A Day for Remembrance and Fun Activities with Your Children

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Martin Luther King, Jr., is remembered for his deeds of valor in promoting good will between African Americans and whites during a time when segregation and race riots were a regular occurrence in America. Today we live harmoniously in our Fort Lee community with neighbors of diverse color and cultural backgrounds.

Take some time this weekend with your children to review the life of Martin Luther King so they understand how the man has changed the world and why there are monuments and a holiday in his honor. Since MLK Day was intended to be a day of service and reflection, why not volunteer in your community? Serve a meal at a shelter or soup kitchen, donate toys to a charity  . . . any service will help teach your child to reflect on King’s commitment to making the world a better place

Celebrate diversity with a party! Have your child invite his friends for lunch/dinner at his home in The Modern. Serve a variety of foods from different countries; Puerto Rican rice-and-beans, a Chinese stir-fry, Mexican burritos, Pizza and an assortment of Gyros. The variations on this theme are endless, and the meal doesn’t need to be time-consuming. You can achieve almost the same effect by stopping for takeout from a diner, Taco Bell, or your local pizza parlor. Last but not least, find a video of the great “I Have a Dream” speech to show the guests. The energy and passion to his cause is sure to make an impact on your children.

For the little ones, TeacherVision, (https://www.teachervision.com/martin-luther-king jr./printable.html) has a printable coloring book that explains the meaning of King’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream” in language a young child can understand.  The last page is an empty thought bubble where kids can write or draw their own dreams.

Here’s a great MLK Day activity to do with younger children: Make a classic paper chains using black, white, red, yellow, and brown construction paper to represent the various skin tones found across our nation. Show children the symbolism behind the craft: “Each link represents a hand, and our chain reminds us that Dr. King joined hands with people of all colors when he marched for freedom.”

Consider introducing the idea of diversity and cultural differences to your youngster by using visual tools. Using six raw eggs, carefully color them one-by-one with a specific colored crayon. Each egg now represents a different ethnic group, and explains why people of different cultures look different from the other. Then, one-by-one, break open each egg into a bowl. Lesson learned? Although people look different on the outside, everyone is the same on the inside.

Remember to teach that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream was not just for one race but all mankind and humanity to co-exist, rise together and be unified.

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