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Presidents Day: Political Pinbacks

A successful campaign involves making TV and newspaper ads, having a social media presence, and creating items like posters, buttons, and flyers. 

While Abraham Lincoln was the first president to strategically use buttons in his campaign in the 1860 presidential election, campaign buttons have been used since George Washington’s time when people wore metal pins with his initials and short phrases. Buttons are also used today as a way to show support for a cause and are often worn on backpacks or clothing. Throughout history, buttons have been used to protest wars, support the rights of discriminated against groups, and to advocate for the protection of Earth among other things.

Think of a cause you are passionate about and create your own button to advocate for it!


  • Cardstock Paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Coloring materials
  • Tape or safety pin


  1. Find an item with a circle that you can trace to make your button. A cup from your kitchen can work. Trace a circle on your paper and cut it out.
  2. Think of a cause you care about. Brainstorm a slogan and some symbols you will use for your button.
  3. Decorate your button.
  4. Wear your button. You can tape the button to your shirt or backpack or a grownup can help you attach your button with a safety pin.

Homemade campaign buttons with The Children's Museum of Indianapolis


  • What are some key issues discussed in political debates? Have they always been the most important issues debated? Which of these are you the most passionate about?
  • What can colors and symbols on buttons tell us? Are there identifiable colors and symbols in political campaign materials? Think: An elephant and a donkey as well as red and blue to identify the Republican and Democratic Party.
  • - How else can someone show their support for a candidate or a cause? Think: bumper stickers, yard signs, and clothing such as hats and T-shirts.

While we often think of political commercials as the primary means of a candidate expressing themselves, campaign buttons have been a fixture in American elections for generations. Buttons have also been used to advocate for a cause someone is passionate about.

Share your buttons with us by using #TCMatHome on social media!