Are you looking for meaningful Martin Luther King activities for kids for your home or the classroom? These activities are perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and Kindergartners. Find the best 20 Martin Luther King activities below.

Martin Luther King Jr. - Woman holding up sign on crowd "I have the same dream.

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Why Martin Luther King Jr.?

Why should we teach our children about Martin Luther King Jr.?

Because he stood up for what he believed in. And more importantly, because he did it with love and peace.

Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t believe in riots! He believed in peaceful conversations and speeches that promoted critical thinking of topics that desperately needed to be addressed.

20 Of The Best Martin Luther King Activities For Kids:

You will find a supply list for all the activities within the activity. So, you know what you will need to recreate our Martin Luther King activities. These are products we used for our activities as well.

1. Peace Sign Activity

Martin Luther King Jr - A picture of three different peace signs

How to explain peace:

While I played with my children I explained to them that sometimes they played together “in peace,” such as when they share with each other, use nice words, and help each other when needed.

Learn how to make these peace signs here (includes free printables):

Find my blog post, Martin Luther King Jr. – Peace Sign Activity, here.

2. Equal Rights – We don’t look the same, but we are worth the same!

Martin Luther King Jr - We don't look the same but we are worth the same activity!

How to explain equal rights:

We made these “people” above who look different. They differ in skin color, gender, the way they are dressed, etc.

I taught my daughter that we all look different, but that we are worth the same. NO MATTER WHAT!

We all deserve to be treated the same way; with kindness and respect.

An example was that my daughter looks different from her sister, but they both deserve a big hug and kiss before bedtime. They also deserve the same size meal during lunchtime. And to live in a warm home with us.

They still deserve to be treated the same way, even when they act up and engage in undesired behavior.

Not everyone is a nice person

In addition, you can use this activity to teach your children about nice and not so nice people.

I explained to my daughters that not everyone is a nice person. With some people, when they open up, we will find a big heart while other people have a small heart.

And it’s up to everyone to decide which kind of person they want to be and how they can make their hearts grow.

My daughter asked how she can make her heart grow?

Examples:

  • Be kind to others
  • Care for a pet at home
  • Talk respectfully to parents and teachers
  • Offer help to siblings

Learn how to make these “people:”

  • Fold a piece of construction paper in half.
  • Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter and trace around it like in the picture below. Make sure it overlaps on the side that has the fold. This allows your gingerbread man to “open up” (don’t have this cookie cuter simply draw a person).

  • Allow your kids to decorate the people and give them hearts.
  • They can even create their “own” person and then decide how big their hearts are based on past behavior.

This is a wonderful activity that allows children to learn more about people and their behavior while learning more about equal rights.

3. Martin Luther King Activity For Kids – Dream Catcher

A picture of a dream catcher

How to explain Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream Speech:

I told my daughter that Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and he gave a speech about it in DC.

He told everyone that he dreamt that everyone was nice to each other (stop racism).

Talk to your child about kindness and why it’s important to be nice to others.

Learn how to make this Dream Catcher:

This is a great activity to prepare for your kids the day before!

  • Cut a piece of cardboard into a 1-inch wide circle like in the picture below:
  • Cut 1/2 inch deep into the circle all-around it but do not cut all the way through. You don’t want to break the circle. This allows your kid to secure the yard around the circle without it moving around.
  • Now, have your children wrap the yarn around the circle. As many times as they like (this is a great fine motor skill activity).
  • In the end, tie 4-5 strings around the circle, so you can hang up the dream catcher. I simply used a simple knot technique but I made sure the yarn was about 10 inches long at the end. At the end of the yarn, I attached feathers to make it look more like a dream catcher.

4. Martin Luther King Activity For Kids – The Bus

How to explain Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream Speech:

I explained to my daughter that some people were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus. You can go into as much detail as you see fit depending on the age of your child.

My daughter decided that everyone should be allowed to sit wherever they want on a bus. Smart child! 😉

Learn how to make the bus:

  • I simply used a cereal box and cut out a window and a door.
  • Then, I glued construction paper all around the bus.
  • I glued a rectangle-shaped piece of a ziplock bag (for the window) into the cereal box where I cut out the window.
  • I used pipe cleaners for the windshield wipers.
  • My daughter painted 4 pieces of the egg carton black and we glued them on the bus as wheels (you could use the tops of food pouches as well).

