This year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on January 19, 2015. His "I Have a Dream" speech was on the curriculum when I was in school (30 years ago!) and it’s still a feature in campuses nationwide today.
I look up to Martin Luther King Jr. as a modern hero—a human being who was willing to give his life for equality, justice and freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. also understood what it’s like for many families—then and today—who feel the pinch of economic hardship, and he spoke of it often.
For this reason, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time when you can count on finding many wonderful free resources and activities to enjoy as a family. These seven great freebies honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and help to carry his message forward into 2015 and beyond.
1. Visit national parks for free.
On January 19, 2015, national parks around the country waive entrance fees. More than 400 parks offer free admission to individuals and families on this day!
- Find your closest national park: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm
- What you save: Depending on the park, expect to save $10-$25 per vehicle (for parks that charge by the person, the same applies).
2. Join in the nationwide MLK "A Day of Service."
Martin Luther King Jr. emphasized the value of serving others throughout his leadership years. Because of this, the MLK "A Day of Service" has become a nationwide initiative under the President's “United We Serve" program.
- Download free toolkits to learn more about different service opportunities.
- Access free curriculum kits for grades K-8 from Scholastic.
- If you’re planning a service project and need volunteers, register your project for free!
3. Watch "I Have a Dream" together and complete "Dreams Ideas Sheets" as a family.
One of Martin Luther King Jr.'s, lasting legacies was the idea of making a dream become reality through service and action. You can recreate the power of his legacy as a family by watching (and reading) his famous speech and then completing "Dreams Idea Sheets."
- Watch the video of the "I Have a Dream" speech for free.
- Read the full text of "I Have a Dream" speech for free.
- Download and complete free printable "Dreams Idea Sheets."
4. Visit your local museum for free and participate in free local events.
Many museums across the country open their doors for free to families on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As well, many cities will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with parades, children's fairs, concerts and other festivities. Check your city government website for details.
5. Free Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes App (Android).
This highly rated free app offers a comprehensive list of Martin Luther King Jr.'s most famous quotes.
6. View this powerful slideshow as a family.
This free 8-part slideshow features powerful lessons in equality, faith, non-violence, education, love, leadership, selflessness and hope. Each lesson begins with one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous quotes.
7. Add your own dream to The King Center's website.
Finally, The King Center has created a wonderful vehicle for people to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.'s work. You can now share your own dreams with the world through their website! You can submit your dream by filling out a form and (after a moderator approves it) you can share it with others by sharing the link (and it will remain on The King Center website for public viewing).
- Add your own Dream on The King Center website for free.