39 Labor Day Activities your Family Will Love
While it’s important to honor and recognize the American Labor movement that fought for workers’ rights on Labor Day, it is also important to recognize that this is an opportunity for you, an American worker, to enjoy the three-day weekend and create new memories with your family.
On the list below, you will find Labor Day activities that are specific to labor day and some that could be fun on any three-day weekend.
A Brief History of Labor Day
At the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, workers, especially the poor, had very few rights.
They often worked 12-hour days seven days a week to simply have enough to survive.
Children as young as five could be found working in factories, making a fraction of what an adult earned while working in unsafe conditions.
As manufacturing increased, Labor Unions began to appear, fighting for workers’ rights.
The Union workers organized strikes and rallies (which would often become violent) to protest the workers’ poor pay, hours, and conditions.
The First Labor Day Parade
On September 5th, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march in New York City, participating in what would become the first Labor Day parade in United States history.
It wouldn’t be until 12 years later that congress would legalize Labor Day as a Federal Holiday in 1894.
Today, we celebrate the American workers and community helpers on the first Monday of September.
With many people celebrating Labor Day at home with their families, it’s time to decide what fun Labor Day activities you can do to make it unique and create a memorable day.
I have no doubt you will find the perfect activity on the list below for your Labor Day celebration.
1. Labor Day Scavenger Hunt
A Labor Day scavenger hunt is a fun way to get out of the house and be in the community. Anyone can do this scavenger hunt, but below are different ideas for teens, younger children, and a family challenge.
- Find and take pictures of as many items as possible that are listed on the scavenger hunt sheet in the allotted time. Usually, one hour is sufficient but can be extended to two hours if needed. Or, it can be an all-day adventure.
- Have the participants from each team pose with the items listed. A minimum of one member from the team must be in each photo.
- At the end of the allowed time, the team with the most pictures wins the challenge.
- If there is a tie, determine the winner with rock, paper, scissors.
- Consider having a prize for the winning team.
- Regarding some items on the list, you can interpret them how you want. For example, when looking for an eagle, you can find anything with an eagle; a sign, a coin, someone’s shirt, a statue, anything!
If the kids are old enough to go out on their own (either driving or walking downtown), give them the scavenger hunt and a time limit and see how they do. The basic rules above apply. Older kids can send the images to you as they find things so you can follow along, or they can show you all the photos at the end of their time limit.
Take a walk or a drive around your hometown and help your children find as many things as possible from the scavenger hunt sheet. Then, like the rules above, have them pose with the item they found and snap a picture. They will like looking at the photos later on.
The family scavenger hunt challenge is a favorite in our family.
You are going to form into teams and compete against each other. The teams can comprise different members of your immediate family; boys against girls, or if your extended family is nearby, have families compete against one another. Also, if you have friends and neighbors nearby, compete against them!
2. Lemonade Stand
Help your children with a lemonade stand. This project is an excellent way for children to learn about money, hard work, and community interaction.
Depending on how much effort you want to put into this project, you could also build the lemonade stand (teaching construction) and bake cookies to accompany the lemonade (Culinary arts).
Post your location for maximum participation if you have a community Facebook or Nextdoor page.
Check out this video to learn how to make your own Lemonade stand.
2. Find a New Park
While going to the park can seem like an ordinary activity, you would be surprised how much joy a new park can bring children—new equipment to play on, new rocks to climb, and a walking trail through the woods.
So make a day of it. Pack a picnic, a blanket, and look at reviews for parks that aren’t too far (around 30 minutes away) but far enough to feel like an adventure.
Going to a new park can easily make for a mini adventure the whole family can enjoy.
3. Check Out a Museum
While not all museums remain open on Labor day, many do. Plan ahead as museums often requires admission tickets to be booked in advance.
4. Chalk Art – Labor Day Edition
This is one of the Labor Day activities that take minimal planning, supplies, and skills if you’re looking for a last-minute way to celebrate.
First, pick a location for your chalk art. It could be right outside your home, at the local park, or in front of the state capitol.
Next, grab a box of sidewalk chalk. Last, show off your skills and patriotism by drawing or writing anything you want. Here is a list for inspiration.
- American Flag
- Bald eagle
- Tools for workers – Construction, Police, Fireman, Teacher, nurses, waste collectors, farmers, etc.
- Statue of Liberty
- 1884 – The year Labor Day Became a Holiday
- Happy Labor Day
- Honor the Workers
- Honor Labor Today and every day
- The strength of the nation lies in its labor force
- Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them
Few things depict summer as well as a bonfire on a cool night; smores included, of course.
With Labor Day marking the unofficial end of summer its time to keep warm by the fire.
