Hop aboard the KidsPost campaign plane as we take you on a three-part journey to cover and explain the 2012 presidential campaign. (And no, for the record, we don’t really have our own plane, but here Mitt Romney plays with his grandkids on his campaign plane.) (Charles Dharapak/Associated Press)

Presidential elections happen every four years, so many of our readers may not remember the last one. (If you’re 9 now, you were only
5 for the 2008 election, and even in Washington there aren’t that many politically aware kindergartners.) So KidsPost has planned special coverage to explain what all the fuss is about. With each special section, we’ll have an activity that you can do so you can better understand how presidential campaigns work. We’ll also have quizzes at

September 30 — Debates: Explains the presidential debates and why they are important. If you can imagine taking a test where you could be asked science, math or history questions with 100 million people watching to see if you get it right, you have a sense of what a presidential debate is like.

October 14 — Campaign ads: If you watch TV in the Washington area, you’ve probably seen campaign ads for President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. Like ads for cereal or toys that make you want to buy a product, the goal of these commercials is to get you to vote for — or against — a certain candidate. After telling you more about such ads, we’ll encourage you to come up with your own campaign ads.

November 4 — Voting: On November 6, Americans will vote for president. Who can vote? Who does vote? Do all votes count equally? We’ll get you ready for Election Day (November 6) with a map of the United States that you can color as you watch the results come in.

Where you can learn more

Here are some places to find great, kid-friendly information about elections and the presidency. Always ask a grown-up (parent or teacher) before going online.

For kids: Nickelodeon has a Web site with kids talking about the issues, the job of the president and biographies of the candidates. You can check it out at www.nick.com/shows/ kids-pick-the-president.

The U.S. government has a kid-friendly site that includes a very cool, downloadable poster about how the president is chosen. It’s at www.kids.gov.

For teachers: The Washington Post’s Newspapers in Education Web site has many resources to use in the classroom. You can go to nie.washingtonpost.com and search such keywords as “election,” “campaign,” “debate” and “voting.”

PBS offers teachers videos, lesson plans and games related to the election through its PBS Learning Media site.