Posts Tagged ‘MLK Day’

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Growing up my parents didn’t spend a lot of time educating us on Black history. What we did learn, we learned in school… Which wasn’t much. And was often uncomfortable. When you’re the only black kid in class and topics like slavery and civil rights are being discussed things get weird.
I don’t want that for my kids. I want them to grow up knowing, understanding and appreciating Black History–Never feeling uncomfortable discussing it with peers, but empowered.

This school year has turned into a subtle year of Black History studies. It’s not like we purposely study it every day (we are actually studying about early pioneers officially but bouncing around thanks to our fascination with the Hamilton musical) but it’s come up a lot.

I knew this year I’d be going to do the MLK march with kids. I’d done them in college, and a couple since, but I wanted to start the tradition with my own children. This year for the first time I brought my kids downtown to the MLK March to the Texas Capitol and we had the time of our lives. I hope this is a tradition we keep for many years to come.

I’m going to back up for a minute to our visit to  Washington D.C. a few months ago, where we say the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial and where he gave his infamous speech.

Visiting DC

Washington DC with kids

We visited the new African American History museum in Washington D.C., the MLK Memorial and stood in the spot where he gave his I Have a Dream speech.

washington-dc_0388-copy

Washington DC with kids

Homeschool

Then several of our books about Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and the Lovings are easily some of our go-tos. Beyond that, last week I randomly picked up an American Girl story on CD from the library. It’s Addy’s story. Lil’ J fell in LOVE with these stories. We’re already on book 5 of 6. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s about a little girl who was born into slavery, and the story of her family escaping and trying to reunite.

It’s opened the doors to a lot of conversations about the history of our country, and some candid yet very casual conversations about skin color and differences. She LOVES Dr. King, and she had his birthday circled on her calendar.

A day after her birthday is our nations birthday and we get fireworks. The day after my birthday is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. We get to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how we can help bring even more unity in the world.

MLK March with Kids

In the past we’ve done little crafts and celebrated with “Peace Pie” (a simple dessert tradition we started). This year we added in the kids’ first MLK march to the state capitol building. I packed my son’s balance bike in the car before we left (best decision ever) and they had a blast! We brought canned foods to donate to the Capital Area Food bank. Did you know MLK Day is also now known as a national day of service?

mommy and me mlk

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

We can’t wait to go next year.

Listening and Reading

When we got home we watched the I Have a Dream speech twice and followed along in a beautiful illustrated storybook I picked up at Half Priced Books for $3! I just checked to see if it’s on Amazon but it looks like it’s only available through scholastic.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Talking and Tasting

We put together some snacks and listened/read the speech while they filled their bellies. Afterwards we called Grandma Nan (my grandmother) and talked to her about some of what she remembers from that day. She told us she was in high school and wanted to go hear the speech but her dad wouldn’t let her! Lil’ J could not understand why he didn’t let her go.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Feeling

Before we cut into our third annual Peace Pie after dinner my daughter said we each needed to say something we’re thankful that Dr. King helped bring about.

“That he taught love, not hate,” my sweet daughter said.

She’s getting it.

I hope it’s one of those days they remember for a long time. I know it will be for me.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

And now I photo dump the rest of our day all over you. Forgive me/ enjoy!

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids. Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids. MLK March with kids.

 

If you made it this far let me know if you did anything to celebrate, or your plans for next year!

Why I took my kids to an MLK march (and you should too!)

When it comes to teaching our kids Civil Rights history, I’ve seemed to have done most of it so far. So I was amused when I overheard a conversation about MLK Day between my white husband and our biracial daughter.

He says: You need to start getting ready for bed, you have school tomorrow.
She says: No I don’t! It’s Martin Looser King Day!
He says: It’s what?
She says: [hesitating to get it right] Martin Luther King Day!
He says: Who was what?
She says: Martin Luther King Jr.
He says: No, I mean what did he do.
She says: He helped make the world a better place. He helped everyone to get a long, and to be more fair.
He says: Oh yea?
She says: Yea, because there were signs that said only brown people.–No, I mean only white people could go in. So we couldn’t go in. Only YOU.
He says [after peering an impressive smirk my direction]: Yea, and that wasn’t fair was it?
She says: NO

White daddy, biracial daughter MLK Day discission

I think my husband handled the sudden jab well, considering. To be honest I didn’t even really know that she put it all together as well as she had. We talked a lot about Martin Luther King Jr Day last year, and continued to read some books about him (we like this one) now and then through the year, but I’m so impressed that she still remembers, and even asked about eating “Peace Pie” again–A tradition we started last year decorating an apple pie and an excuse to eat dessert.

