At Watch Me Grow Child Development Center, we value diversity. As part of our effort to create an inclusive environment, we encourage all parents of the children in our care to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 18 this year) with their kids. We understand that the history of racism in the United States may seem like a difficult subject to broach with young people, which is why we’ve created a list of five effective and inspiring ways to celebrate MLK Day with your children. Read on to discover how you can make this important holiday a memorable one, then get in touch with our childcare center today to learn more about our programming for children ages six weeks to 12 years.

Read a Biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the best ways to teach young people about difficult topics is through picture books, and, thankfully, children’s authors and illustrators have been creating picture books about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for years. Some titles we especially recommend include: 

  • I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos)

This bestselling picture book for children ages 5 to 8 relates important moments in Dr. King’s childhood when he witnessed prejudice firsthand, relaying a message that you’re never too young to take note of injustice.

  • Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier)

Martin’s Big Words is an illustrated biography of the Civil Rights icon for children ages 6 to 8 that uses quotes from MLK himself to tell the story of his life and work in a simple, direct way.

  • My Little Golden Book About Martin Luther King, Jr. (by Bonnie Bader, illustrated by Sue Cornelison)

Part of the iconic Little Golden Book series, this biography for children ages 2 to 8 tells the story of Dr. King from his roots in segregated Atlanta to his eventual destiny as an American hero.

Watch Movies About Social Injustice

One of the best children’s movies about racial history in the United States is Disney’s Ruby Bridges, which tells the true story of a six-year-old-girl who bravely integrated New Orleans public schools in 1960. We also recommend the 1998 animated film, Our Friend Martin, featuring such stars as Whoopi Goldberg, John Travolta, Angela Bassett, and James Earl Jones. Best of all, this  film is now available for free on YouTube. Lastly, we recommend Disney’s The Color of Friendship, which is based on a true story of friendship between a white and Black girl in apartheid-era South Africa

Color a Picture

As early childhood educators, we know that there’s nothing children love more than coloring, which is why we often incorporate coloring activities into our holiday celebrations. One fun and cost-friendly activity that you can participate in with your child on MLK day is printing a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. for your toddler or preschool-age child to color. While coloring, explain to your child that you are celebrating Dr. King’s birthday, and use kid-friendly terms to explain why; for instance, you might want to say that Dr. King helped people get along, and believed that all people should be treated equally. You can find some fun, free coloring pages for MLK Day here

Watch the “I Have a Dream” Speech

If you have school-aged children, there’s no more powerful way to convey the message of Dr. King than from the man himself. Gather your family together and watch the famous “I Have a Dream” speech that he gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. You might also want to print a copy of the speech for your child to keep.

Participate in a Minecraft March on Washington

While COVID-19 has caused many MLK Day parades to be halted this year, your child can still experience what it’s like to participate in community activism, thanks to the power of technology. If your little one is like many of the kids in our care, they probably love Minecraft! L.A.-based community organization L.A. Works holds an annual Minecraft March on Washington — a virtual exhibit of the historic 1963 march that allows children to interact with Civil Rights leaders, like Dr. King himself. We imagine that this year’s march will be bigger than ever!

Set Your Child Up for Success at Watch Me Grow Las Vegas

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our list of five fun MLK Day activities for kids! For even more childcare tips, including holiday activities, social justice lessons, child development articles, and more, check back on this blog frequently. To learn more about Watch Me Grow Child Development Center, including our new Supervised Distance Learning Program, get in touch with the Watch Me Grow childcare team today.