How To Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day With Your Kids

How To Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr Day With Kids

This year, as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s important to remember not only his legacy, but the work we must to do continue the march toward racial equality and equity in this country.

As the most prominent figure of the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. might have been best known for the powerful “I have a dream” speech he made in Washington D.C., but his life leading up to that moment was filled with many of the same complicated circumstances that led us to where we’re at today.

Luckily, it’s easier than ever to find resources to educate our children and ourselves with ways we can march in honor of this great American figure. It’s never too early to start teaching our kids about love and tolerance.


Here are some ideas for celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day according to age for getting the conversation started:


Ages 0-4

Books are always a great door for learning, especially in the early ages of childhood. Whether you prefer fiction or nonfiction, hardcover or paperback, there are countless books written in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here’s a great list of books recommended by PBS you can read with your little one. If you’re child is old enough to have a conversation, ask them how they felt about the topics in the book and how it made them feel.


Elementary School Kids

Ask your kids if they know any Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quotes and find which speeches they originate from for the full context of his words. Too often, the well-meaning lessons taught to students gloss over the integral message he was conveying to his audience and beyond.

Teaching Tolerance, a resource for social justice and anti-bias, has great insights for how to teach about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. beyond the cliché and into deep meaningful dialogue about race, his movement and acts of social justice.


Middle and High School Kids

Did you know that MLK Jr. Day is considered the only federal holiday intended as a day of service to inspire all Americans to improve their communities? Have your middle and high school aged kids put their phones down and honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service in your community.

Orange County nonprofits are always looking for a helping hand, especially during this pandemic as more of our neighbors need help than ever. For a list of opportunities in Orange County visit OneOC, a collective of nonprofits and businesses striving to help philanthropic organizations thrive. Celebrate King’s life and legacy through community service with your family and help make the world a bit of a better place.


Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his life shouldn’t only happen one day a year, however. Instead, we should always be learning how to dismantle systemic racism and working to bring racial equality and equity to light.


Having discussions about the civil rights movement is important, but doing the anti-racist work to promote racial equity now is vital to the health and well-being of our Black brothers and sisters. It also builds critical thinking skills, compassion, and empathy for the world around them. It’s critical as parents we examine the moments of the movement Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. created and educate about the change our children can be in this world.

How will you be celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year?