https://www.inaugural.senate.gov/inaugural-luncheon/

“Inaugurals of Presidents of the United States: Some Precedents and Notable Events.”
<http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/pihtml/pinotable.html>

“The Inauguration of George Washington, 1789.” https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/inaugurations/washington/index.html

“Laura Bush on Michelle Obama’s WH Visit.”
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/President44/Story?id=6307674&page=1

“Malia Obama Calls Dibs on Lincoln’s Desk: Obama Talks to Barbara Walters About Homework, History and Happy Family.”
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/President44/story?id=6339711&page=1

“Obama To Use MLK, Lincoln Bibles During Oath At Presidential Inauguration.”
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/obama-using-mlk-lincoln-b_n_2447174.html>

“Oval Office Makeover.”
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2010/08/obamas-oval-office-has-new-look/1

“Oval Office Makeover.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/31/oval-office-makeover_n_700495.html

“The White House Historical Association: Traditions and Transitions.”
<http://www.whitehousehistory.org/whha_press/press_feature-transitions.html>

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