Written by Maridel Reyes
For many kids, Martin Luther King Jr. day is just another day off school in January. But just because they’re not in school doesn’t mean that they can’t learn something. This weekend, teach them why King has monuments and holidays in his honor—and keep this American Civil Rights hero’s message of racial equality alive.
DIY “I Have a Dream” Coloring Book
This downloadable printout contains a coloring book that breaks down the meaning of King’s most famous speech for kids. On the last page is an empty thought bubble where kids can write or draw their own dreams. Get the PDF printout here.
Head over to YouTube, where you can show kids this cute music video with a slideshow of historic photos that will get them (okay, and you) clapping along. For older kids who can follow along, this video overlays King’s voice with the full text of “I Have a Dream.”
Younger children will love this activity: Make classic paper chains using black, white, red, yellow, and brown construction paper to represent the various skin tones found in America. Then, drive home the symbolism behind the craft and tell your child that each link represents a hand, and that the chain reminds us that King joined hands with people of all colors when he marched for freedom.
Some kids learn best when given a visual lesson. Teach kids about diversity using stuff you already have handy—eggs from your fridge. Get step-by-step instructions here.
Volunteer as a Family
Since MLK Day was intended to be a day of service and reflection, what better way to spend it than to volunteer in your community? The possibilities are endless—serve a meal at a shelter or soup kitchen, donate toys or other items to a charity— but what's important is that you and your family reflect on King's commitment to making the world a better place.