Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life was cut far too short, but the lessons that he taught live on. Take this day off to tune into his legacy of diversity, awareness, service and love. If you’re not sure how to introduce your young ones to this incredible piece of our history there are lots of opportunities all over Los Angeles to get your family started.

drking.jpg.exportingphoto: LeTania Kirkland

1. Head over to the California African American Museum for their annual “Cake For King” Community Celebration on Monday January 18 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be an art workshop, documentaries, face painting, story time and birthday cake, while it lasts.

2. Children’s Book World will be hosting a special story time in honor of King Day on Saturday January 16 at 10:30 a.m. Join celebrated storyteller Michael D. McCarty as he presents stories of African-American culture that that will offer awareness and fun all in the same program.

kingparadephoto: LeTania Kirkland

3. Bring your young activists in training out to witness the 31st Annual Kingdom Day Parade—the largest parade in the country celebrating Dr. King. The parade route runs along Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Western Western to Crenshaw and Vernon in Leimert Park. The celebration will include marching bands, drill teams, local organizations, and lots of floats.

4. Kiddie City in Leimert Park will be celebrating Dr. King the first two weeks of January until the big day. Come in for free play and your little dreamers can leave their handprints on the “I Have a Dream” wall and write down their own dreams (parents can help out with this part). On January 18, the wall will be unveiled and from 3-5 p.m. the play space will offer MLK circle time with stories and songs about the man himself and arts and crafts.

5. LACMA will be hosting a free day on January 18. The  museum will be offering bilingual tours, a family sketching activity and live music and performance by the California Feetwarmers and the California Feetwarmers Dancers, a local performance group influenced by the flavor and diversity of New Orleans and moves that make them the premier swing dancers in the state.

6. The Pasadena MLK Community Coalition will be hosting five events that include poetry readings, essay and art presentations, a day of service and a church service followed by their annual MLK Day Celebration on January 18. The culminating festival will include guest speakers, food, arts & crafts and helpful, wholesome fun.

muralpaintingphoto: LeTania Kirkland

7. King Day is also known as a day of service. If you really want to get the family into that spirit L.A. Works provides a great opportunity with their annual Day of Service event otherwise known as “A day on, not a day off.” Join more than a thousand community and corporate volunteers to help revitalize Woodcrest Elementary School in South Los Angeles. There will be opportunities to revitalize school murals, paint school buildings and join in on some good old fashioned weeding and landscaping.

8. Join the celebration at Kidspace Children’s Museum for their Cultural Diversity Days, Saturday January 16-Monday January 18. The event’s mission is to continue Dr. King’s legacy of “breaking down walls of segregation” by honoring a variety of cultures with performances and activities. Your littles can join a Brazilian carnival procession, jump in a grape stomping pool, create Russian nesting dolls or decorate their arms with Indian henna, just to name a few of the fun activities.

9. The Barnsdall Art Park Foundation hosts free family art workshops nearly every Sunday. On January 17, the whole family can join in to make MLK Day “I Have a Dream” posters. You don’t have to bring anything besides your shining selves. All materials are provided.

10. Catch the powerful (but temporary, it ends February 21) exhibition “A Path Appears: Actions for a Better World” at the Skirball Center. The program was inspired by the bestselling book A Path Appears and is a gallery exhibition including photos and storytelling that explore the pressing issues of education, health, good jobs and empowerment. Step into the space and learn about the humanitarian groups that are already working to tackles these issues. The whole family just may be inspired to help make change for the better.

What will your family do on MLK Day? We’d love to hear your plans in the comment section!

—LeTania Kirkland