Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Kids

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many kids look forward to a day off from school, but do they understand the significance and importance of the holiday?  
While you’re enjoying the extra time with family, consider including some meaningful activities to help your little ones understand who Dr. King was, and the integral role he played in the civil rights movement. 


Here are a few ideas:

1. Color pictures or create works of art — especially beneficial for your tiniest student, introducing Martin Luther King, Jr. using visuals and hands-on fun, is a great way to lay a foundation for learning. Pinterest is our favorite site for ideas and printables!

2. Read books — your local library is the perfect resource for finding age appropriate books about MLK or social injustice. Some may even offer other MLK related resources and events. Scholastic has also compiled lists of Picture Books, Early Readers, and Books for Ages 10 and Up all about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

3. View Dr. King’s speeches on YouTube—best for older kiddos who can understand the message, the famous speeches are truly impressive to witness.

4. Participate in local parades, walks or service opportunities— things are a little different due to Covid, but be sure to check out some of the Dayton and Cincinnati area MLK events happening this year.

5. Watch a movie— older kids and teens might find a movie about social injustice to be educational and enlightening. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is just one example that has stood the test of time.

6. Visit a museum— you’ll get an important history lesson at The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which will help contextualize King’s place and presence in 1960s America. There will also be a commemorative march in honor of Dr. King, which starts at the Freedom Center at 10:30 am.

7. Volunteer together— Dr. King dedicated his life to serving others. Find a way for your family to make an impact on your community.

8. Talk!— whether on it’s own, or as a vital supplement to any of the activities listed in this article, opening up a dialogue with your kids about the significance of Martin Luther King Day, is the simplest and possibly most effective way to honor him this holiday weekend.

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