5 Ways to Celebrate MLK Day with Young Learners

5 Ways to Celebrate MLK Day with Young Learners

**Free MLK Day Activity Pack included!

Each year, on the third Monday in January, we celebrate the life and legacy of the monumental civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As parents and educators, we want to ensure that children understand the importance of Dr. King's work and how it applies to their lives. Here are five engaging ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Day with your young learner!


1. Read Books about Dr. King

Reading books about Dr. King is one of the best ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Day with young learners because, well…kids love to read! Look for biographies and picture books that describe the important work and events Dr. King was involved in during his life. A few favorites...

  • I am Brave: A Little Book about Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer is a short and simple story that’s perfect for teaching our littlest learners about the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This cute rhyming book is easy to read, features kid-friendly language, and includes colorful illustrations that are sure to keep little ones entertained.
  • Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport is a beautifully illustrated, award-winning biography that tells the story of Martin Luther King, Jr. from his childhood through the momentous day when he led America's largest civil rights march in Washington, D.C. Quotes from Dr. King are woven throughout the book to bring his story to life!
  • Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo is a great book to read with young learners to celebrate the MLK Day holiday. It includes simple, straightforward text that makes it easy for children to engage with and understand the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King.


2. Watch His Legendary “I Have a Dream” Speech

As you know, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a gifted orator. Even as a child, he learned the power of his own words and how they could move people to take action. Dr. King started using the phrase “I Have a Dream” at least nine months before he delivered the iconic speech in front of thousands at the March on Washington. His speech, which was improvised the day of the march, has become one of the most famous and widely celebrated in American history.

Watch the legendary “I Have a Dream” speech for Martin Luther King Day, or break it down into more digestible chunks that young children can understand. Discuss with children what a powerful influence one person can have, and how words alone can inspire great change. 


3. Make a Peace Quilt

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life was filled with peace and hope for the future of America. He believed that peace amongst all races was possible, and he dedicated his life to ensuring it. Dr. King worked to advance civil rights until his untimely death in 1968, but not before leaving behind a legacy of compassion and hope for future generations.

Make a “Peace Quilt” with your young learners to celebrate Dr. King and his dream for a more peaceful and equal world. Cut white paper or cloth into 8-inch squares, then have children write or illustrate something they hope for or think about on their squares (for example: “I wish all people were treated nicely” or “I hope there are no more wars.”) Once children finish their square, attach the squares together to create a community quilt. These would be super cute to display in a classroom!


4. Perform an Act of Service

Martin Luther King Day is the perfect time to teach kids about compassionate acts of service, both to honor Dr. King's legacy and because it's always nice to do something special for others! Here are a few ways you can get involved with your kids:

  • Plant a tree in your neighborhood or school yard
  • Feed the homeless
  • Donate books to a shelter
  • Make cards for residents at a retirement home
  • Adopt a highway or walkway and clean up litter

The possibilities for acts of service are endless!


5. Discover New Things About Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lastly, to honor Dr. King's life and legacy, take the time to discover new things about him!

Our Legendary Leaders - Black History Flashcards teach children about some of the most influential leaders in history. Created by a teacher with young readers in mind, our flashcards are designed to promote reading, cognitive, and language skills. Our cards can even be used as a game where players try to guess the person based on their facts – the names are written upside down on the bottom of each card! Enjoy learning about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, and more with our Legendary Leaders - Black History Flashcards. Only at www.ABSeeMe.com!



Martin Luther King Day (and the other 364 days of the year!) is a great time to teach young learners about the life and legacy of the iconic civil rights leader. This year, give your kiddo an opportunity to learn more by engaging in some of the activities above...

And also be sure to download our MLK Day Activity Pack for more! This free, instant download includes:

  • A coloring page from our Legendary Leaders – Black History Flashcards set
  • A color page featuring a Dr. King quote
  • A Fact vs. Opinion sort (Ist Grade and up)
  • A Character Traits activity (KG with support and up)
  • A Color by Number worksheet (Pre-K and up)




Happy learning!

ABSee Me