39 Meaningful Martin Luther King Activities for Kids

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Introducing Martin Luther King activities for kids is a wonderful way to educate and inspire young minds about the legacy of this civil rights icon.

Dr. King’s teachings continue to resonate with people of all ages, making it a perfect opportunity for children to learn about equality, social justice, and unity.

Through engaging crafts, interactive lessons, and thought-provoking discussions, kids can explore the importance of diversity and equality.

These holiday activities for kids not only celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day but also promote values that foster a more inclusive and compassionate society.

Let’s embark on a journey of learning and empowerment, inspiring the leaders of tomorrow.

martin luther king activities for kids

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Who was Martin Luther King Jr?

Martin Luther King, Jr. (born Michael King, Jr.; January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American pastor, humanitarian, activist, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

He was best known for improving civil rights by using nonviolent civil disobedience, based on his Christian beliefs. He is known by a number of different names as he had both a Ph.D. and was a pastor.

Martin Luther King Jr. is sometimes called the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. (abbreviation: the Rev. Dr. King), or just Dr. King. He is also known by his initials MLK.

King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech ( a link to the speech is below). The next year, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

King fought for equal rights from the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 until he was murdered by James Earl Ray in April 1968.

Martin Luther King Jr Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January.

Check out our favorite Black History Month activities.

Best Martin Luther King worksheets

Add these worksheets to your social studies lesson plans in January:

  1. Our printable Martin Luther King Jr facts offer an engaging and educational way for kids to learn about this iconic American figure. Featuring a fun coloring activity, detailed information about King’s life and achievements.
  2. Younger students can enjoy coloring with our free Martin Luther King Jr. color by number worksheets.
  3. Challenge students to a Martin Luther King Jr word search. Encouraging them to find and learn important vocabulary related to Dr. King’s life and legacy.
  4. Unscramble words relating to MLK with our free Martin Luther King word scramble printable.
black history month bundle

WANT ALL OF OUR BLACK HISTORY MONTH WORKSHEETS IN ONE PLACE?

  1. Martin Luther King Jr. Vocabulary. Expand young learners’ understanding of key terms and concepts associated with Martin Luther King Jr. through this vocabulary exercise.
  2. Martin Luther King, Jr Game. This resource offers an entertaining memory/matching card game that makes learning about MLK fun and interactive, providing an easy way for students to absorb the material.
  3. Unit Study on Martin Luther King Jr. Explore an internet-based interactive unit study that delves into various aspects of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and contributions, making learning a dynamic and immersive experience.
  4. Martin Luther King Jr. Puzzles for 1st and 2nd Grades. Provide young students with stimulating puzzles that reinforce their knowledge of Dr King and his mission.
martin luther king word search
  1. Martin Luther King Jr Shape Book. Encourage students to express themselves and publish their thoughts about this iconic American figure in a creatively designed shape book, suitable for both Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month.
  2. Martin Luther King Jr. Research Unit (for older students.) This comprehensive research unit covers the early years of Martin Luther King Jr., essential terms, a timeline of important events, a substantial excerpt from his “I Have a Dream” speech, research questions, and more. It’s a valuable resource for deeper exploration.
  3. Martin Luther King Writing Prompt. Engage students in reflective writing with this free printable writing prompt that encourages them to contemplate and express their thoughts on Dr. King’s legacy.
  4. Children’s Civil Rights Walk Class Activity. This powerful resource provides an experiential opportunity for children to understand the historical significance of protests and the civil rights movement, making history come alive.
  5. Dove Garland. Explore a creative craft activity that allows children to make a dove garland from coffee filters. Fostering artistic expression and hands-on learning.
  6. Martin Luther King words within words worksheets. For a unique writing exercise, consider this worksheet that encourages students to discover words related to Martin Luther King hidden within his name, promoting vocabulary development.
  7. Martin Luther and the Reformation Lapbook and Music. A great way for kids to understand the man, the music, and his times. Making history come alive through interactive and engaging educational materials.
martin luther king words within words

Best Martin Luther King Jr books for children

There are so many kid’s books about the Great Martin Luther King Jr. but I have listed below our favorite books:

  1. The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. Designed for children aged 6 to 9, this book delivers a compelling narrative of standing up for civil rights. Making it accessible and inspiring for young readers.
  2. National Geographic Readers: Martin Luther King, Jr. This National Geographic publication introduces the life and enduring legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Combining captivating visuals and informative text to engage young minds.
  3. The Great Book of Black Heroes. Within the pages of this book, the stories of 30 remarkable black heroes and heroines spanning over 2,500 years come to life. Inspiring elementary students with tales of courage and determination.
  4. I am Martin Luther King, Jr. This bestselling picture book biography, ideal for kids aged 5 to 8. Portrays the life of Dr. King in an accessible and relatable way, showcasing how ordinary individuals can make extraordinary impacts.
  5. Martin’s Big Words. Through this picture book biography by Doreen Rappaport, Dr. King’s remarkable life and his powerful message are shared with children using his own words. Creating a poignant and memorable learning experience.
  6. I Have a Dream. In addition to the captivating picture book of Martin Luther King, this edition includes an audio CD of Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. Allowing younger kids to hear the passion and eloquence of his words.
  7. My Little Golden Book About Martin Luther King Jr. Perfect for preschool children. This biography offers an accessible introduction to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the civil rights leader. Ensuring even the youngest readers can begin to understand his significance.
  8. Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? This book presents the story of one of the most influential civil rights activists of our time. Maintaining the high standard of the series and offering an in-depth look at Dr. King’s life.
  9. Martin Luther King Jr.. Tailored for younger children, this book provides a simplified yet engaging exploration of Dr. King’s life and ideals.
  10. Martin’s Dream. Along with this book, you can access a free printable worksheet from the Wise Owl Factory. Enhancing the learning experience and encouraging children to reflect on Dr. King’s dream and its enduring significance.

Martin Luther King Jr. activities

  1. Show children two eggs, one white egg, and one brown egg. Crack them open to reveal their identical insides. This experiment teaches the importance of equality and reinforces Dr. King’s message of judging people by their character, not appearance.
  2. Have kids create a visual representation of their own dreams for a better world. Similar to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. They can cut out pictures from magazines or draw their aspirations on a poster.
  3. Help children create a timeline of important events in Dr. King’s life. This visual aid will give them a better understanding of his journey and accomplishments.
  4. Have children design posters for a peaceful protest on issues that matter to them. This activity teaches them about the power of peaceful demonstration.
  5. Challenge kids to memorize and recite excerpts from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. This helps them understand the significance of his words.
  6. Engage in a day of service to honor Dr. King’s legacy. Clean up a park, visit a nursing home, or organize a food drive. Instill the values of compassion and service.
  7. Engage in a family or classroom discussion about equality and the importance of treating everyone with respect, regardless of their background.
  8. Have children create a collaborative art project using handprints, which not only emphasizes unity but also enhances fine motor skills. Each child’s handprint can represent unity and equality, contributing to a mural or large poster.

Get the kids moving with these MLK yoga activities.

Martin Luther King Jr movie for kids

  1. Selma Lord Selma. This inspiring Disney movie transports children to the early days of the civil rights movement in 1965. It centers around a young Alabama schoolgirl who, after being inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Courageously confronts the degradation and injustices her fellow African Americans face. This heartwarming film offers a powerful narrative of hope and resilience, making it an ideal choice for young viewers.
  2. Martin Luther King Jr Biography on YouTube. This video serves as an accessible introduction to the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. It provides a brief yet informative overview of his journey, ideals, and the significant impact he had on the civil rights movement.
  3. I have a Dream Speech on YouTube. This iconic speech is a must-see for children. Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered during the March on Washington in 1963 is a profound moment in history. It allows kids to witness firsthand the power of his words and the vision he had for a more just and equitable society.
  4. The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. on YouTube. This video, suitable for MLK Day celebrations, provides a comprehensive look at Dr. King’s life and legacy. It explores his childhood, education, and his leadership in the civil rights movement, offering valuable insights into his enduring impact.
  5. Our Friend Martin Elementary Video on YouTube. This engaging video introduces kids to the story of Martin Luther King Jr. through the perspective of two young friends who time-travel to meet him. It combines education with entertainment, making history come to life for young children.
  6. The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Kid President on YouTube. Kid President, known for his kid-friendly approach to important topics, presents the story of Dr. King in a relatable and entertaining manner. It’s a great choice for children who appreciate a more lighthearted yet meaningful take on history.
  7. The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. | BrainPOP on BrainPOP (YouTube). BrainPOP offers educational content, and this video explores the lasting legacy of Dr. King. It delves into how his actions and teachings continue to shape the world today.

What are your favorite Martin Luther King activities for kids? Let me know in the comments below.

Last Updated on 8 April 2024 by Clare