7 Ways To Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day At Home
Gather the family for these engaging activities that honor the legendary civil rights leader.
Maria Bailey and Sarah Burns
Martin Luther King Jr. had a very important dream — and his dream changed the world. He believed that everyone, no matter their skin color, should be treated equally, and it was this vision that inspired and mobilized millions of people to try to right the wrongs of history. Dr. King's dream is one we continue to keep alive as we celebrate the life and legacy of the civil rights leader, each and every single year.
This Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 17, 2022), gather the fam to revisit and marvel at his history-defining speeches, discover his personal history that is often left untold, and join thousands virtually at action-packed events hosted online in his honor. Keep reading for more MLK Day activities for the entire family!
1. Join the “March”
It was during the 1963 March on Washington that Martin Luther King Jr. famously led a monumental protest made up of 250,000 people, all calling for the same thing: the civil and economic rights of Black Americans. Before a sea of people, King delivered his iconic "I Have A Dream" speech, boosting public support for the civil rights movement and further cementing the day in history. Each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a march is held in his honor.
While hitting the sidewalk in D.C. isn't an option for everyone (especially during the pandemic), you and your loved ones can "march" virtually, either by participating in a virtual parade hosted in your community, or by registering for one of many nationwide "Peace Walks" through your own neighborhood in Dr. King's honor.
2. Watch His Historic “I Have A Dream” Speech
We’ve read about his “I Have A Dream” speech in the history books, but there’s nothing quite like watching the man himself deliver his powerful words before a crowd of 250,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Besides, Martin Luther King Jr. is not considered one of the greatest speakers in U.S. history for nothing!
3. Discover Things About Martin Luther King Jr. You Didn’t Know
Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished so much during his short life. Besides being a civil rights leader and a doctoral degree recipient from Boston University, King was a Baptist minister, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient (at the time, the youngest award-winner at age 35), and a father!
As one of the most celebrated social rights activists on the planet, you might think that there's not much left to uncover about King and his life's work, but you'd be surprised how much there still is to learn about one of the most influential figures of our time. Not sure where to start? Treehugger has a great list of little-known facts about this awe-inspiring icon ... including the fact that the "I have a dream" part of his historic speech was actually unscripted!
4. Make a Piece of History
Most of us are stuck at home these days, but that doesn't mean we have to cancel our MLK Day plans. CAMP is offering a free drop-in craft project at all stores on January 17 inspired by the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Liberty Bell — or you can join the crafting celebration at home using materials you probably already have.
5. Create a Craft That Inspires Important Conversations
Martin Luther King Jr. inspired us to dream. The timeless wisdom of his words are just as relevant today and allow us to imagine a better, more inclusive world. Reflect on King's message of peace and equality while envisioning your own dreams for a brighter future. Write your dreams into existence — a thought-provoking but straightforward exercise you can do using any materials you have at home. As long as you have paper and something to draw or paint with, you are good to go!
Get inspired with this activity guide on Cherish 365, which demonstrates that sometimes it doesn't take much planning to create something inspiring, and to encourage kids to think critically about how they can promote positive social change.
6. Take a Virtual Tour of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis
National Civil Rights Museum
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was tragically assassinated outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, sending shockwaves across the country and the world. Today, the motel serves as the site of the National Civil Rights Museum, which documents a timeline of key events in the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr.'s influential role within it.
Now you can take a virtual tour of the museum to explore exhibits that span five centuries, from slavery to the Montgomery bus boycott, Freedom Riders to Black Power, and beyond. Go here to start your immersive tour for an experience you’ll never forget!
The museum is also hosting an all-day hybrid in-person and virtual event in honor of MLK on Monday, January 17, 2022: Find out more here.
7. Take a Page Out of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Book
We can't think of a better way to wrap up MLK Day than by reading this beautifully illustrated book version of I Have A Dream as your bedtime story. Each page pairs King's inspiring words from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with illustrations by Kadir Nelson. It also comes with an audio CD of King's speech from that historic day.
Add this book to your collection and inspire little readers to dream.