Playing the ‘I Have a Dream‘ speech is a perfect introduction to the significance of Martin Luther King Jr.. Last year my sons were 3.5 and 2 years old. My older son had a few questions but we didn't go very much in depth on the topic of equality, peace and diversity. Anti-bias is a big topic. I want to make sure we approach the ideas thoughtfully and respectfully. So our activities last year planted seeds for later conversations about equality, peace and diversity. With that thinking, I came up with this plan for a day with kids including several Martin Luther King Jr. Activities.
Martin Luther King Jr. Activities
Create the Environment
My plan this year is to probe a bit deeper. We will listen to MLK's famous speech. I will ask my children how the words made their bodies feel to tap their ongoing emotional development. Then I will show a picture of MLK to my boys and ask them to describe who they see. I want to get a benchmark. Do they see the differences, understand the impacts (both positive and negative) of these differences? I will give them a bit if background on equal rights as they guide me to do so.
Plan an Activity
My plan is to prepare an art project, like this Fingerprint Dove, to do together. Hopefully, then, the conversation will occur more naturally. Additionally, one of my favorite books on this topic is called All the Colors of the Earth (Mulberry Books) by Sheila Hamanaka. I highly recommend picking up this book. Your local library should have a copy but it is definitely worth owning. While we work on the dove and read the book I suspect my boys will have questions.
*Other recommended Martin Luther King Jr. books for kids include The Story of Martin Luther King Jr., National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr. (Readers Bios), and A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Picture Book Biography).
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Activities
- Round up of great activities for Martin Luther King Jr. Week
- Anti-Bias Activity for Preschoolers
- Eight Ways to Bring Culture and Diversity into your Home and Classroom
- I love this diversity activity we did for Earth Day to celebrate all the unique people and places around the world.
Children are very capable of understanding big topics and of working with biases in a positive and productive way. Celebrations like Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a perfect opportunity to open to the door to learning already ripe for igniting in a child.