6 Easy Ways to Celebrate Civil Rights With Your Kids on MLK Day

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How to Celebrate MLK Jr. Day

Do your kids have today off school? While they might be enjoying sleeping in or having extra time to enjoy toys they received at Christmas, the hope of this holiday, of course, is that families would find a way to honor important figures in our nation’s memory in a way that connects with kids.

To help with this goal, we’ve compiled a few activities and tips to help you get these important conversations started with your family.

5 Easy Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day With Your Kids

  1. You might start, as a parent, by educating yourself about the meaning of the MLK Jr. holiday here at the King Center website.
  2. Take a few minutes to pause and introduce (or remind) your child to Martin Luther King Jr.’s life work and message. Here’s a video about MLK Jr. by Brain Pop, a hand drawn video for kids, a summary video by Kid President,  and here’s LeVar Burton reading MLK Jr.’s life story on Reading Rainbow.
  3. Print out coloring pages, worksheets, word searches, crosswords, and other free activities that teach additional facts about Martin Luther King Jr. and reinforce his core message. You can find some free ones from Activity Village, Teacher Vision, ABC Teach, Enchanted Learning, K12 Reader, Cupcake for the Teacher, and Education World.
  4. Spend some time talking about how Martin Luther King Jr.’s life message applies to you and your child’s life. For kids who are old enough to write, you might have them journal or write a short essay using writing prompts from the Holiday Zine or Journal Buddies. For younger children, choose a prompt that they can create a picture to illustrate.
  5. Create one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite recipes for a snack or meal today. You can find recipes at Scrumptious Chef, Babble, Social Moms, Five Star Home Foods, and Bella Online.
  6. In the spirit of MLK Jr., get involved in bettering your community with some of these or other community service ideas.

Go Beyond a Simple One Day Celebration Though

Don’t limit talk about Martin Luther King Jr.’s life work to MLK Kr. Day or African American History Month. And while it’s important to center on the civil rights conversation as it relates to different races, make a point to also remember MLK Jr’s emphasis on gender stereotypes, income inequality, and privilege.  And finally, while you’re talking, please make a point to talk about how racism is not just a problem from PAST history, but that it still has deep reaching effects into society today.

Originally Published 1/18/2016

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