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.
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!)
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.
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.)
• Pick from a list of lesson plans (pre-K-grade 8)
• Volunteer to honor the day as a community service day
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE : FREE BLACK HISTORY HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM RESOURCES
• Do a Call to Lead research project (MLK and Rosa Parks)
affiliate links are used in this post