Ever since the kids were small, they’ve heard us discuss Martin Luther King, Jr. We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day because it is very special to us. We believe in equality, and this historic activist’s message was always about inclusion and unity so it’s important for us to celebrate him. It’s also special because my husband shares a birthday with Martin Luther King Jr. – so it’s double the celebration in our home!
Sharing history that impacts our mixed-heritage family is very important to us. We’ve made it a point to be open about the history the kids will discuss in school. It’s always been critical that they learn as much at home as they do at school about moments in history as they pertain to our heritage and traditions.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is truly a celebration for us because we get to celebrate the life of a man who did so much for equality. We are proud to celebrate this holiday and continue to remember what he did for our America. We share it with our kids through books, playtime, crafts, and trips. We try to make learning fun and always bring it down to their level of understanding.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Kids
Make crafts that can help share a part of Martin Luther King Jr.’s story. You can celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by making an “I have a dream” poster. First, our kids learned about the great speech he gave at the historic march in Washington, D.C. in 1963. We then made posters and discussed their dreams. My kids shared fun dreams they had, such as wanting to be a doctor, going to NYC, and even seeing the Purple Star. The activity sparked the conversation and planted the seed to learn about this famous African American.
My kids have always loved visual and hands-on stories, especially when they were preschoolers. So I created a Martin Luther King Jr. story felt board. I loved being able to tell Martin Luther King Jr.’s story through felt pieces that represented part of his story. I then sat back and let them tell me a story using the same board. I asked questions and it was fun to hear their thoughts on how a story should be told.
Every year, we purchase a new book that features this historic figure for our home library. Even though they’ve read them before, we go back and reread them. My son now understands a lot more. He can read the books on his own. He remembers things we’ve discussed. Pick a book from this list of 14 Martin Luther King Jr. books and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by gifting one to your kid!
A few years ago, we planned a trip to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It was an emotional trip for me because it made everything I had learned a reality. I was able to not only record our trip, but also experience it with my kids. They still remember the trip and it was one of the best things my husband and I could have done to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History with our family.
Now that the kids are in school, we have more family discussions about what they learn. Our daughter seems to be the one most impacted by what she learns at school. Recently, she came home upset after a story they read at school. She knew the outcome but she was upset that kids like her weren’t allowed to go to the nice schools and that people were so mean. Even after all the discussions, crafts, stories, and trips we’ve taken she is slowly understanding and piecing everything together. We provide a safe space where we listen to her voice how she feels. It’s a way of us celebrating and keeping Martin Luther King Jr.’s story alive. He’s not often discussed and we refuse to forget the great efforts he made for equality and a better country.
Do you celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Let us know how!
This post is part of our series Martin Luther King Day for Kids, where we share resources for teaching children about the legacy of Dr. King.
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- 5 Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Kids - January 11, 2016