9 Ways to Educate Kids About Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an important reminder about how crucial it is to educate our kids about civil rights and equality.

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Racial tension in the U.S have come to yet another head over the course of the last year. These events pose an important reminder that we need to find times to teach our children about equality, civil rights, and the struggle against racism all year round. Martin Luther King Day is a great opportunity to take the time to talk to our children about the man he was, the importance of equal civil rights and the continued fight for racial justice. 

We’re here to help you along the way with  resources to educate ourselves and our families, and grow in our understanding of racial inequity in this country. In honor of Martin Luther King day this year, we have put together a list of resources to help inspire your mini about the importance of these issues.

ACTIVITIES

The Egg Challenge – This challenge involves cracking one brown egg and one white egg on side-by-side paper plates to discover that they are the same inside despite their different appearances. Printables like this make it easy for your kiddo to engage with the challenge and reflect on how this emulates the racial narrative. 

Materials Needed: White egg, Brown Egg, Printed Papers, Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils

Printable Coloring Pages – Printables like this help your little ones to think about the values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a fun and approachable way. It prompts your mini to write about Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, how to be a good friend, and to color in icons of various important values such as peace and equality. 

Materials Needed: Printed Papers, Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils

“I have a dream” Activity – If you love to get really crafty with your babes, this one is for you. The blog “No Time for Flash Cards” has outlined a step-by-step of one mom’s go-to MLKJ activity that plays off of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. This one prompts your littles to think about the changes they would make in the world. 

Materials Needed: 2 Sheets of Paper per child, Blue and Green Paint, Red Glitter Glue, a Pencil, Marker, and Scissors.

BOOKS

Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton and Raul Colon follows the perspective of the daughter of Civil Rights activist, Andrew Young. 

Freedom on the Menu – The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford is a great story about a young girl, Connie, living in a Greensboro during the sit-ins, which black folks participated in as a protest of the town’s segregation. The book follows Connie as she comes to understand what is happening and how she can help change it. 

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. by Jean Marzello is an illustrated biography of Dr. King’s life in an approachable way for kids. 

MOVIES

March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World (2008) is a Scholastic DVD that is perfect for kids to listen to or watch while learning about the importance of Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights work. 

Our Friend, Martin is an animated movie which follows a young boy who travels back in time to learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. 

Melody 1963 is an American Girl Doll story that follows the life of a black ten-year-old girl during the Civil Rights Era in Detroit. 

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