Main Content

Although the White House serves as the office for the President of the United States, it is also a home for the president, first lady, and their children. First families experience many of the same milestones and moments as all families do, and young children use the home like many kids do—for games, adventures, and fun!

  • On one memorable occasion, President Abraham Lincoln’s son, Tad, harnessed his goat, Nanko, to a chair and rode through the East Room during the middle of a reception.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt’s six children greatly enjoyed their time in the White House and turned it into their playground—they would slide down staircases on trays, move through hallways on stilts, and hide in planters to scare guests. His oldest daughter, Alice, frequently carried a small snake in her purse named Emily Spinach to the delight (and horror) of White House visitors.
  • On May 31, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford gave his daughter Susan permission to hold her senior prom in the White House East Room. Guests enjoyed refreshments and dancing at the event and decorations, including tablecloths and centerpieces, were arranged by Susan and her classmates.
  • Many presidential children have married at the White House. When President Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughter Lynda married Marine Captain Charles Robb in the White House East Room on December 9, 1967, she cut her wedding cake with a sword!
  • Many presidents have installed playground equipment on the White House Grounds for their children and grandchildren. For example, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s grandchildren often played in a sandbox on the South Grounds, Amy Carter had her own treehouse onsite, and the Kennedys had a trampoline installed for their children on the White House Lawn.
  • When incoming First Lady Michelle Obama visited outgoing First Lady Laura Bush at the White House in November 2008, she brought along her daughters Sasha and Malia to meet Mrs. Bush’s twin daughters Barbara and Jenna. Barbara and Jenna spent the afternoon with Sasha and Malia and showed them all the secrets of the White House, including how to slide down the banisters!

We've Also Been Asked...