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Undeniably one of the greatest civil rights leaders of all time, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is celebrated throughout the United States each year with a national holiday, a time to reflect on the innumerable contributions of Dr. King to the progress of human rights in the short 39 years he spent on this earth.

For parents and caregivers, the day off from work and school provides a perfect opportunity to teach kid about Dr. King’s accomplishments and how they’re still impacting the world today. The only problem? Outside of repeating what your kids are doing in school, many adults don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, if you’re looking for an easy way to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive with the kids in your life, these activities are a great place to start:

Top 5 Activities to Honor Martin Luther King With Young Kids

By Candice Shaffer of The Centrale, The Hayworth, Skyline Tower, 21 East 12th Street, EVGB, and 200 Amsterdam

Read the “I Have a Dream Speech”:

One of Dr. King’s most famous contributions to American culture, the “I Have a Dream Speech” is a prime example of the power of a few well-considered words. Luckily, Dr. King’s vision for equality is easily understood, even by young children. If you want to help your kids better understand Dr. King’s legacy, have them practice reading the speech and discuss what it means to them today—and why it was so important at the time when it was first delivered.

Block Letters saying Dream

Make a dream board:

To build on the reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech, have your kids cover a poster board with their dreams about what the world will look like in the future. Do they want world peace? Do they hope doctors and scientists will find cures for diseases? Do they want to eradicate homelessness? Let them paint a picture of what an ideal world looks like to them and discuss what steps you could take as a family to work toward them as you go.

Contribute to a social cause:

If you want to truly honor Dr. King’s legacy, there’s no better way to do so than to give back. Contribute to a local clean-up effort, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or have your kids set up a lemonade stand or sell some of their old toys to raise money for a civil rights organization like the ACLU.

Picture- Volunteers all with hands on top of each other.  Volunteering is a great way to teach children how to honor Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy

Do a civil rights word search:

Want to have some fun this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Create a civil rights word search for your kids. Include important names and words, like Rosa Parks, segregation, boycott, integration, and Brown v. Board of Education, to name a few. When your kids find a new word or concept in the word jumble you’ve created, talk about what those phrases mean and how they relate to the Civil Rights Movement.

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Make a civil rights superhero art project:

What is a civil rights leader like Dr. King if not a superhero in disguise? To help your kids better understand some of Dr. King’s contributions to the world at large, create a civil rights superhero costume.

Make a cape out of paper or scrap fabric that highlights all the values that made Dr. King so special—his willingness to stand up for marginalized groups and his fight for equality, for example—and write them on the cape with your kids, decorating it as you go.

Image- Child dressed like  super hero.

Top 5 Activities to Honor Martin Luther King With Young Kids

Raising informed, socially conscious kids starts with you. This Martin Luther King Day, celebrate one of the world’s most inspiring figures by teaching your kids about the myriad accomplishments of Dr. King. Who knows? You might just learn something new yourself.

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