Learning About Dr. King Through Social Play and Service

Social play is a great way to teach children about important moments in history and the diverse fabric that has shaped American culture. On January 21, 2013, we will be honoring Dr. Martin Luther King for MLK day. The holiday offers parents a great opportunity to teach their children about Dr. King. There are a variety of ways to engage and educate your children that are fun and incorporate play, reading skills, and active, hands-on learning.

Before you begin to talk about Dr. King, get an idea of what your children already know about Dr. King. You can ask your children to share what Dr. King has done to help shape American history. Also, find out what their teachers have talked about in class. From there you can decide which activities are best for your children. Below are some easy and fun activities that your children will likely enjoy. Have fun!

  1. Start with an age-appropriate book about Dr. King. We received Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a gift and our entire family loves it. The book has great photos and does a great job of portraying the philosophy and teachings of Dr. King in an appropriate way for school-age children. For younger children, you may want to consider A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  2. Create a board game. You can easily create a board game with poster board, dice, and a black marker. Include trivia questions and fun facts about Dr. King, and the person with the most correct answers wins!
  3. Watch a short movie. Watch a short video about Dr. King. A video under ten minutes would be ideal. A good option would include this three-minute video about the King and His Dream. Following the video, talk about what the children learned.
  4. Roleplay. Listen to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” and allow your child to roleplay it out. They can dress up like Dr. King, take turns reading certain key parts, and act it out. This is also a great activity to practice their oratorical skills and build confidence.
  5. Do a service project. You and your children can do a service project since MLK Day has also been deemed a day of community service. Consider going to a playground and cleaning it up. Or plant a garden at a community center in an underserved neighborhood. These activities will likely require advance planning.

What ways do you celebrate Dr. King with your children?

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