Gather your family around to tell stories from the past, talk about the future or your favorite memories from the summer that’s coming to an end.
You could also play bonfire games; check out 8 Campfire Games for the Whole Family.
6. Amusement Parks or Water Parks
A three-day weekend is a perfect time to drive the distance and check out an amusement park your family has been asking to visit.
While there are amusement and water parks big and small in every state, here is a list of some of the most popular you can check out.
But you may want to focus on smaller parks local to your area this weekend to minimize the crowds.
Shout out to my favorite childhood amusement park Santas Villiage.
- Disneyland or Disney World
- Universal Studios
- Six Flags
- Knott’s Berry Farm
- Busch Gardens
- Lego Land
7. Host a BBQ / Potluck
A BBQ is undoubtedly the classic way to celebrate Labor Day and enjoy some delicious food. Y
ou can even incorporate other Labor Day activities from the list into your BBQ festivities.
Host a BBQ for your family, friends, or as a way to get to know your neighbors better.
Then, either keep it simple with hamburgers and hot dogs or, to minimize the work for the host, consider a potluck where everyone brings something to the table (literally).
Check out these Labor Day recipes from the Pioneer Women for inspiration.
8. Help your Children Understand The Meaning of Labor Day
For most children, Labor Day means two things – a three-day weekend and the unofficial end of summer.
And while reading may not be the most exciting of Labor Day activities, today is a great day to teach your kids what Labor Day is all about and why we celebrate it.
Check out the books and videos below for great resources, or stop by your local library over the weekend.
Consider bringing a thank you card or gift to the librarians too!
9. Find a Parade
Many communities celebrate Labor Day with a parade!
While many parades don’t throw candy anymore (The child in me is heartbroken by this new development), parades are still entertaining, especially for young children.
The firetrucks and police cars in the parade and often enough to bring squeals of excitement and are the perfect way to celebrate the national holiday.
Check out your city’s website for other special Labor Day events.
10. Backyard Olympics
Host your own backyard Olympics; this is an excellent addition to a bbq, and the more people who participate, the better.
Backyard Olympics aims to pick silly games that anyone can play and divide everyone into teams.
It could be family against family, boys against girls. Anything goes.
You can choose any games to compete in; they could be classic games such as the potato sack race or lawn games like badminton, but recently, minute-to-win-it games are the new fan favorites.
Check out these sites for inspiration.
11. Block Party
Block parties can be a lot of work but with a little planning well worth the effort.
You will want to plan well in advance for a block party as most will require a permit to block off the street.
Also, because there are so many aspects of a block party to organize, such as food, entertainment, decorations, etc., try to get as many neighbors involved in the planning process to make it less stressful and fun for everyone involved.
Check out the site below for tips on how to throw the perfect block party.
12. Outdoor Movie Night
A long weekend is an excellent opportunity to set up an outdoor movie night.
It can be just for your close family or friends, or you could invite your entire neighborhood. The more, the merrier.
At a minimum, you will need a projector, a white sheet, some blankets to sit on, and fresh-popped popcorn (you can’t forget about the popcorn). You could get an outdoor movie screen and lawn chairs if you want to upgrade.
To add to the fun, bring your kids to the store ahead of time to pick out movie theatre-style candy boxes. If you can’t decide which movie to watch, let everyone write down an option, throw it in a hat, and pull one out randomly.
If you need a projector, this DB Power projector is considered the best projector for outdoor movie nights for under $200.
13. Play Dress Up
Nearly all young children love to play dress-up. Check out these great costumes if your kids don’t already have dress-up clothes.
They can be a firefighter, a policeman, a construction worker, a baker, or anything their imagination can create.
If they choose to be a fireman, you can act out scenes to let them save the day; then, watch videos where they can learn about a firefighters job.
14. Baseball Game
Many Major and Minor League Baseball teams have games during Labor Day weekend and on Labor Day itself.
Check out the team closest to you to see if they have home games that weekend.
Warm Weather Options
If it’s still warm where you live come Labor Day weekend, then it’s time to cool off with these warm weather Labor Day activities.
15. Splash Pad
More and more communities have been installing splash pads in parks, downtowns, and shopping areas. If the weather permits, check one out this weekend.
If there are none close to you, consider buying a splash pad of your own for the kids to enjoy.
If you don’t have your own pool or a community pool, consider having a local adventure and staying at a hotel for one night to access the pool.
17. Beach or Nearby Lake
Take the opportunity for some fun in the water if you’re lucky enough to be close to the beach or lake this weekend.
With fall and winter around the corner, you don’t want to miss your chance for some sun and sand.
