Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Activities and ideas for celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with young children in your childcare, preschool, pre-k, transitional kindergarten, or kindergarten classroom.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Books
Music to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Activities for Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
You will need one raw brown egg, one raw white egg and a bowl for this activity. First, gather your students in a circle and invite them to examine the eggs. Next, ask the students if they think the eggs are the same or different inside. Ask them why they answered the way they did, for example “Why do you think the brown egg has brown ‘stuff’ inside?” Next, crack the eggs into the bowl. Pass the bowl around so the students can see the yolks are exactly the same. Ask the students if they still believe the brown egg is different inside. You could also graph their predictions on a chart.
Gift Bag Activity
For this activity you will need one plain brown lunch bag and one decorative gift bag. You will also need a few objects that are exactly the same, for example a cube and a penny- anything really. Place a set of objects in each bag so they have the same items inside. Display the bags in front of the class and ask the children which bag they would like to receive and why. Next, open the bags one at a time in front of the class. The students will see that both bags, although very different on the outside both contained the very same things inside. This can lead to a great discussion about how people are all different on the outside, but the same on the inside.
I Have a Dream Cloud
Materials: crayons, white construction paper, scissors, glue
Discuss with your class that Dr. King had a dream; his dream was to make the world a better place. The song of the same title above is very helpful for this activity. Discuss with your class what this phrase means and brainstorm ways that they could help make the world a better place. Next, have your students draw on the white construction paper with crayons and illustrate a way that they could make the world a better place. Cut these masterpieces out with scissors in a cloud shape and make a wall display or you can hang them from the ceiling so the clouds will appear to be floating above you.
Materials: various colors construction paper pre-cut into 6×6 squares, scissors, glue, one white paper plate per child, crayons for tracing
Pre-cut the middle of each paper plate out so it looks like a wreath. Trace each child’s hand on several different colors of the construction paper squares. Next, cut out the hands and have the students exchange hands until everybody has one handprint shape from each child in the class. Next, glue the multi-colored handprints around the outside of the paper plate to create a “friendship wreath”.
TIP: Most 4 year olds do not have the necessary fine motor skills to cut out hands, you may want to use a die-cut or send them home for parents to cut.
MLK Bulletin Board Part #1 The Bus
Materials: yellow construction paper, black construction paper, white construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons
Copy large rectangles on the yellow construction paper. Have the students cut out the yellow rectangles and glue on the white construction paper (orient the paper to landscape or “hot dog” style). Next, cut black circles and glue to the bottom of the rectangle to make the wheels. Use crayons to add features to the bus like windows, door, lights etc. Caption the picture “We can ride the bus together peacefully”.
MLK Bulletin Board Part #2 School House
Materials: red construction paper, white construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons
Copy one large square for the body of the school, one triangle for the roof, and one small square and one small triangle for the bell tower. Cut all the pieces out and glue to the white paper to make a school house, (orient paper to portrait or “hamburger” style). Next, have students add features to the school such as a door, sky, grass, students with crayons. Caption this picture “We can go to school together peacefully”
MLK Bulletin Board Picture #3 The World is a Better Place
Materials: black construction paper, white construction paper, white crayons, scissors, water color paints, brushes.
Have the students watercolor paint on the white paper with ONLY blue and green paint. When the watercolor is dry trace a large circle on the paper and cut it out- this will be the earth. Glue the large circle to the black paper (orient paper to portrait or “hamburger” style). Students can add stars to the sky and write their names with the white crayon. Caption this picture “Dr. King helped make the world a better place”.
Assembling Your MLK Bulletin Board
This activity makes a wonderful hall display, especially if the pages are placed in a pattern on the wall. Take the pages and arrange them on the wall in an alternating pattern like a quilt, leaving equal amounts of room between each row and column, like a quilt. Use the middle square of the quilt for your display title, for example “Mrs. _____’s Martin Luther King Class Quilt”.