It is not easy to me to explain about hatred and intolerance to my children. They have lead a somewhat sheltered life; the idea of treating people differently because of how they look is a foreign concept to them and one that I would prefer not to teach them about. But you cannot teach bravery without teaching about fear; you can not teach about Martin Luther King Jr. without explaining injustice.
Our lesson plan for this MLK Jr. Day includes reading the books Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo and Young Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” , a Troll First-Start Biography by Joanne Mattern. The BrainPOP video for Marin Luther King, Jr. is free to watch, (please pre-watch, especially if you have younger children) and you can watch the footage of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech here, below. It’s almost 17 minutes long, so while my kids are listening to it I’ll have them coloring a picture I got from this website that will encourage the kids to look for other skin-tone crayons to color with instead of just “peach.”
For a sweet activity to explain how even though we look different on the outside, we’re the same on the inside, we will snack on M & M candies. First we’ll bite them in half to see how while the outside shell is different colors, they’re all chocolate inside. Then I’ll put an M & M in their mouths and ask if they can tell what color it is just by the taste. We’ll do that several times to make the point that they all taste the same.
Older relatives are a great resource for first hand experiences from this time period. We’ll be interviewing Grandpa over the phone to add to the lesson as well.
I don’t know how or if teaching about this will change how my children look at the world. They are only 7 and 4 1/2. But I hope that this will set a good foundation for further learning when they get older.