The Times West Virginian

January 21, 2013

Make MLK Day interesting for kids of all ages

Times West Virginian

— To many young children — and even some adults — Martin Luther King Jr. Day is simply a day off from school or work.

However, kids are often interested in learning new things, and this holiday is a great opportunity to teach them about King and America’s painful history of injustice, the Civil Rights Movement and the long, ongoing march toward equality.

This year, make Martin Luther King Jr. Day more meaningful for your children by providing them with some history as to why we celebrate. Take the time to inform and entertain your children with these educational, affordable activities.

• Read With Your Children.

Most young children enjoy reading, and books about Martin Luther King Jr. can help them learn about King at an age-appropriate level.

For children ages 2 to 4, consider reading “The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.” by Johnny Ray Moore. Kids from 4 to 8 can learn quite a bit from “Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” by Doreen Rappaport.

• Watch Movies About Social Injustice.

Show your teenaged children a movie about social injustice, such as “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Or even better, have the kids read the book first. Discuss what is unjust in the movie and why Scout’s father fought so hard for Tom, the wrongly accused black man.

However, if you’re not familiar with the story, read or watch it yourself beforehand. Though it powerfully showcases prejudice, oppression and their result, it does deal with delicate subjects and can be emotionally difficult for sensitive children.

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