Free At Last: a Guide to Celebrating Martin Luther King Day

It’s the third Monday of January, and that means it’s Martin Luther King Day, a time to honor one of America’s greatest civil rights’ activist and to remember his message of equality and freedom. It also signals the closing of schools everywhere as well as most businesses. So, for parents, the challenge becomes finding a way to entertain the kids while also celebrating and recognizing the importance of what this holiday represents. For those of you searching out fun, creative, and educational ways to spend the day, we at Growing Up in the Valley have prepared a small guide full of crafts, activities, and expeditions to help you rock out this Martin Luther King Day!

1. Believe it or not, there are many great kid-friendly arts and crafts that will teach children about the great man himself while also exploring the topic of civil rights. Also important: there are multiple cookie recipes! Check them all out in our Matin Luther King Day Crafts Board on Pinterest.

2. Another way to teach and inspire your children on this holiday is by watching Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The first link below leads to Dr. King’s seventeen minute long speech as recorded by TV networks on August 28, 1963. The second link may be better for younger children with shorter attention spans; it connects to a shortened version of the same broadcast, picking up where Dr. King begins his repetition of “I have a dream.”

Entire “I Have a Dream” Speech

The Shortened Version

Dr. King had such a way with words! We posted a number of Martin Luther King Jr. quotes on our Quotes and Inspiration Board on Pinterest. Check those out too!

Finally, if you’re looking to get out of the house, visit Roanoke’s very own Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial! Here’s the directions link on Google Maps. The memorial’s address is already entered. All you should have to do is plug in your own address for directions.

Whichever way you do spend the holiday, whether it’s crafting, learning about Dr. King, or just relaxing with family, we hope you enjoy it! From all of us at Growing Up in the Valley, Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
-Martin Luther King Jr.


Growing Up in the Valley is Roanoke's very first family focused magazine. We are the premier source for family fun in Southwest & Central Virginia!
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