On Monday, January 21, 2013, we will be celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. in our country. It is a good opportunity to talk to our youngest students about fairness, equality, friendship and peace. Parents and preschool teachers can recognize this day with some age appropriate art and learning activities. Here are a few ideas for activities you can do with your young children in a classroom or at home.
We are different and the same activity: You can talk with young children about how even though we are different in many ways (such as our skin color, hair color, eye color, age), everyone is special and we have many of the same hopes, dreams and feelings on the inside. A simple activity that highlights this concept uses brown and white eggs. Show the child/children how the eggs look different on the outside. Ask them, "What is different about the eggs?" Then crack the eggs and show the children that even though the eggs look different on the outside, they are the same on the inside, just like people. Afterwards, you can cook up the eggs for snack and compare how they taste!
Handprint wreath: An art project that you can do on this day is to make a handprint wreath using multicultural skin tone paints. In a classroom setting, this is a beautiful way to reflect the diversity in your classroom. In a home setting, it is a wonderful way to explore all the lovely shades of skin colors that exist in the world. Paint children's hands with the paints and have them make a print on a sheet of paper. Once dry, cut out handprints and arrange them in a circle on a bulletin board or large sheet on easel paper. Display with the heading "Love comes in many colors"!
There are so many great resources available online to get more ideas to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Below are a few links to some good early childhood resources:
- "I have a dream" handprints -- The SEEDS Network
- MLK Day ideas -- Pinterest
- Teaching diversity to children -- PreK and K Sharing blog
- Learning about Martin Luther King Jr. in preschool -- Teach Preschool
- Crafts for Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- Frugal Family Fun
- Martin Luther King Activities -- Twiggle Magazine