Sunday, July 28, 2013

Labor Day Activities for Kids

Labor Day Activities for Kids
Image Credit:  Free-Photos - CCO Public Domain Image - via Pixabay

Why Celebrate Labor Day?

In 1894, Labor Day became an official national holiday in the United States. Labor Day is a special day set aside to honor American workers for all the hard work they do each day. In the world of education, teachers use Labor Day as an opportunity to teach their students about various careers. Teachers usually accomplish that task in the form of thematic units such as “Community Helpers.”

Families might celebrate Labor Day by going camping or organizing a picnic. There are many ways to celebrate Labor Day and teach children about the holiday. However one chooses to enjoy Labor Day, many American citizens are able to enjoy the day by doing no labor at all.  Instead, they choose to relax with family and friends.

Parents and teachers can take time on Labor Day to teach children about many of the careers that make up the workforce in the United States.  It is impossible to cover all areas of the American workforce but the following ideas will help children learn about a few while parents and teachers can teach them to appreciate all American workers.

Postage Stamp Heroes

Ask the children to identify the images on several postage stamps and discuss the reason that particular person is famous. What job did that person do? Do this with several postage stamps so that various historical figures and their professions are identified by the children. Then ask the children to think of someone they know who works hard every day doing a particular job that was not discussed during the postage stamp discussion. Instruct the children to create a postage stamp honoring the person they chose and the job that person does. Display the stamps in the school hallway or classroom to honor those professions on Labor Day.

Appreciation Cards

Whether at home or at school, children can express their appreciation for the adult workers around them. Talk to the children about people who impact their lives and the jobs they do. Some children will tell you about a firefighter or a policeman they know. Other children might name a doctor or a nurse. Some might discuss a favorite professional athlete or the mechanic who works on the family vehicle. Still other children might name their teacher or the mom who works hard all day at home to take care of her family. So many working adults, inside and outside the home, affect the lives of children every day.

After leading a discussion about those people, ask the children to create a special card for the person they chose to discuss. Give them ideas about how to express their gratitude, but allow them to use their own words and decorate the cards themselves. If possible, obtain addresses and teach the children how to address envelopes. Take the children to the post office to mail the cards or ask a mail carrier to visit the classroom and discuss his job with the class and then collect the cards to mail for them.

Career Dress Up Day

Organize a “Career Dress Up Day.” Ask each child to think of the job they might like to do when they grow up. Tell them to come to school on a pre-determined day dressed for that career. If the children are older, perhaps third, fourth, or fifth grade, allow the children to develop and present a presentation to the class explaining the details of the career he or she chose to represent. In the meantime, have various speakers visit the school to discuss their careers with the class. Be sure to include a diverse variety of jobs. Include professionals such as doctors and attorneys and businessmen, but also include mechanics, bus and truck drivers, clerical workers, retailers, etc. Remember to discuss with the children the importance of all sorts of jobs and job types. Remind them that it takes all types of jobs and all types of people to do those jobs in order to keep America and the communities around them functioning every day. Don’t forget to stress the importance and value of every citizen, including the importance and value of every child.

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