As we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this week, we have the opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and to dwell on how his vision relates to our world today. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life serves as inspiration for many Christians.
Raised by a Baptist minister, Dr. King was inspired by the Bible to stand up in love and nonviolence to bring social reform. How can we teach our children Dr. King’s story and encourage them to make a difference? In this article, I will share a few resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for kids.
National Geographic Kids has an article about key points of Dr. King’s life that includes pictures. This resource helps children in elementary school to visualize the important events in Dr. King’s life.Pictures of Dr. King with his family will also help them to connect with his story on a more personal level.
Social Studies for Kids has a more detailed article with some supplementary pictures. This resource is great for those in upper elementary and beyond. The article gives more specific information about Dr. King as a person: his upbringing, his education, his ministry, and his work with civil rights.
The Atlantic posted a reprint of an interview with Dr. King from 1964. This resource gives older students the opportunity to read some of Dr. King’s thoughts on nonviolence and his personal experiences; the transcript can be read on the website linked above.Reading Dr. King’s words will make his beliefs come alive, and can be a unique way to bring understanding on Martin Luther King, Jr. day for kids who are older.
How would you change the world? The first activity includes several steps. First, your child will need to paint the world on a sheet of paper; once dry, he or she will cut the paper into a circle. Next, have your child trace his or her handprint, cut it out, and write his or her dream onto the hand. Glue the hand onto the world and let it dry. Encourage your child to take steps to work towards his or her goal. This is a great way to personalize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for kids who are younger.
Talking about diversity with playdough. This activity helps young children to understand what diversity is, and to relate to the need for diversity. Make several colors of playdough. Talk to your child about how each color of playdough has the same appearance, texture, and smell. Help him or her relate this to how people may look different, but inside they are all the same.
What are your dreams? This activity asks children to share their dreams for themselves, their world, and their community. The PDF includes cutouts for your child’s name and dreams; the cutouts can be used to create a mobile. This activity can be modified for use with older children as well; after you ask them to write a description of their dreams for themselves, their world, and their community, talk with them about the next step they need to take to realize their dreams.
I hope that these resources help you and your family learn more about Dr. King’s life and how his vision impacts our lives today. What other ideas do you have for lessons about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for kids? Please share your ideas in the comment section below.