Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in January

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLKdayEvery year, federal facilities, schools, and banks across the country observe the third Monday in January as a holiday in memory of the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  This year marks what would have been Dr. King’s 86th birthday. January 19th, 2015 is a Federal Holiday to celebrate Dr. King’s life.

Richmond celebrates this important day in many ways. Helping children under Dr. King’s legacy by creating fun projects is one way to teach them about history while having fun.

Fun Kid Projects

  1. Have children create their own poster completing the sentence, “I have a dream that all people in the world…..”. They can illustrate their posters using crayons, markers, cut-outs, and other materials.
  2. Children can create a painting using their handprints. Use different colors of paint so they can create a painting of various colors to show how people come in many colors. All the Colors of the Earth is a good book to accompany this activity for young children (Grades K-2) since it is about the differences in outward appearance of children everywhere, yet they are all essentially the same.
  3. Let children create their own dream book writing or drawing about their dreams and goals. They can create a front and back cover with construction paper and either staple or tie the pages together.
  4. Let children release helium balloons into the sky to celebrate the day in a way that they will remember.
  5. Display the American Flag and have children draw their own version of the flag.
  6. Visit a local library and read books about Dr. King to younger kids. Help older kids find longer, suitable books to check out and read.


Dr. King encouraged everyone to participate in civic life as much as possible. He was an advocate for serving and doing for others. An important way to remember and celebrate his life is to serve others on MLK Day.

Consider ways to offer your “services” to help others on this special day. There are many organized events, but families can create their own in neighborhoods and even in their own homes. Some ideas include:

  • Picking up trash in the neighborhood
  • Taking a gift to an elderly person
  • Clearing debris from your lawn or a neighbor’s lawn
  • Helping with the dishes at home
  • Taking out the trash
  • Visiting local non-profit organizations to lend a hand.

Any act of kindness that helps others is a way of serving – nothing is too small.

Richmond Area Celebratory Events

mlk2005_cncsThe following are events in the Richmond area to celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy (visit websites or call to confirm dates, times, and locations as they may change):

  • MLK Celebration 2015 at VCU
  • MLK Day of Service and Learning at U of R.  Including MLK Family Day at the Student Activities Complex – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.   UR student organizations offer fun activities for children ages 2–12 that tell the story of MLK and the civil rights era. With story hours, craft activities, snacks and more, they will have so much fun they won’t even know they are learning! Space is limited and registration is required.
  • Freedom Classic 2015.  This multi-day festival includes activities throughout Martin Luther King’s birthday weekend. The Festival has activities for the entire family.
  • HandsOn Greater Richmond has great ideas about how to honor this day.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. Join CMoR staff and volunteers for a morning of fun and special interactive activities with HandsOn Greater Richmond on Jan 19th from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.  Featuring: MLK Book Mark Table: Get inspired by Dr. King by decorating bookmarks with quotes from some of his most important speeches! PARENTS: Please bring a book to support the Central Virginia Children’s Book Bank in partnership with Chamberlayne Elementary School.
  • Generation Dream 2015 presented by the Richmond Youth Peace Project – Talented young musicians, dancers, actors and spoken word artists honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sponsored by the Richmond Peace Education Center.  February 6th, 7-9 pm at the Richmond Public Library and February 28th, 2-4 pm at Henrico Theater

Please email us any additional  events to be added to this list to email@completelykidsrichmond.com.