DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links are used on this site and may be used in this post.
Please refer to our DISCLOSURE STATEMENT.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated the third Monday of every January. But, the day has an interesting history. According to the U.S. Department of Education:

King once said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’ In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. With your kids, look online at photos of a previous year’s day of service to give your kids an idea of what volunteering is all about.Get Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (AFFILIATE)

I’m going to be totally honest, until this very moment I had no idea that MLK Day was created to honor community service. (But, how awesome is that?) It just gives another entire layer to any Martin Luther King Jr. lessons and activities that you incorporate into your history studies!

One of our favorite books that we read each year during this time (for MLK Day or Black History Month) is Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. We also like I Have a Dream, which includes a CD of Dr. King’s speech. (It’s pretty amazing to listen to the actual speech and discuss it!)
Get I Have a Dream (with included speech CD) (AFFILIATE)

These are both picture books, but they are detailed and we still read them every year (and cry). My daughter is almost 10 and we both still enjoy reading these books and listening to the speech.

(Be aware, though, that the Martin’s Big Words book does cover his death so you may want to read it ahead of time so you’re prepared for those questions (especially from your little ones).

There are so many great ways that you can honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We’ve listed a few ways here with lesson plans, books, activities, projects and other suggestions.

34 Martin Luther King Jr Lesson Plans and Activities

Martin Luther King Jr. Projects, Activities, Lesson Plans, and Worksheets–Mostly Free

• Read MLK books like these:

(Please check ages because those listed here are different age groups from picture book to adult.)

(affiliate links)

Strength to Love (AFFILIATE) Martin Luther King Jr (AFFILIATE) Autobiography of Martin Luther King JR (AFFILIATE)
Who Was Martin Luther King Jr (AFFILIATE) Martin Luther King Jr (AFFILIATE) My Daddy (AFFILIATE)

Read the I Have a Dream speech

Watch the I Have a Dream speech and march

Pick from a list of lesson plans (pre-K-grade 8)

Explore an interactive online classroom about MLK

Read about the history of MLK

Use The King Institute for research

Do a How Big Are Martin’s Words lesson

Volunteer to honor the day as a community service day

Review a timeline of African American history

Learn more about the march on Washington, DC

Learn about the MLK memorial in Washington, DC

Do an MLK Fact or Opinion activity (grades 3-8)

Create a map of the important thing in MLK’s life (grades 3-8)

Write your own I Have a Dream speech (grades 2-12)


Make a I Have a Dream mobile 

Do an equality exercise

Complete a MLK crossword puzzle

Do a worksheet on segregation

Research and complete Martin Luther King Jr’s family tree

Martin Luther King Recipes Georgia Peach Smoothie

Make a Georgia Peach smoothie

Do a Call to Lead research project (MLK and Rosa Parks)

Do a Problem-Solution project

Complete an Identify a Hero lesson plan

Print a 5 W’s worksheet

Learn about the rise and fall of Jim Crow

Do a Change the World Hand project

Do a diversity experiment 

Make a handprint peace dove

Make a peace dove with finger prints (this one would be fun for class, co-op, or meet-up)

Get MLK Day coloring pages

Make some of Dr. King’s favorite recipes

Make an All People are Equal placemat 

Make an origami peace dove

affiliate links are used in this post

NOW AVAILABLE: It's Homeschooling, Not Solitary Confinement (AFFILIATE)


Facebook Comments

Jacqueline Wilson is a writer, mom, wife, homeschool super freak and #1 Bestselling Author of It's Homeschooling, Not Solitary Confinement. She has been featured at Huffington Post, Parenting Magazine, Redbook, Kiwi Magazine, Fox News, and more. She is a discriminating sock monkey enthusiast and has a small collection of rescued pets. One more and she gets a free set of steak knives.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.