Creative Child

Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day

by Erin J. Bernard on Jan 13th, 2015

Mark those calendars! Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is coming up, and we’ve got a list of fun, kid-approved ways to honor this American hero and further the quest for civil rights. Read on and let freedom and equality ring!

 Kids Activities Martin Luther King Jr. Black History Freedom

1. Organize a peace march.

Dr. King encouraged citizens to take to the streets to actively demonstrate their commitment to the civil rights cause. Why not put together your own, pint-sized march for peace? If weather permits, bundle up and head out into the neighborhood equipped with bells for ringing and flags for waving (see “peace flag” instructions below.) Kids might even go door-to-door handing out peace ribbons or another small keepsakes to neighbors. 

2. Hear the Reverend speak.

Most older kids know a bit about Dr. King and his quest for civil rights, but hearing the words straight from the man’s own mouth is a powerful experience. Find a recording of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech online and listen as a family. Ask kids to note their favorite lines and imagery as they listen, then discuss its meaning.

3. Make a peace flag.

For a high-flying reminder of Dr. King’s work, make a family peace flag. Hang it in a prominent place in your home as a constant reminder of the importance of peace and freedom.

You’ll need:

• A piece of poster-board

• Markers/crayons

• Heavy tape

• A broom handle or long stick for a pole

Method:

• Tell children about Dr. King’s vision for a more peaceful world.

• Write at the top of the poster board in large letters, “Peace is…”

• Invite children to list and draw the images and symbols that come to mind.

• Secure the poster board to the pole with two long strips of tape running up each side and let your flag fly high!

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4. Have an indoor candlelight equality vigil.

The struggle for civil rights is far from over. Discuss the importance of standing up for the oppressed, then ask children to share one change they’d like to see in the world. Light votive candles together and observe a few moments of silence in honor of Dr. King and those who continue his fight today.

5. Teach an edible lesson in diversity.

A carton of Neapolitan (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry) ice cream can impart a powerful lesson in diversity. Open the carton and examine the trio of colors with your kids, pointing out that although they appear different, they exist together in harmony. Have kids serve themselves a scoop of each flavor and encourage them to experiment with blending the colors together. Then, raise your spoons to the beauty of human diversity.

6. Perform an act of service.

Bring the history lesson into the present by participating in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. This relatively new initiative encourages families to make MLK Day a day “on” and not a day “off” by performing community service. To find out more, visit the government’s National Service website, or have your kids organize their own charitable act, such as making cookies for a neighbor or babysitting.  

7. Read about Dr. King.

These picture books not only are educational, but also include wonderful illustrations of the events from Dr. King's life. Share in reading out loud or allow your children to go solo and tell you about what they have read.

Kids Activities Martin Luther King Jr. Black History Freedom Kids Activities Martin Luther King Jr. Black History Freedom Kids Activities Martin Luther King Jr. Black History Freedom

For More Great Crafts and Activities to celebrate Dr. King and his legacy, check out these websites:

civilrights.org

www.mumsmakelists.com

www.nationalservice.gov

 

Some links contain affiliate links to Amazon.com for your purchasing convenience.

Erin J. Bernard is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer from Portland, Oregon. Before becoming a writer, Erin worked as a nanny and an ESL classroom teacher. She taught English at a Montessori school in Mexico and then ran an after-school language program in South Korea. Erin is the editor of the parenting guide, “Instructions Not Included: A Pediatrician’s Prescription for Raising the Best Kids on the Block,” written by Irwin H. Berkowitz, MD.

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