Presidential child's play: kids in the White House

WASHINGTON — There are going to be kids in the White House again!

The Obama sisters — Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 — will be moving in right after their dad, Barack Obama, is sworn in as the president on Jan. 20. He and their mother, Michelle, promised them a puppy, so there will be a new pet in the White House, too.

The last kid to live in the White House was Chelsea Clinton, who was 12 when her dad, Bill Clinton, became president in 1993. Before that was Amy Carter, who arrived at age 9 in 1977 with her dad, President Jimmy Carter. President Bush's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, were 19 when he and first lady Laura Bush moved in in 2001. Other kids have played in the halls of the White House in the past. Here are some of their stories.

President Abraham Lincoln's youngest son, Tad, was known for playing a lot of tricks in the White House. He was 7 when his dad became president in 1861, living in Washington during the Civil War. Tad had a kid-size Union uniform, and he "bombed" the door of the Cabinet room with a toy cannon, sometimes interrupting his father during meetings.

Tad once took two goats, attached them to a kitchen chair and went for a ride through the East Room, surprising his mother, who was there giving a tour. Another time he surprised everyone in the White House by finding a way to make all the bells ring at the same time.

  • Quentin Roosevelt was the fun-loving youngest of Theodore Roosevelt's six children, who all moved into the White House in September 1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley. Quentin, almost 4 at the time, liked to walk on stilts and roller-skate down the halls of the house. He once ran a toy wagon through a priceless full-size portrait of former first lady Lucy Webb Hayes. When his brother Archie was very sick, Quentin sneaked a pony up the White House elevator to cheer him up.
  • Theodore Roosevelt's eldest daughter, Alice, was 17 when she moved into the White House. She was rather wild. She smoked in public, carried a snake to parties and played poker. Her father once said that he could be president or control Alice, but he could not do both.
  • In 1961, President John F. Kennedy came to the White House with daughter Caroline, 3, and infant son John Jr., known as "John John." The young boy liked to hide under his father's desk — and was sometimes found there when his dad was conducting important business!
  • Susan Ford, the daughter of President Gerald Ford, was a teenager in the 1970s when she decided to escape her Secret Service protection, which is given to all presidential kids round-the-clock. When the White House gate was open, she drove her own car out without her Secret Service agents. She attended Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Md., and had her senior prom in the White House.
  • Amy Carter liked to play in a treehouse on the South Lawn. Once she brought books to a fancy state dinner and quietly read "The Story of the Gettysburg Address" and "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator" during the meal. A friendly senator tried to get her to stop reading and eat her spinach.
  • Chelsea Clinton ate dinner with her father and mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a room that used to be a butler's pantry, because the private dining room in the residence was too fancy. She took cooking lessons from the White House's head chef before she went to college.

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