Make a Ballot Box

Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote by Andrea Beaty is the story of a girl and her second-grade class learning about the importance of their voices in their communities. For those voracious readers, this early chapter book is a great way to start a conversation around democracy and representation in your house. 

This activity guide, inspired by the book above, will help guide you through building a ballot box for your own home!

STEP 1 - Gather Your Materials

  • Paperboard/product box (like for cereal, tissue, etc). Choose one that can fit lots of ballots.
  • Scissors. To cut paper and cardboard.
  • Tape. To help seal the edges and attach parts of the box to the poster.
  • Colorful paper, fabric, unwanted mailers, catalogs, magazines, or junk mail. To cover the box and make it colorful.
  • Markers/Crayons. To decorate the box and or campaign poster.
  • Glue stick or any glue. To glue the scrap color paper to the sides of the scrap box.


* Hot glue gun
* Canary cutter
* A long stick-type object, like a skewer, a pencil, or a tightly rolled up piece of paper.

list of materials needed for this activity

STEP 2 - What is your design?

Look at these early Ballot Boxes and all of the unique designs people have used to cast a vote! Look around your house for things that may work for a box or other container. It’s important for your Ballot Box to be secure and keep your vote safe. How does security work for your ballot box design? Where do you drop the ballots and how do you collect them? When voting is done, how do you count them?

Make a drawing of what you want your Ballot Box to look like.


STEP 3 - What does it need?

Challenges: Where will you drop the ballots? What do you use for the ballots? Traditionally they were clay balls then paper. How do you avoid someone tampering with the ballots once they are cast? How do you retrieve the ballots?

The Ballot Box needs an opening to cast the Ballots, an internal, secure place to store them, and a way to retrieve the cast ballots for counting.

This example uses a cracker box that has been taped closed. You could also glue or find another way to secure your Ballot Box.

To make it look like a Ballot Box, this example has colorful paper taped to the outside. Adding paper helps give a cover that you can draw on and decorate.

There is a door cut along three sides so that it hinges open and the ballots can be removed and counted. How do you want yours to open?

Look at your Box and cut or add hole.

The ballot slot was then marked and cut out. Where do you want to make your ballot deposit opening?

You can decorate with anything you want, this one includes a big sign to tell you what it is! It also has a sticker for the “Safety Seal” to be opened AFTER the election. Do you want a safety seal or some other way to lock the box?

Some ideas for your Home Vote

  • Vote on a side dish for Friday dinner!
  • Vote on a Movie Night theme!
  • Vote on who will be the “Boss for the Day”!

Read “Sofia Valdez and the Vanishing Vote”, to get ideas for your home campaign posters.  Have fun!

Going Further

Ballot boxes are always evolving. Ballot machines count and tabulate votes, digital voting machines are the latest tech and we still debate on their safety.

For Adult Helpers

Using hot glue and cardboard cutters can be challenging and require lots of supervision and focus. Visit the Techniques tab in reDiscover Center's Pedagogy Resources to access our Tiny Techniques videos and get tips for working safely and efficiently with tools.

Scroll to top