5. Martin Luther King Activity For Kids – Great March on Washington

How to explain The Great March on Washington:

I created this setup and showed it to my daughter without any explanation.

She exchanged the purple bear with the red bear and informed me that the kids are in school.

What a great point!

I told her that the purple/red bear is giving a speech to talk to people about his beliefs. Which created a learning opportunity just like in school.

And the most important part is that even adults have to find the right way to get attention to talk about their ideas and beliefs. That temper tantrums, yelling, etc doesn’t work.

We talked more about the setup and the scene itself:

  • The worksheet shows the reflecting pond in DC
  • That it’s filled with water
  • That the person who is giving a speech stands higher than the audience, so everyone can see the person who is giving the speech and that this person can be heard.

Learn how to make create this setup:

  • You can use these colorful bears. They are perfect and we include them in our play a lot.
  • Print your free worksheet that can be found in my free digital library. You will also gain access to more free activities.
  • Arrange your bears around the reflecting pond with one bear on a podium.

6. Fed Martin Luther King Jr. – Everyone needs to eat!

Perfect for toddlers!

How to explain this activity:

The idea behind this activity is that no matter who you are (famous or not) you got to eat. And I love to talk to my children about healthy foods.

During this activity we talked about all the foods we fed to MLK. And we determined the following:

  • healthy and unhealthy foods
  • name of the foods in our languages (German, English)
  • color of the foods
  • taste (sweet, salty, crunchy). If they don’t know what these foods taste like you can have a food tasting at home.

Learn how to make create this setup:

  • Simply print out my free worksheet. You can find it in my free digital library. You will also find more free activities/worksheets for kids.
  • Glue the worksheet onto a box and cut a large enough hole for where the mouth is. You want to make sure that all the plastic or wooden play food you can find at home fits into the hole.
  • Now, let your children feed MLK and discuss the food.

7. Microphone Craft – Giving A Speech

How to explain this craft:

We created the microphone and talked about giving speeches. A microphone helps everyone in the room to hear what the person who is giving a speech has to say.

I asked my daughter if she had to give a speech about what she would talk about?

She said she would talk about being a good friend. Aww…

Learn how to make create this setup:

  • You want to paint an empty toilet paper roll in your desired color.
  • Your child can decorate it with stickers.
  • We used a small plastic ball that we could find at home for the round part of the microphone. You could also make a ball with aluminum foil.

8. Martin Luther King Activities for Kids – The Sketch

Perfect for Toddlers!

Martin Luther King Jr - The sketch

How to explain this activity:

Since this is an activity for toddlers there isn’t much to explain. You could still discuss the following:

  • Mention MLK’s name
  • The consistency of water
  • The temperature of the water
  • Work on the words wet, clean, brush, etc.

Learn how to create this activity:

Simply sketch the face of Martin Luther King Jr onto an easel with chalk. Now, give your toddler a sponge and some water and tell your toddler to clean the easel.

However, I suggest putting a towel under the easel to help with any water spilling.

Don’t feel comfortable sketching his face? Not that mine turned out that great! I can already envision my Art teacher’s face (I was an Art minor in College). 🙂 Simply write the initials or spell out the name of MLK.

9. Martin Luther King Activities for Kids – Hands Activity

Martin Luther King Jr. - Hands activity
“I have a dream that one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.-

How to explain this “hands” activity:

The idea behind this activity was to teach my daughter that we give our friends a hand when they need it.

We don’t talk about black or white in my household. We call people by their names (I’m not saying MLK shouldn’t have said black/white he needed to make a point).

But we help our friends no matter what they look like!

Learn more about this activity:

This activity has two parts

I. Part

Talk about friendships and lending your friend a hand when he/she needs it. Explain what a good friend looks like to you.

II. Part

  • Download my worksheet.
  • Let your child cut out all the different hands.
  • Now, put down a white piece of paper and ask your child to add “a yellow hand” to the paper. And now “a green hand” and so on. When your child finished have him/her count the hands.

This activity allows you to work on counting and colors with your child.

10. Mac & Cheese Play-Doh Fun Activity

Perfect for Toddlers!

Martin Luther King Jr. - Play Doh Fun

How to explain this activity:

My daughter came up with this fun activity.

