Meaningful ways to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

There’s a plethora of events in Chicagoland honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday – from story telling to symphonies to hands-on learning. Check out our list below. Monday is definitely not a day to stay at home.

Honor Dr. King and celebrate his legacy at one of these family-friendly events in Chicagoland.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Learn about one of America’s most inspirational social activists who led the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used nonviolent methods to achieve social change. Come celebrate this remarkable Nobel Peace Prize winner by creating a colorful collage of Dr. King.

Black Creativity Family Day

Meet and interact with STEM professionals in workshops called Jr. Science Cafés, enjoy hourly facilitated workshops in the Innovation Studio (10 a.m.-3 p.m.), and visit The Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition, which features more than 100 dynamic art works from both professional and amateur African-American artists from around the country.

What Does It Mean, Dr. King?

This original production presents the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the complex issues of prejudice and equality in a way that children from preschool through elementary school will be able to comprehend.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Kids help honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by creating tissue paper flowers for people in the hospital. The library will also host a special storytime and activity for preschoolers from 2-2:30 p.m.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Join us for a volunteer day of service at Dan Ryan Woods in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. Try your hand at restoration by helping remove invasive plants while learning about efforts being made to maintain healthy habitats. Warm up with a hot drink and a brush pile burn while also enjoying some winter family-fun activities.

Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year’s program includes a never-before-seen performance featuring young musicians from every corner of the city playing and singing “side by side” with the orchestra. The signature Sinfonietta performance will highlight the next generation of diverse musicians being developed in Chicago and celebrates the city’s intergenerational dedication to the messages of Dr. King. Performances take place at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie (Jan. 14), Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College (Jan. 15) and Symphony Center (Jan. 16).

MLK Youth Workshop

Use mosaics to honor Civil Rights activist, Martin Luther King with a fun and thoughtful art project. Students will first learn about the different mosaic materials, tools, and techniques. Participants will watch Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and briefly discuss themes of peace, unity, community and diversity. Each student will then make their own mosaic piece based off one of these themes. All tools, supplies, and materials are provided.

King Day Festival: Lift Every Voice

Discover the power of your voice and tell the story of your vision for the world. Hear a reading of a new children’s book A Gift From Greensboro by author Quraysh Ali Lansana and experience performances by young poets from Reborn Poetry Ensemble. Participate in collaborative art-making with artist Indira Freitas Johnson, enjoy art chats with teen interns about art on view and more.

M.L. King Day Celebration

The event includes a poetic salute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., storytelling, youth and Family “Make & Take” art project workshops, family-friendly films dedicated to Dr. King’s Legacy, live radio broadcasts and more. Visitors will also have the opportunity to send President Barack Obama a very special “thank you” for eight great years by signing a special “Thank You Mr. President” banner which will be presented to the Obama Foundation.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

A celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King featuring music performances, craft activities, storytelling and more. Visitors can enjoy a production of “The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights,” by Writers Theatre and a musical performance by the Chicago Chamber Choir, along with storytelling and crafts for kids that reflect Dr. King’s messages of peace and justice. Award-winning storyteller Oba William King will perform a reenactment of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

At noon, guests can stop by the zoo’s Discovery Center to meet some of the zoo’s animal ambassadors and enjoy performances by members of the Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project and Shift: Englewood Youth Orchestra. Afterwards, Rev. Debra Williams will share some inspirational remarks. Stay for a viewing of Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, followed by another musical performance by Claire Samojedny and the Matea Valley String Ensemble. Kids can participate in a craft activity of sharing their dreams on peace flags, which will be hung on branches and displayed in the zoo’s Hamill Family Play Zoo for guests to view.

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