fire trucks labor day paradeSeptember 5 is Labor Day in 2016. Perhaps your children are old enough to be aware of that holiday, but may only know it’s an extra day off of work for their parents, or that it’s considered the last big weekend of summer. Here are fun ways to teach your children more about the meaning of Labor Day.

History of the Holiday

Labor Day first became a federal holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed it into law. provides a quality short video about the origins of the holiday. It will be too complicated for your younger children, but older children may enjoy watching it, and you can watch it and share the high points with your younger children using age-appropriate vocabulary.

This holiday is always observed on the first Monday in September, so the actual day varies. It honors the contributions of American workers.

Ways to Celebrate and Explain

If your town holds a parade or festival honoring this holiday, consider taking your child and sharing some of the holiday’s significance. And, whether that’s an opportunity for your family to enjoy or not, shares additional ways to talk about Labor Day.

First, if someone in your family can take your child to the workplace, this could be a great learning experience. If possible, have your child go to a couple different workplaces. How were they different? How were they the same?

You can also find Labor Day-related activities for your child to enjoy at For example, give your child old magazines and encourage him or her to cut out pictures of people at work, then glue them on cardboard or poster board for an occupation collage. Or, if your child is intrigued by firefighters, you can make a fire truck out of materials that are easy to get (or you might already have at home). They include:

  • Cardboard box
  • Four paper plates
  • Red and black paint
  • Three paintbrushes
  • Black, white, blue and orange construction paper
  • Scissors and glue lists books you can share with younger children to explain about certain jobs. Check your library for Jobs People Do by Christopher Maynard, a book sharing information about 50 different jobs, from a builder to a musician to a veterinarian, mechanic, chef and much more. Pictures of real children dressed up in job-appropriate uniforms will likely capture their attention—and perhaps your child would enjoy putting together a costume from a job.

Another book possibility is What is a Community from A to Z? by Bobbie Kalman. This book shares information about a community from multiple angles, including about how people need to work together. Plus, you can find plenty of other Labor Day books to consider for children at Browse the titles of interest, and then you can see if your library has them so you can test them out before deciding whether or not to buy.

Looking for more ways to enrich your child’s learning and life? Horizon Education Center provides affordable quality care including educational and enrichment opportunities for children in the following Northeast Ohio locations.