One morning we talked about MLK and I asked her what she thinks Martin Luther King Jr’s favorite food was? She said Mac & Cheese.

Learn how to make Mac & Cheese Play-Doh

Find the recipe here.

This activity allows your children to work on their fine motor skills. Working on these skills will help your children with their handwriting in the future.

Looking for more Kindergarten readiness activities? Check out my “Identifying numbers 1-10 out of order” activity!

11. Martin Luther King Activities For Kids – The Scale of Justice!

Martin Luther King Activity For Kids - The scale of justice
Martin Luther King Jr was all about justice and being fair to others.

How to explain this activity:

When my daughter told me that I wasn’t fair to her one day I decided to create this activity.

I created this scale to teach my children about justice. While the letter symbolizes the conversations we have as a family.

Arguments

I told my children when they get in an argument it’s like them filling their side of the scale with letters. Whoever has more to say for themselves the heavier their side gets.

Scale – Visual

When they finished their arguments my husband and I look at the “scale” and determine what should happen next.

The scale gives them a visual and helps them understand that based on what they tell us we have to make a decision on what happens next (help, timeouts, taking away a toy, offering comfort, etc.).

Get it right or wrong

In addition, I’m honest with my children and I told them that some days their dad and I get it right and some days we get it wrong. But we always try our best to love and support them and to be fair!

Learn how to make this activity:

Martin Luther King Activities For Kids
  • For this activity, I used a hanger for pants.
  • I attached two plastic cups to each side of the hanger.
  • In the end, I wrapped everything in aluminum foil (optional).
  • Simply attach the hanger to your easel at home and give them letters (magnets or from a puzzle) and allow them to add them to each side of the scale.
  • Watch the scale and discuss what happens when the letter are added to the scale (up/down/even).

12. Martin Luther King Activities For Kids – The MLK Bottle!

Perfect for Toddlers!

How to explain this activity:

Martin Luther King Jr was not loved by everyone. Unfortunately!

I explained to my children that when someone is having a hard time or is not receiving enough love it’s our job to give them some extra love. To be there for them.

How can we show that extra love?

Examples:

  • Listen to them
  • Offer a hug (if it feels right)
  • Ask an adult for help

Learn how to make this activity:

  1. We used an empty water bottle.
  2. I glued a piece of construction paper all around it.
  3. Next, my children decorated the bottle with lots of “love.”
  4. They used their fine motor tool set to “fed” the MLK bottle with some love aka hearts and pompoms.

This activity is perfect to work on their dexterity.

13. Martin Luther King Activity For Kids – “Get along”

How to explain this activity:

Martin Luther King Jr wanted us all to get along. I have the same wish, especially for my kids and their friends.

I talked to my daughters about their friends and how they differ from them. And most importantly, what they like about them.

We decided that we like best when our friends are nice to us and share with us.

Learn how to make this activity:

  • Use a white paper plate and color the inside circle in blue and green to represent the earth
  • Now, use your gingerbread man cookie cutter and cut out different “people.”
  • Allow your children to give them a people look (hair, eyes, clothes, etc.)
  • Glue the people all around the plate to show how they all get along no matter what they look like.

14. Martin Luther King Activity For Kids – Obstacles Course

Martin Luther King Activity For Kids

How to explain this activity:

“Just because you want to do something good that doesn’t mean it will be easy!”

Martin Luther King Jr had the best intentions and wanted to make the world a better place. But it wasn’t easy for him and he had to overcome lots of obstacles.

Example

My daughters didn’t get it at all, so I gave them a more specific example.

Sometimes you are really upset aka temper tantrum and I offer you my help, but you are not ready to let me help you.

My daughter answered, “like when I couldn’t put on my shoes?” “Yes, exactly,” I told her. You couldn’t put on your shoes because you had outgrown them and you weren’t ready to listen to me why they didn’t fit you anymore.

She understood that I wanted to help her (best intentions), but that she wasn’t ready to listen because she was overwhelmed by her emotions.

Learn how to set up your obstacle course:

  • Use a small piece of painters tape or scotch tape on your floor to make sure it doesn’t damage it. I used our tape on my hardwood floors and tiles without any issues.
  • Create an obstacle course like in the picture above.
  • Now, let your kids have fun!

