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Making Learning Fun: 6 Ways for Labor Day

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

Part of our jobs as parents is to teach our children that holidays aren't just a reason to gather around amazing food. It's our responsibility to teach them the original cause for celebration behind the decorations and family traditions. But how do you teach a young child about all the intricacies of a national holiday? You make it fun!

Labor Day started due to the harsh working conditions of the Industrial Revolution in the US. Unions arose, advocating for workers, organizing rallies, and labor strikes began. While some maintained peace, others did end in violence. It culminated in 1894, with a strike involving railway car production, the railroad union encouraging boycotting, army deployment to Chicago to regain control, and approximately 30 deaths as a result. At the end of this strike, the president declared the holiday as a reminder of the need for fair working conditions, fair pay, and the contributions of working Americans.

You can begin to teach your child about Labor Day by sharing your job with them. For example, my son loves getting packages in the mail. He gets so excited to open them, no matter what they contain, no matter how small. Imagine his excitement when we explained to him that Daddy's new job as a mailman means that he delivers packages to all kinds of families! Depending on the age of your child, you can adjust your explanations. Using myself as an example, I'm a social worker. The concept of that is much too complex for a 3 year old, but he definitely understands that I have to answer emails, take phone calls, and hold Zoom meetings where I talk to other families and other children. I work from home, so he is able to see me at work often and now holds "meetings" of his own and "does his emails", too 😊

Books About Jobs

I love a good teaching through reading moment, and it's so easy to find a fun book that will help your child learn about different jobs and the purposes they serve without even feeling as though they're learning!

Fizz: For ages 7-10, this series follows Fizz through his police dog academy tryouts and training to become a dog detective, and on to his first cases.

Keeping Things Going: For ages 3-7, From firefighters to aid workers and veterinarians to ambulance drivers, mommies and daddies do all kinds of jobs in all kinds of places, but there’s one thing every child knows for sure – they’re heroes! These sweet, rhyming picture books are filled with heroes to celebrate with the whole family. The Family Heroes Series also includes Keeping Us Healthy.

I Like Helping People: For ages 7+, For children who have a passion for something but don’t know how they can turn it into a job, this new series helps them along the way. The That's A Job? Series also includes: I Like Animals, I Like Sports, I Like the Outdoors, I Like Space, I Like Art, and I Like the Performing Arts.

Look Inside Jobs: For ages 5+, Lift the flap to find out lots about what people do for a living, what these jobs entail and lots, lots more in this interactive information book.

Hooray, It's Garbage Day: For ages 2-5, Something’s coming down the street, rolling with a rumbling beat. The perfect picture book to share with sanitation fans of all ages!

Busy Day Astronaut: For ages 2-4, Help the busy astronaut as she flies to the space station, goes on a space walk, and drives the moon buggy. This series also includes Chef, Vet, Athlete, and Firefighter.

Mix & Match Emergency: For ages 1+, Little children will love making funny animals in this entertaining board book. Each page is split into two parts – a head and a body – with animals dressed for different emergency jobs to mix and match. This series also includes Mix & Match Jobs.

Muddle and Match Jobs: For ages 3+, Readers will make up their own funny stories and create original occupations as they flip through the split pages and muddle things up!

Firefighters: For ages 5+, Fires, accidents, earthquakes and floods -- firefighters are never far from danger. Discover in this thrilling book where they work, how they fight fires and how they rescue people.

5 Easy Labor Day Crafts

Thank You Cards: Let your children create simple handmade thank you cards to give to people they see during their day, such as the mailman, the cashier at your local grocery, or the barista at mom's favorite coffee spot. You can start from scratch with some construction paper, scissors, glue, and glitter if you're extra brave - or you can download these printable thank you cards that just need a bit of coloring to be a perfect gift!

Vision Boards: Using any crafty items you may have lying around - magazines, crayons, construction paper, etc - help you child create a vision board around what they want to be when they grow up! Do this every Labor Day and save the boards in a photo album or binder to watch the progress your child makes in their self discovery, interests, and artistic abilities!

Piggy Bank: Talking about work includes talking money, and what better way to help your child start to understand the value and concept of finances than by letting them save their change! Grab an old coffee can, cut a slit in the lid, prime the can with some paint for a blank canvas, and let your kiddo go to town decorating the outside! Make a label to attach on the lid with a reminder of what your child wants to buy when the can gets full!

Flags: There are a variety of ways to make flag crafts, and you can choose which one would work for your child best! Use construction paper and glue to cut and affix strips of paper to cardboard. Use popsicle sticks and markers to color and glue together a little wooden flag. You can even find rectangle wood pieces in the craft sections of Walmart or Dollar Tree that could be painted, glued with colorful pom-poms, or even glued with craft fabric.

Sensory Bottles: Using any empty and washed plastic bottle, baby oil, glitter, and food coloring, you can help your child make a fun red, white, and blue sensory bottle! The food coloring will stay in little bubbles floating around, as it won't disperse into the baby oil, so it's almost like a mini hand held lava lamp. Sensory bottles have shown to help children relax and reduce anxiety, so not only do you get the lesson of Labor Day and the fun of crafting, you get a mindfulness activity for your child, as well!

And if you're a holiday decorator, get your child to help you decorate for your Labor Day BBQ or Potluck with these cute and affordable options. It's easy to work in lessons with fun, and hopefully these suggestions help you help your child learn a little history and the importance behind the fun!


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