We live only a few minutes from the beach; here are some of our favorite things to make the sandy adventure more enjoyable.
Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent Deluxe XL with extendable Floor for Privacy, SPF 50+ Pop Up Beach Tent Provides Shade for 4 or More People While anyone would enjoy a nice shady spot to enjoy on the beach, this sun shade is an absolute must for anyone with babies or very small children. It’s also VERY easy to set up in less than a minute.
CGear – The Original Durable Sand-Free, Water-Resistant Camping Mat for Lifelong use as Picnic Blanket, Beach Blanket, Camping and Concert mat. I was skeptical when my husband bought this, but it gives a great place to put gear, games, and toys—at the same time, giving a sand-free place to sit and enjoy a snack. Any sand tracked onto the mat goes right through it!
Green Toys Sand Play Set This play set is incredibly durable. I have no doubt it will last our kids entire childhood!
Spikeball Game Set – Played Outdoors, Indoors, Lawn, Yard, Beach, Tailgate, Park – Includes 1 Ball, Drawstring Bag, and Rule Book – Game for Boys, Girls, Teens, Adults, Family I have determined I’m not coordinated enough for Spike Ball. Still, it has quickly become my husband’s favorite game to play at the beach.
Kan Jam Original Disc Toss Ultimate Backyard Game – Original Kan Jam is a game I love to play and is easier for the older kids to join in and play too. It packs up small and is fun for hours.
18. Water Fight
If you want to stay close to home but still cool off and have some fun, then it’s time for a classic water fight.
You can also make an easy squirt gun by poking a hole in the top of a water bottle. But watch out for that hose!
19. Rock Painting
Rock painting is a fun activity for children of all ages but on labor day, try to paint rocks that honor the workers.
You can leave them around town or near the job site of the workers you want to celebrate.
Some ideas include:
- Fireman theme – leave near the fire station.
- Police officer theme – leave close to the police department
- Doctors or Nurses theme – leave near the hospital
- Postal theme – leave near the post office
- You could pick any careers from the labor force and create a rock to honor them.
- An eagle
- American Flag
20. Festival / Fair
Come Labor Day weekend; there may be a festival or fair to enjoy near you.
My hometown’s county fair goes through the end of August, but you may have one Labor Day Weekend.
Fairs and festivals offer lots of Labor Day activities on their own. Enjoy funnel cakes, cotton candy, and rides.
21. Backyard Games
Unlike the Backyard Olympics, you can keep things simple with a classic lawn game and a lot less competition (unless you’re like my family, then the competition will be for everything from Uno up).
If you don’t have a yard worthy of lawn games, load up the car and find a spacious park. Our favorite lawn games include:
22. Cook Together
If your kids love to cook, then you could plan a fun treat to make together. Not only is this a great activity, but you get a tasty snack!
The treat could be for you, for a bbq, or you could bring it to any essential workers as a thank you.
Plan to cook anything but try to pick something age appropriate.
It could be as simple as popping popcorn on the stove or making an apple pie from scratch. If your kids are younger, consider preparing all the ingredients to save time and mess.
For great Labor Day snacks and desserts, check out 25 Sweet Treats to Add to Your Labor Day Menu.
Suppose you want to give your children the experience of camping without the hassle.
In that case, camping in your backyard is an excellent option for you and a fantastic way to introduce your children to camping for future adventures.
If you are lucky enough to go camping away from home for the weekend, reserve your spot well in advance, especially at National and State parks.
If you have a long drive to get there, plan fun stops along the way to add to the memories.
24. Labor Day Craft Ideas
If your Labor Day weekend turns out to be rainy, you will want some fun indoor Labor Day activities to keep the kids occupied.
Check out these incredible Labor Day crafts your kids can make to simply hang up and enjoy or hand out to workers they admire.
- American Flag Handprint
- Popsicle Stick Flag
- Popstickle stick stars
- Fork Fireworks
- Make a Fireman hat (or any worker’s har ) from a paper plate
- Labor Day coloring pages
25. Kids Research Dream Job
Are your children old enough to research on the computer? If yes, have them choose their future dream job and research it.
Then, have them come back and give you a five-minute talk about the job, what a day looks like in that job, and what they need to do to get a job like that (tech school, college, etc.).
If your kids are not yet old enough to use the computer solo, you can research it together and watch videos about their future job of choice.
While most of the Labor Day activities on the list are focused on fun, this one is focused on giving back.
The great thing about volunteering is the chance to choose something you love and find a way to donate your time and skills to that cause.
Love animals? Volunteer at a dog rescue.
Love reading? Help children learn to read at your local library.
