Martin Luther King Day Activities for Kids

I bring in a dozen brown eggs and a dozen white eggs. The children break into pairs, observe the eggs, and then open them up. The message is very clear. While the eggs are different on the outside, they are the same on the inside, just like people. We then cook the eggs for a snack.

Something I do in my classroom is I bring in several different presents, some wrapped very pretty, simple and then just a plain box, inside they all have the same gift; I usually put in stickers. The children look at the boxes, we talk about them and then open them. Same message while the presents are all wrapped different, the inside is the same; again like people.

We also do a people collage; cut outs from magazines of all different people.

We also paint peanuts all different colors. Again the outsides are different but the insides are the same.

We read a wonderful book called “We are all alike — We are all Different”. It is very simple and easy for 3’s and 4’s to understand.

We make peace crowns: white paper circle (size of frozen OJ lid)
Small paper plate, cut in half
With one of the half circles, cut again
The small circle is the dove’s head, the half circle is the body, and the two quarter circle pieces are the wings. We glue these together, add eyes and glitter and then staple them to the headbands. Our kids love to wear any kind of crowns!
Dr King Had a Dream
(tune: Old MacDonald)
Dr. King had a dream for p-e-a-c-e.
He wanted people to be friends and live in harmony.
He had lots of love to share.
He spread kindness everywhere!
Dr. King had a dream for p-e-a-c-e!

During the week of MLK’s birthday, we talk about peace, brotherhood, and love. We talk about how MLK wanted people to be able to go places together, share food together, and love one another in peace. He worked hard for freedom and helped many people gain it. We sing happy birthday to MLK and have a special snack for his birthday party. We talk a little about the Nobel Peace prize and have the children make small medals to wear. We sing songs and read stories about MLK. A Picture Book of MLK Jr. by David Adler

by Jacqueline Woodson
(tune Twinkle Twinkle)

Freedom, freedom, let it ring.
Let it ring said Dr King
Let us live in harmony.
Peace and love for you and me.
Freedom, freedom let it ring.
Let it ring said Dr King.

(tune Jingle Bells)
Friends hold hands, Freinds hold hands
Friends hold hands and smile.
All our classmates are our friends.
Let’s sing with them a while.

Make bulletin board
“Children have Dreams” and “Parents have Dreams” make cut-outs of doves..on far wing write “I have a dream….” on the larger closer one allow the children to write or tell you so you can write what they tell you. Send one home for parents too to put on their board. I too will read a very simple Martin L. King book and discuss what dreams we all might have to make this world a better place to live in.

ACTIVITY King Crowns Cut out paper crowns for each child. Ask them to draw a picture of their dreams for a better world.

Handprints option
We do what I call Buddy Prints: Each child paints their hands and makes prints on a large piece of paper. I cut them out in funny shapes around them and label each child’s handprint, then I put them down my door and title it “Our Buddy Prints”. Parents seem to ahh over them on their way in and the kids know which one belongs to whom.

Hands Around the Room
Cut several long strips on white shelf/butchers paper about 8″ wide. Lay the paper on the floor or table. Pour different colors of tempera paint into a shallow container such as a pie pan. Set the paint near the paper. Have the children make pairs of hand prints along the strips, leaving space between the pairs to write each child’s name. After the paints have dried, ask each child how they are nice to others and what they do to help others.

Write each child’s thoughts under their name. Hang the “Hands Around The Room” near the ceiling, at eye level or along the baseboard. When you take it down, cut each pair apart and let the children take them home.

Working Together Activities
Cut a large poster shape into a puzzle. Give a piece to each child and let them work together, each one placing their own piece, to put the puzzle together.

Give each child a block or box and let them work together to build a spaceship, a skyscraper or some other structure.

My class took skin colored construction paper and traced their hands on the paper that best fits their skin tone. We cut out 10 of each child’s hand (one for each friend). Everyone exchanged their hand prints and glued the handprints on a paper plate wreath. For the finishing touch, they cut out 3 red hearts and glued them onto their wreaths. Afterwards, we talked about how Martin Luther King was a great man who wanted everyone to get along no matter what their skin color was. And then we go into a discussion of everyone is different.

Some people wear glasses, some people have red hair…etc. We are fortunate enough to have a storyteller come to us each month. I’m not sure if you are familiar with Linda Brown from the Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education suit. But when she was little she was not able to attend a school that was a few blocks away from her because of her race. Her parents sued and won the right for Linda to attend the school that was a few blocks away, instead of traveling clear across town to an all black school.

Anyway, in January, (before her visit) my class and I discuss what happened to her when she was little. When Miss Linda comes to read us a story, they ask questions and she discusses with us what it was like. What a wonderful learning experience for my class!

A Song About Martin Luther King
(sung to Yankee Doodle)
Dr. King was a man
Who came from Atlanta Georgia.
Had a dream that he preached
For all men to be equal.
Dr King was so brave
Martin was a hero.
Won the fight for everyone
To end discrimination.

Freedom Let it Ring (sung to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

Freedom, Freedom let it ring “Let it ring”, said Dr King
Let us live in harmony Peace and love for you and me Freedom freedom let it ring “Let it ring”, said Dr King.

Last year, after discussing that we can be whatever we want to be when we grow up as long as we try HARD and be GOOD “citizens”, we made paper body aprons. I printed (in large bubble letters) “I Have A Dream”…each child colored the letters and under them each drew what he/she hopes to be. We had doctors, a “library lady”, teachers and even an astronaut! They really were great and we were asked to show the 1st and 2nd grade classes!!!

We always do a friendship mural. The children make handprints in different colors and make a rainbow shape. The kids really love it. For MLK I give each child a piece of white construction paper….then they can rip and tear it into a shape of a cloud (somewhat) I make a bulletin board for these to go on….each child can decorate their cloud with glitter etc…..leaving the middle blank. I then go around to each child and ask what their dream is and record them onto the clouds. It really turns out cute!!

MLK Bracelets
Materials Needed:
supply of black and white beads
construction paper hearts (hole punched out in center)
Have each child to string some black and white beads and some construction paper hearts onto their piece of yarn (about 6 inches in length). Tie the ends of yarn together…thus making the bracelet. We wore our bracelets while we sang Happy Birthday to MLK!

Talk about his Nobel Peace Prize, then make one out of a hard drying dough that the kids can make, string on a necklace. Then have a contest all day. Whoever is caught doing a peaceful negotiation during the day wins their peace prize. (It has a dove with fully open wings with a olive twig in it’s mouth)

Get an outline of his silhouette. Cut out of black. Let kids glue onto white paper and then you list the peaceful ways the kids handle their problems OR have them tell you and you write it for them. To get along better with others I can….. I can get along with my friends at school by….. If someone treats me unfairly I can….. To help a friend who is sad I could…..




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