Celebrating MLK Day with Kids

Martin Luther King Jr. Day provides a great opportunity to talk to kids about the civil rights movement and the ongoing fight for racial equality.

MLK Day is also a national day of service, which encourages people to make a difference in their communities through volunteering.

No matter the age of your child, there are many ways you can honor King’s memory and spark important conversations about racial justice and healing.

At the museum, we know that talking to young children about inequality and racism isn’t easy. We want to support parents and caregivers as our community works toward a just future where everyone is treated with kindness, dignity and respect.

We’ve compiled suggestions for celebrating MLK Day on Monday and introducing young learners to King’s legacy.

Also, feel free to view resources for talking to kids about race on our website and at Little Moments Count, a consortium of Minnesota organizations dedicated to early childhood development.

Attend a virtual event

2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast
The 31st annual breakfast event celebrates the life of King and features conversations with Dr. Bernice King and Ambassador Andrew Young. Proceeds benefit the UNCF Twin Cities MLK Legacy Scholarship Fund. Tickets are $25 per household.

2021 MLK Day: A Virtual Celebration
The 35th annual State of Minnesota Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration is going virtual with guest speakers who will discuss how King fought for justice and love, worked to end racism and poverty and what this means today. Award-winning director, writer and producer Matthew A. Cherry will also join the conversation. The online event is free.

23rd Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
The Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association will host a 2-hour virtual artist showcase featuring storytellers, along with visual and performing artists who offer an original piece of work that embodies the spirit of King’s legacy. Registration is free.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is hosting a virtual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, a tribute to King’s life and legacy featuring keynote speakers, live entertainment and the presentation of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Living the Dream award. Registration is free.

Listen to or read stories about King

There are lots of books available about the life of King and his fight for racial equality and human rights. Many local libraries will create displays or recommendation lists to help you sort through them all. If a visual story is more your style, watch one of these picture book read throughs instead.

Find a local volunteer opportunity

Honor King’s legacy by volunteering to make a difference in your community.

  • Host a food drive or gather donations and bring them to a local food pantry. Find a local food pantry in your area using this list.
  • Gather and donate winter jackets and gear. Many schools, churches and nonprofits accept donations and will work to get them to those in need.
  • Use Americorp’s volunteer database search tool to find other volunteer opportunities in your community.
Reflect on King’s legacy with questions

After talking or reading about King, it’s helpful to pause and let kids reflect on what they’ve learned by asking them questions. Below are some conversation starters.

Ages 6 and under

  • Who was Martin Luther King Jr.? What made him so important?
  • What does equality mean? How can you treat people equally?

Ages 7 and above

  • If King were alive today, what do you think he would be most proud to see? What do you think he would be most disappointed by?
  • Can you think of an example of a time or way that people have not been treated equally?
  • When someone is treated differently because of the color of their skin, this is called racial prejudice. Why is prejudice wrong?
Making a difference

The process of making a difference and advocating for racial equality starts small. Teaching kids about the history of the civil rights movement is a great first step. We hope these resources help to support your family make meaningful change toward a just future where everyone is treated with kindness, dignity and respect.

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St. Paul, MN 55102



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