Is there a way to make Martin Luther King Day meaningful for our little ones? Making a difference on MLK Day for kids is one way. No matter their age. Or, where you live. In some places, MLK day will be a day off school or work, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. In others, while it is not a holiday, it is a day to remember this great man and his work for justice and equality. His words, “I have a dream,” resonated all around the world.
A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson is a wonderful, gentle book. It tells the story of two girls who march with Dr. King. When reading it, time and space almost disappear and we can hear the words of Dr. King, fell the warm sun as they march, and maybe, smell the roses. Just like the smell of roses can make a difference in someone’s day, so can we, kids as well as grownups.
Making a difference in someone’s day can be as small and simple as a smile. Or, something more. It can happen right at home or for someone in the community. A few cookies delivered to a neighbor or helping to shovel a sidewalk are small gestures. Taking a flower in a pot over to someone who doesn’t get out much is like delivering a breath of spring. At home, we can let children know their help to unload the groceries or take a forgotten book back to the room where it goes has made a difference for the family.
You may be able to go to a larger community event or celebration today. In honor of Martin Luther King can your day include making a difference on MLK Day for kids?
Dr. Martin Luther King, dreams, and children are all together in the book, Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Ready to Read) written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by Mike Gordon.
In this wonderful story, a first-grade class is on a field trip for MLK day and the teacher tells the kids, “Doctor King was a great leader because he had great dreams…about how to make the world a better place.” Children may have very different ideas about what dreams would make the world a better place, like ice cream at every meal, but they also have surprising insights.
When talking about dreams, Little Sister explained to me, “If you come into my room in the night and I’m not in my bed, it’s because I’m in a dream. I would shout to you very loudly, ‘Here I am. I’m just in a dream,’ and you will know where to find me.” Although it took me a minute to clue in, I realized that she thought when she was in a dream that she was no longer in her bed. After all, no one can be in two places at once. It’s quite logical. Her dream is another reality.
Although we know what dreaming is about, her idea of a dream is a great reminder. When we have a dream, we can’t just lie there and hope it will happen. We truly do have to get up and be in that dream.
Dr. Martin Luther King not only had a dream, he was an active participant in that dream. He had a dream and he shouldered the task of making it a reality. Not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. And he walked many.
Today, we can ask kids 2 questions: 1-What do you think would make the world a better place? and 2-How can we do that? Then we need to ask ourselves if we are only dreaming or if we are being our dream.
MLK Day may not be celebrated in every country of the world, and here, there or wherever you live, your family can participate in the message. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”
Children may be young in years but they still have an amazing depth of compassion for others. Recently, I found a downloadable poster of 100 Acts of Kindness for Kids on the blog Coffee Cups and Crayons. That inspired this poster of 10 Ways for kids to serve.
These are simple actions that kids can do. Children will have their own ideas and ways to show compassion and empathy. Dr. King reminded us “We must learn to live together…” and we need to teach that to children. They will learn from our example and our words. What else can you suggest for kids and families?
MLK Day is spreading around the world, honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Martin Luther King asked everyone then, and his words remind each one of us now: Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’ The mission and message has gone beyond borders. On … Continue reading Dreams, Communities, & MLK Day: Int’l Day of Giving→
Kindergarten readiness is not something isolated; it’s something that starts with what is happening for children and builds on it. In some cities and towns, today is Martin Luther King Day. In other cities and towns, children will not have heard of this extraordinary man, but he had a message for everyone, all over the … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – P = Peace, Q = Question→
A favorite January project is cutting out snowflakes and talking about them. Kids seem to like the idea that: No 2 snowflakes are alike. They are all different, even when they don’t completely understand same/different. That’s a good thought for today: No 2 people are alike. Just like snowflakes they are all different. This project I … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – MLK Day Craft Project→