Ideas for preparing kids for a White House tour?
June 30, 2014 4:55 PM   Subscribe

We're taking a White House tour -- yay! How can I get my kids excited (and informed) about it?

My kids are between the ages of 5 and 11. I'd like to think they're politically literate from listening to their parents talk about politics, but I spent most of our session last year taking a Capitol tour explaining (and repeating) that the Capitol is where Congress does its stuff, not where the President lives and works.

My last question about how to keep my kids interested on a trip was insanely helpful, BTW. Thanks, Hive Mind!
posted by QuantumMeruit to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We found with our kids (7-10) that it's just too early to get them interested in the big picture for more than a minute or two. Just focus on the smaller but still interesting stuff (statues, old artifacts, etc.).
posted by Etrigan at 5:00 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your 5-year-old might like "Woodrow, the White House Mouse."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:33 PM on June 30, 2014

The self-guided tours you get organized through your Senator are not that long nor, quite honestly, that interesting for kids. I mean, it's like touring a house. The uniformed Secret Service officers who are in each room are there officially to answer your questions, point out interesting features. Last time I was on the tour at the end of May, the officer in the East Room plucked the small children out of line and had them go over to red-velvet-ropes to get a closer look at the copy of the Landsdowne portrait, showing them "secret'/interesting features. It was pretty cute.
The truth is, though, walking through a mansion, looking at [interesting to me!] old furniture, paintings, and photographs is not that interesting. If I was a kid I'd have been more interested in the drug sniffing dog you walk by during the security screening.
posted by atomicstone at 5:35 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

The GWB Whitehouse had this kids page on, but which ceased being updated in mid-January 2009 for obvious reasons.

The Clinton Whitehouse had more of the same.

My only advice would be to manage expectations. The odds of seeing the first or second families are nearly zero.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:39 PM on June 30, 2014

I was supposed to go with a group as a kid (an NGO with government ties), and our tour got cancelled because of a ... Thing. So warn them that the president could have very important business to conduct and it might not happen at all.

(Gosh, we all sound so enthused...)
posted by wintersweet at 10:02 PM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had the opportunity to do very difficult to get West Wing tour a couple of months ago and even that I can't see being interesting to a 5 and 11 year old. Manage expectations, enjoy being in the air conditioning for an hour, and get some ice cream afterwards.
posted by COD at 6:47 AM on July 1, 2014

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