I think it’s important we talk about these topics at an age-appropriate level to help our kids know what our country has been through, how people have–and continue– to change, hopefully for the better.

Today we will definitely be reading more stories, having more discussions, and sharing our thoughts on the holiday. We may even work on a craft like we did last year. But most of all we’re enjoying extra time together off of work and out of school, and grateful for the people who worked so hard so that our family can even exist as we do today.

“What’s Milk Day?” My mom recounted my 9-year-old sister asking that question earlier in the day.

“What?” My mom asked her.

“We don’t have school on Monday because of Milk Day, what’s that?”

It then clicked with my mom that she was asking about MLK Day.

I laughed hearing my sister’s question to her, then realized I need to get on the ball with teaching my kids or else we’d be heading down the same path. It’s a part of our history. And I don’t mean just as an interracial black/white family, I mean a part of ALL of our history, as Americans.

My daughter loves knowing what holiday is coming up next. My birthday was last week and the day after she asked me “what’s next?” with a big bright excited smile on her face.

“Valentines Day,” I said after thinking for just a moment. “Oh yea, with the hearts and stuff!” She remembered. Then it dawned on me, “No wait,” I said. “Martin Luther King Jr. Day is next,” I told her.

“What’s that?” she said. Now she’s only four, and she asks a lot of questions, so I didn’t go too deep but I said “He wanted everyone to get along, because not everyone was treated the same back then.” I reminded her of a book we own that has Martin Luther King Jr. in it, and said we’d read it again when we got home. For now, she was satisfied with my answer, although I know she was probably trying just to figure out if it was a holiday that qualifies for cake-eating.

I’d imagined myself checking out a big array of library books on the topic, but I dropped the ball and didn’t account for the library being closed today (duh!). We missed the candlelight walk, and festivities downtown this morning. But I was determined to celebrate with my family.Kids MLK Day I have a Dream Craft

Instead I threw some stuff together and made a lesson about MLK. While my husband was at the gym with the kids I set aside the finger paint and downloaded a new super cute toddler and preschool-friendly book on my Kindle app called “Martin Luther King Jr. A Celebration for Children.” It uses each letter of his name to describe what he did for the world. I it was the perfect introduction for my 1-and-a-half and 4-year old.

Lil’ J was concerned as I explained how some people weren’t treated the same, just because they look different. She pointed out that she and I looked different from one another, and I said yes, but we all have feelings and want to be treated the same.

Kids MLK Day I have a Dream Craft

As I watched my daughter finger paint the planet, she mixed purple and white together. “Look! I made light purple!” she said. I told her our family was kind of like her different shades of purple, and she said “And we’re all the same!”

Kids MLK Day I have a Dream Craft

Big T didn’t have as much fun as I thought he would painting. Who knew he doesn’t like having messy hands.

Kids MLK Day I have a Dream Craft

Kids MLK Day I have a Dream Craft

When we were done painting I had my daughter tell me her dreams for the world so we can put it on top.

Kids MLK Day I have a Dream Craft Kids MLK Day I have a Dream Craft

“I want the same thing as King Jr,” she said. “I wish that everybody would be nice.” She signed her name and stuck it to the world (after decorating the rest of her hand of course.)

Kids MLK Day I have a Dream Craft

During my son’s nap I also sewed Lil’ J a new skirt. She picked out the fabric for Valentine’s Day but I told her it would work for today too.

“Yea, because King taught about love!” she said. Yes! She’s getting it!

I was hoping we’d take a walk down to our neighborhood park and pick up trash along the way to demonstrate giving back and talk about MLK Day also being a day of service, but it got dark before we got a chance. But we will probably just pick the lesson back up tomorrow.

Finally… we’re starting a new tradition and making a MLK “peace pie” because if there’s any way to get my daughter to remember a holiday it’s through dessert. In the future we’ll make it from scratch but this year we’ll just decorate a frozen pie.

MLK-Day-peace-pieI invited my sister over to celebrate with us this evening. She was sad she missed the finger painting so I pulled it out for her to make her own dreams for the world.

How’s that for last-minute planning? Not bad right? The good news is there’s no wrong-day to talk about MLK and what he represents. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t think about it until just now! There’s still time to sit down and talk about what this day means. The one lesson that’s most important for them to know is about LOVE, and learning to love one another despite our differences.

Did you talk to your kids about Martin Luther King Jr today? How did it go?

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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