Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with Your Kids

The Bay Area is a wonderful place to celebrate the impact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Check out these nine ways to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King at home or out and about.

Watch or listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches. This is an inspiring activity for older kids and teens. The “I Have a Dream” speech is about 17 minutes long; you can listen or watch on YouTube along with some of Dr. King’s other famous speeches. Follow up with a discussion about what Dr. King’s message means to your child and you.

Visit local monuments, parades, exhibitions or attend celebrations created in honor of Dr. King. With many events being held in-person again this year, there are a large selection to choose from.

Read a book or watch a movie about diversity, equity and inclusion. You can honor Dr. King’s legacy by choosing children’s books about anti-racism, social justice and more.

Talk about racial inequality and social justice with your child. Research shows that talking with children about these topics has a lasting positive impact on a child’s development.

Read a children’s book about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. Your local library is a great resource for these.

For younger kids, make a “Peace” craft. Use art and creativity to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy of peace and love. Draw and color peace signs to hang in your window, paint a dove using your child’s hand print, or create a heart garland to drape over the front door.

Plant a tree as a living tribute to MLK. While planting discuss King’s belief that a society grows great when men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Progress, like a tree, needs time to take root.

Create your own day of service. Consider the day as a “day on not a day off.” Americorps has been leading the charge for the last quarter century. Take time to visit americorps.com with your child and learn more about how you can create your own event and encourage kids in your community to volunteer and be of service–because serving others has a profound positive benefit on those who volunteer. 

Discuss your kids dreams. Talking to your children about their hopes and dreams, both big and small, will be a meaningful catalyst for important family discussions.