May 12, 2020


Millions of children are stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, relying on their parents to function as part-time teachers in support of virtual classroom instruction. For parents looking for ways to educate and engage their children, it can be challenging to sort through the available options.

Here are five of the most interesting online resources we’ve seen to support at-home civics education.

Building on our work to prepare the next generation for the awesome responsibilities they bear in a democracy, this list features an exciting roundup of free civics education materials that will help parents with children of all ages begin to explore how to be informed, active citizens.

1. ‘Branches of Power’ by iCivics

Branches of Power, a free online game at iCivics, teaches kids about government by asking them to shepherd issues through the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Kids can download the game through the App Store or Google Play, or play directly on a computer with their web browser.

2. Smarthistory

Smarthistory, a play on art history, explores the history of the world through art. This interactive website has a category of free, immersive lessons on American history called Seeing America. Through various modules, Seeing America helps users explore national identity, social classes, politics, migration, and more. Users can also view content by date range, exploring decades of art seamlessly.

3. Annenberg Classroom’s ‘That’s Your Right

That’s Your Right is a challenging and fun electronic card game that helps students learn about their rights under the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The game has three levels of play—Easy, Normal, and Difficult—available, making it suitable for children of various ages and educational levels.

4. Statistics in Schools

Statistics in Schools requires a little more engagement from parents or older siblings but provides an excellent source for lesson plans, interactive activities, and a library of resources that are designed to bring the U.S. Census to life for students. Given that 2020 is a U.S. Census year, Statistics in Schools is a great way to introduce children to the role, history, and importance of this decennial civic activity.

5. The Living Room Candidate

A great resource for children who are interested in media, as well as upcoming first-time voters, The Living Room Candidate contains more than 300 commercials from every presidential election since 1952. The website allows students the opportunity to engage with the media behind presidential elections, and provides free, interactive lesson plans to help students understand political ads in a historical context.

These are just five of the many dozens of excellent civics education resources available, but they provide a great foundation for starting conversations with your children about the importance of citizenship formed by civic literacy. We will post new lists in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, please play responsibly...and remember to wash your hands.