CULTURE

Here’s How You Can Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Your Family

Do you have plans for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day)? Every year on the holiday, I like to plan a family activity or take my children to an event in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The kids love it and we always learn such valuable life lessons.

Plus, since I homeschool my children, attending an MLK Day celebration is also a wonderful learning opportunity we can apply to our homeschool studies.

Why Do I Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with My Children? 

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is important to me because I believe in the value of equality, the power of love, the depth of forgiveness, and the unity of society. I want my children to learn from Dr. King’s great leadership and work so they, too, will grow up to treat people equally and love all people.

As the late Coretta Scott King wrote in her essay featured on The King Center’s website:

“Whether you are African-American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are Caucasian or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a peoples’ holiday. And it is the young people of all races and religions who hold the keys to the fulfillment of his dream.” — “The Meaning of the King Holiday

I strongly believe in Mrs. King’s statement: “it is the young people of all races and religions who hold the keys to the fulfillment of his (Dr. King’s) dream.” As parents, it is my husband and I’s responsibility to raise our children to treat people of all cultures, races, and religions equally. We know in order for our children to fulfill Dr. King’s dream we have to teach them about Dr. King and his great contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. Our family tradition is a great way for us to ensure our children follow this path.

Six Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday, January 15, 2018. | Photo courtesy The Library of Congress

A few ways we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the previous years:

2014: We participated in the MLK Day March in Nashville, Tennessee. My mom went with us to the march, and we had a wonderful time! (Travis had 24-hour duty that day – when he was in the Army).

2015: I took the teens to see the Selma movie when it was playing in the theaters.

2016: The teens checked out books from the library about Dr. King’s life and activism. We read some of the books together, and the teens wrote about a specific topic from their reading.

2017: We checked out books from the library about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. We also watched a video on YouTube of Dr. King delivering his “I Have a Dream Speech”.

This Year: We are planning to attend the museum for an MLK Day celebration and learning activities.


READ: Never Be Afraid to Get Into Good Trouble


In January 2014, I took my kids to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March in Nashville, Tennessee. | Photo courtesy Jennifer Hamra
Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Your Family
Elijah, Michala, my mom, and Zhen in Nashville for the MLK Day March (2014). | Photo courtesy Jennifer Hamra

Six Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

If you are looking for ideas on how you and your family can celebrate, then here are a few ideas I compiled to help you with your search. (Note– some of these links may be affiliate links. At no cost to you, when you make a purchase, I may make a small commission. It helps keep GLD up and running! Thank you!)

1. Find a MLK Day March in your area and participate in the march with your family.

2. Read books about the life of Dr. King and his work in the Civil Rights Movement. There are also comic books about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement for your visual learner. Elijah read the comic books and he really loved them!

3. Watch a documentary or film about Dr. King and/or other Civil Rights leaders.

4. For younger children, print out a coloring activity or a biography pack to help start a conversation about the late Civil Rights leader great work.

5. Create a few special crafts like this one with your preschooler(s).

6. Find a volunteer opportunity in your area and take your family to help serve the community. You can find volunteer opportunities here.

Comic Books About Martin Luther King, Jr. & the Civil Rights Movement

1. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Civil Rights Leader by Jennifer Fandel

2. March, Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

3. March, Book Two by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

4. March, Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March in Nashville, TN (2014)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March in Nashville, TN 2014 | Photo courtesy Jennifer Hamra

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a Day On, Not a Day Off

Remember, MLK, Jr. Day is not about taking the day off. It is a “day on” for us to celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is also a day to make a difference in our community and serve our neighbors.

There are so many wonderful ways you can celebrate MLK, Jr. Day with your loved ones. Make the celebration unique to your family and find what works best for everyone.

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with your family. | Photo by Jerónimo Bernot on Unsplash

What do you have planned for MLK Day?

Feature Image: Photo by Center for Jewish History, NYC on Visual Hunt 


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This post was updated on January 4, 2021.

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