Frankly, I have been dropping the ball when it comes to celebrating Martin Luther King Day with my kids. I’ve gotta do something to recognize the civil rights leader, because January 20 is more than just a day off from school. So I went on a search for MLK Activities for Kids in Tampa Bay.
On Thanksgiving, we practice gratitude. Then on Valentine’s day, we love on each other. On MLK Day, my kids and I will practice respect. Basically, we’ll talk about treating everyone the way we would like to be treated–a lesson modeled by Martin Luther King, Jr.
But we’ll discuss the heavy stuff while crafting a fun notebook cover, parading in downtown Tampa, or visiting a museum. I hope my kids will begin to say each year, “Every MLK Day we get to do BLANK.”
Tampa Bay MLK Activities
- Dance and cheer at the Martin Luther King parade in downtown Tampa.
- Visit the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg. The museum hosts a candlelight vigil in honor of King on January 19.
- Spend the day in St. Petersburg after the MLK parade (the country’s longest-running MLK parade). Tropicana Field hosts a family fun day, slotted with entertainment, an education drive, a service opportunity, and music.
- Pinellas and Hillsborough county libraries are closed on MLK Day. Plan ahead to check out books about MLK and civil rights. Occasionally, librarians will pull books for you on the topic and share with you about the titles before you take them home.
In-House MLK Ideas
- You and the kids can score some matching MLK T-shirts and medals by running a virtual race. In honor of King, the race offers 1 mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon races. Virtual races offer the challenge of the race but on your schedule.
- Watch a kids’ video about Martin Luther King, Jr. Here’s the thing–you’ve got to watch it with them. Prepare to pause the video to discuss it and answer questions. BrainPop features a kid-friendly video that is fun for kids ages 5-11. The video includes an online quiz, graphic organizer, and other learning tools, too.
- For older elementary kids, create an MLK notebook cover. Using copies of the I Have a Dream speech and some Mod Podge, kids can redecorate notebooks with a collage of keywords from the speech. To craft the notebook,
- First, print copies of the speech, particularly the last five paragraphs that are the best known.
- Second, read the speech aloud with kids. Ask them to highlight words that sound special to them, maybe words that are powerful or inspirational.
- Third, the kids cut out as many words and phrases from the copy of the speech. Another idea is to write the words on individual 3×5 cards.
- Arrange the words on the notebook cover in an abstract design. Add color and magazine cuttings for accents.
- Coat the notebook cover in Mod Podge, a glue-like substance that dries clear, thus protecting the cover.
Martin Luther King wanted to bring people together, so planning a holiday bent on celebrating respect for each other rings true. My kids and I will be starting a tradition to celebrate each year on MLK Day.