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Martin Luther King Activities and Lesson

Preschool Martin Luther King Activities

Martin Luther King Day
Martin Luther King literacy activity


Children will develop listening skills.
Children will learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.
Children will develop vocabulary skills.



Show a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. to children. Does anyone know who this person is? What do you know about him? Allow children to share what they know and write their responses on a large sheet of paper. On the third Monday in January, we celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday. Why do you think we celebrate his birthday? Allow children time to respond. Read the book Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King or another book about Martin Luther King. Talk about the book and write on the chart any new information that children have learned.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is important because he helped our country realize that it needed to change some very unfair laws. A law is like a rule. Sometimes rules are fair and sometimes rules are not fair. What are some of the rules that we have in our class? Are the rules the same for everyone in the class? Are they fair to everyone? Give children time to talk about the rules. Explain that we will try a rule that would be unfair to some children.

Show students a bell and ring it. Get reactions from the students about the sound that a bell makes. Then tell students that Martin Luther King Jr. wanted freedom to ring throughout America. Empty a bucket full of Lego's in the middle of your circle. Divide the children into two groups. One group will get a blue dot on their hand and the other group gets a red dot.

Explain that they will be able to play with the Lego's for a while until you ring the bell. Say: "All children with a blue dot can play with any Lego they would like, but all the children that have a red dot can only play with Lego's that are red."

Let children play for a minute or two and then ring the bell. Switch the rule for the groups. After the second ring, gather children and talk about how it made them feel when they couldn't play with all the toys. These rules were unfair.

Let's look at the book again. Do you remember some of the unfair rules or laws that African-American people had to follow? Allow children time to respond. Refer to the book for examples.

  • Only white people could sit in the front of the bus.
  • African-Americans could only eat at certain restaurants and drink from certain drinking fountains.
  • African-American and white children could not attend the same school.
  • Sometimes African-American and white children were not even allowed to play with one another.


How do you think African-Americans felt about these laws? How would you have felt? How would you feel if I said that you could not play with __________ because he or she has blonde hair, is too short, or comes from a different country than you? Allow children time to respond. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that people should not fight with each other. He believed that we should work together peacefully to solve our problems and differences. He believed that the unfair laws should be changed but not by fighting. He tried to help others change these laws peacefully. What do think it means to solve problems peacefully? Yes, you can use words when you are upset or angry instead of hitting. Encourage children to think of other ways that they can settle their problems peacefully.


Freedom, Freedom, Let it Ring
(Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
(Author Unknown)

Freedom, freedom, let it ring,

"Let it ring," said Dr King.

Let us live in harmony,

Peace and love for you and me.

Freedom, freedom, let it ring,

"Let it ring," said Dr King.



Make cupcakes
Let children frost one half of their cupcake with vanilla frosting and the other half with chocolate frosting. Put a candle on each cupcake. Let children make a wish and pretend to blow out the flame. Then, sing "Happy Birthday" to Martin Luther King.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Internet Sites

Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Birthhome Tour

Why We Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Click here to print this page

Additional Resources

For Newsletter

Martin Luther King worksheet
"I have a dream"
Draw and Write

January 2011

Martin Luther King worksheet
Freedom Bell
Connect the Dots







Movement Activities

picture of Lilly jumping rope

In Praise of Martin Luther King

Let us dance and sing,
in praise of Martin Luther King.

A man of peace who stood up tall.
He worked for fairness for us all.

We must be kind to each other
because he said " All men are brothers."

So let us try as we dance and sing
to be like Martin Luther King.