Questions to ask and vocabulary words to learn for children and parents wanting to teach their children about civil rights and Martin Luther King Day.
Holidays are quite often a time when children are home from school, and parents are off work. This makes for a fantastic opportunity to spend some time discussing what the special day means with your children. One way to do that is to make it fun.
Before you can add games or questions and puzzles to the celebration, it’s important to know what the holiday is all about. Then, pass the information along to your children with fun quizzes or games about the history that surrounds the celebration.
A brief history of Martin Luther King Day:
On an August day in 1963 (August 23), Martin Luther King, Jr. presented a speech that would become well-known for years to come. It has been dubbed his “I Have a Dream” speech. The speech was powerful and explained what his hopes were in regard to segregation in America.
Not even five years later (April 4, 1968), Martin Luther King, Jr. lost his life at the hand of an assassin. However, his dream has lived on in the hearts of many. Martin Luther King (MLK) Day is celebrated every January in the United States.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. Because this was his birth date, some wanted to make the 15th into a holiday. After many attempts to make it a national holiday, years after his death (in 1986), the third Monday in January was celebrated to honor this man and his dream. Though, not all states welcomed the celebration with open arms. Some people wanted to celebrate on King’s actual birth day. Others did not want a holiday named after King, saying he represented an entire civil rights movement (not only one man, but an entire movement should be celebrated). Now, the holiday is nationwide and set to be honored on the third Monday in January.
Once you understand the significance and the history behind the day, it’s time to locate a copy of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech and start the celebrations and discussions with your children. This speech is readily available in libraries and online. Here are some questions to ask and learning tips:
How many years are in a score? (20 years)
Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
What did he want to see change - What was his dream?
What are civil rights?
Why is Martin Luther King, Jr. considered an influential leader?
What honor was bestowed upon Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964? (Nobel Peace Prize)
These questions can spur lengthy discussions with your own children. So, be prepared to explain the significance of each one, or to delve deeper through scouring the library, encyclopedias, or online sites for more information as the discussion builds. To learn more, following are some vocabulary words to explore. You can have your child look up their meanings, simplly learn the words and their spellings, or turn them into crossword puzzles, word find games, or play a game of MLK Day word scramble:
- Civil Rights
- Emancipation Proclamation
- Inalienable Rights