Love to build things? Check out Habitat for Humanity.
While many organizations may be closed on Labor Day, many others may be open over the weekend, and some (like Dog rescues) don’t have the option to close down.
Volunteering not only shows kids what hard work is like, but it creates memories and work ethic that will last a lifetime.
27. Ice cream
This one might be the easiest of all the Labor Day activities- head out and get some ice cream!
You could also have an ice cream eating contest, make ice cream at home with this ice cream maker or try something new like Nice Cream (banana ice cream).
Any option with ice cream is a great option.
28. Trip Out of Town for the Long Weekend
Long weekends are synonymous with a quick getaway.
A trip could be combined with many other Labor Day activities on this list, like going to an amusement park, camping, or heading to a big city for a baseball game.
Another option is to pick a city, town, or state park on the map you’ve never been to before and see what it offers. We often think a trip must be far out of town or exotic.
Often we don’t take advantage of what our hometown has to offer or that of neighboring towns that are only a few hours away.
Depending on the age of your kids, a hike might sound wonderful.
We found that babies in hiking baby carriers do well, and older kids do well.
The toddler age can be difficult as you may quickly have a sleepy toddler on your hands but check out this shoulder carrier from MiniMeis to extend the hikes you can do.
Consider doing a local hike or heading out of town for the long weekend to try a new hike you’ve never done before.
Who doesn’t love a good concert? You will have to plan for this one, but many communities will have free concerts during Labor Day weekend.
So lay out a blanket and bring some snacks and watch the kids get their dance on. Many areas will also have their concert venues packed for a long weekend.
Whether you like rock, country, or finally tracked down that Bruno Mars cover band, you can undoubtedly find a concert to enjoy.
31. Sparklers and Fireworks
If you have any leftover Fourth of July fireworks or sparklers, this weekend is a great time to use them. However, be aware of local city ordinances on fireworks, so you don’t get into trouble!
Of all the Labor Day activities, this one is very simple and a great way to end the long weekend.
32. Run a Race
Check local events in your area to see if there is a race you or your family can participate in this weekend.
It could be a walk/run, a 5k, a 10k, a marathon, or an obstacle course race. Many obstacle course races also have options for children to run a smaller version of the race.
A race of any kind is a great way to get fresh air and spend quality time with your family.
Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are great any day. We’ve created a list of Labor Day random acts of kindness to honor the hard workers who need to work during the long weekend.
33. Leave a Big Tip for Someone.
If you go out over Labor Day weekend and are given outstanding service by anyone, then consider leaving them a big tip and thank them for all their hard work.
Not only will this make you feel fantastic, but it will also make their day and be a story they tell for years to come.
34. Fill a Treat Basket to Thank Delivery People
While packages and mail won’t be out for delivery on Labor Day, you will still receive packages and mail through the weekend. You can –
- Leave snacks such as bags of chips and drinks on your porch with a sign thanking them for their hard world and offering them the snacks.
- Leave a thank you card or gift card in your mailbox or on yyour porch.
35. Write a Positive Review for Local Business
If you are fond of a local business or mom-and-pop shop, consider leaving them a positive review on google or yelp.
People often leave negative reviews, but we often forget to praise those who do a great job.
If you have a favorite pizza place, game shop, bakery, or escape room, consider hopping online and singing their praises.
36. Use Social Media To Show your Support
Most of us use social media daily but often forget what a big deal it could be to a local business if you show your support through their social media pages.
- Follow them on social media.
- Share their posts
- Comment on their posts
- Post pictures of their products or storefront.
37. Thank a Community Worker
Many of our essential workers are out working today and don’t get to enjoy many of the fun Labor Day activities—firefighters, bus drivers, nurses, police officers, and grocery store workers, to name a few.
Today is a wonderful day to thank them. Here are a few ways to show your gratitude:
- Buy or bake them a treat to enjoy
- Bring them coffee or have a pizza sent their way.
- Check out with a gift card and hand it to the cashier.
- Have your kids write a lovely card and draw a picture you can deliver.
- Have the kids make a card to give to their teacher on Tuesday
- Leave a gift for the Postal Workers on Saturday
- If you see someone working in the sun, hand them a cold drink.
So what will you do this Labor Day Holiday?
Will you stay home and teach your children about labor day through crafts, books, and dress-up, or will you go on a camping adventure that may create memories that will last a lifetime?
Whatever it is you choose to do, we hope this list can help you on your journey toward a fantastic Labor Day.
For more ways to have fun in September, check out 30 Small September Holidays that Make Big Memories. Was there anything on the list I missed? Please let me know your favorite Labor Day activities in the comments below.