This is a great gross motor skill activity for children. You can even work on stop and go (red light/green light) or on freeze.

I highly encourage parents and caregivers to work on “freeze” this might come in handy one day.

For instance, a kid is running towards a street!

15. Story Telling Activity

Martin Luther King Activities For Kids - 4 pictures

How to explain this activity:

An important skill to learn before Kindergarten is to tell a story based on 4 pictures you show to your children.

What better story than MLK!

Learn how to set up this activity:

  • Print out my worksheet on my free digital library. Plus, gain access to other fun activities for kids. I created another worksheet for kids that allows them to tell a story. You can find it in my free digital library as well.
  • Cut out the pictures and show them to your child.
  • You can guide your child through this activity. “What do you see?” or “Which picture do you like best?” “What do you think they are doing in this picture?”

16. Martin Luther King Activities For Kids – Initials

Martin Luther King Activities For Kids

How to explain this “Initials” activity:

Now, this activity depends on how old your kids are. If they are older you can explain to them why MLK changed his name.

If they are younger you can simply talk to them about initials. This is also a fun opportunity to tell your children why you chose their names or what their names mean.

Learn how to set up this activity:

I love this activity because all you need is a piece of paper, a marker, and your colorful bears. You can also use legos or cheerios.

  • Draw MLK’s and your child’s initials on a piece of paper.
  • Allow your child to add their colorful bears to the piece of paper.
  • You can easily make this a color activity by using different color markers for the initials.

17. The Statue Activity

Martin Luther King Activities For Kids

How to explain this activity:

Teach your children more about the Martin Luther King Memorial. It’s called the stone of hope.

Children should know that people who help to change the world deserve to be remembered. One of the ways to remember a person is through a state/memorial.

Learn how to set up this activity:

  • Add the dough to your baking sheet and create the statue.
  • Allow your child to add water to the dough with a brush.
  • Bake on 350 F until brown.
  • I recommend not to eat the dough since it’s very salty.
  • Talk to your child about consistency before and after baking the dough.

18. Martin Luther King Activities For Kids – The Liberty Bell

How to explain this activity:

Every year you can hear the liberty bell ring on Martin Luther King Day (unless there is a government shutdown like last year). The bell honors MLK and everything he has done for this country.

Teach your children that good people need to be remembered. And what the liberty bell means to you.

Learn how to make this activity:

  • Cut out the big inside circle from a paper plate.
  • Allow your children to paint or color the outside of the ring.
  • Add the “crack.”
  • And attach 3 bells to the bell with pipe cleaners.
  • Ring your bell on MLK Day!

This is a fun classroom activity as well!

19. Martin Luther King Activities For Kids – Shower With Love

Martin Luther King Activities For Kids

How to explain this activity:

This is more of a fun gross motor skill activity for kids. But you can talk about the need for showing people love and why it’s important.

Learn how to set up this activity:

  • Simply print out a picture of MLK online
  • Glue it to a heart (cut out).
  • Hang it up on a door in our house or classroom.
  • Use your plastic hearts and shower MLK with love.

You can make this a fun game by adding how far away the kids have to stand and how they have to throw the hearts. Although, I always encourage an above head throw.

20. The Candle

Martin Luther King Activities For Kids
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – MLK Jr.

How to explain this activity:

I explained to my children if someone does something bad to you it’s not the answer to hurt them back.

Now, this is always a tough topic for parents. “But I don’t want my kids to be a pushover.” I get it, believe me, I really do.

But hurting someone back is never the answer. Be the light MLK is talking about!

They most likely encounter a child that needs help one way or another. Teach them to ask for help instead.

Learn how to set up this activity:

  • Use an empty toilet paper roll.
  • Glue white paper around it.
  • Cut out a large enough circle that will be the stand for the candle and glue it onto one side of the paper roll.
  • Allow your child to decorate the candle.
  • Use a cupcake paper and add a candle to it.
  • Then, glue it to the inside of the paper roll (just push it into the opening of the toilet paper roll.
  • Darken the room and let the candle shine.

I hope you enjoyed our 20 MLK activities for kids. My daughters and I loved the topic and had a lot of fun with these activities while learning more about peace, love, and kindness.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to get more ideas for fun activities for kids.

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