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Here’s a roundup of 40 great ideas for Martin Luther King Day kids’ activities.
Martin Luther King Day activities
Martin Luther King Day provides a wonderful opportunity to focus on the best in all of us.
Not just with activities that help us reflect on the bravery it takes to overcome injustice but through a day of actual volunteering.
So much has changed since King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
And as the years pass it becomes harder for new generations to understand what life was like before Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.
So it is even more important to use Martin Luther King day to encourage children to be active historians.
And secondly, to actually go out and research the ordinary memories of life before the civil rights movement and of the momentous changes Martin Luther King helped to bring about from the generations who do remember.
I have collected here a whole list of different activities that hopefully explore all these different aspects of Martin Luther King Day.
Take a look at the list and get inspired for ways in which you and your family can celebrate the life of this great man.
Martin Luther King Day ideas for kids activities
- Volunteer for the day as a family or class or with friends and pledge to volunteer throughout the year
- Listen to excerpts of Martin Luther King speeches
- Talk about how MLK uses imagery in his speeches
- Write “I Have a Dream” or “We Shall Overcome” speeches
- Watch footage of the March on Washington
- Organise a sponsored walk or “march” and make speeches outdoors at the end
- Create MLK patchwork – decorate paper squares around themes of peace, love, freedom, equality with side holes that are then connected up with ribbon or string
- Make chains of paper dolls to symbolise people living in peace
- Talk about times when we have to be brave, what it feels like to be brave and what we can do to help ourselves be brave
- Create personal I have a dream posters
- Make murals of different coloured hand prints
- Read about Martin Luther King’s life – popular biographies for kids include Who Was Martin Luther King?, Martin’s Big Words, I Have a Dream
- Create timeline of Martin Luther King’s life
- Interview older members of the family or friends about what they remember about life in the 1950s and 1960s and the civil rights movement and record their memories
- Write letters to MLK as if alive telling him about the changes that have happened since his death
- Read books that celebrate diversity such as All the Colors of the Earth, Whoever You Are, We’re Different We’re the Same
- Create peace doves from multi-coloured finger prints
- Collect old photos from the 1950s and 1960s and make a collage with pictures of MLK
- Make posters about how life has changed since the 1950s and 1960s
- Read newspaper cuttings from 1963 covering MLK’s I Have a Dream speech
- Talk about whether things are just or unjust
- “We’re all the same on the inside” brown & white egg experiment
- Create multi-cultural stick puppets
- Read about life before the civil rights movement in books such as Hear My Cry
- Make peace themed lunch boxes
- Talk about non violence and other leaders who have achieved great change without violence
- MLK word search
- Write acrostic poems around words such as peace, bravery, dream, overcome
- Learn and sing We Shall Overcome
- Create a peace wall from hand prints
- Create a kindness jar
- Colouring a rainbow with MLK image and quotation
- Create MLK inspired peacemaker badges
- Create a flap book about being a peacemaker
- Create a Martin Luther King quiz
- Make a freedom bell
- Create a map of key events in MLK’s life and the civil rights movement
- Make the world’s a rainbow post card
- Watch films of MLK’s life and work such as the original documentary From Montgomery to Memphis or the History Channel’s King
- Research and write about other members of the civil right’s movement whose personal bravery and service made a difference
I hope you’ve found at least one activity in this list that will work for you and your kids.
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