Labor Day 2021 is just around the corner, and teachers around the country will soon be bombarded with the popular question, “Is there school on Labor Day?” Instead of just saying ‘no’ on autopilot, now is the perfect time to take advantage of this excellent learning opportunity in your classroom.
By delving into American history this month, your students will see how certain historical events shaped the labor movement in the United States and how it continues to impact each of their lives today.
As a class, you can:
- Find out when Labor Day takes place every year
- Discover why Labor Day became a federal holiday in the United States
- Learn some of the best ways to commemorate it over the long Labor Day weekend
- Complete some fun Labor Day activities as a group
The options for celebrating Labor Day as a class are virtually endless. And you can even create some of your own unique Labor Day traditions in your classroom.
When is Labor Day?
Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September. So it changes from year to year based on which date it happens to fall on. In 2021, Labor Day takes place on Monday, September 6th.
Labor Day Activity Ideas
There are plenty of Labor Day activity ideas that your students can do at home with their families over the long Labor Day weekend. And having students brainstorm ideas for celebrating the holiday with their families and sharing them as a class can be a great way to introduce the topic for the first time.
For instance, many families enjoy hosting picnics and barbecues, attending parades, and watching fireworks displays. While other families like to take advantage of the time off by traveling on vacation or to visit close family members and friends.
Unique ideas for celebrating Labor Day and the American worker, in particular, include taking a farm or factory tour, volunteering your time, or bringing treats to your local police station, fire station, or hospital.
You can also go to a festival, attend a football game, or visit a local history museum. Many families also like to do outdoor activities like swimming, boating, hiking, building a bonfire, or playing backyard games since Labor Day also signals the end of summer.
See how many of these Labor Day activity ideas your students can come up with on their own, share them with the class, and then move into the history of the labor movement and how Labor Day became a federal holiday.
History of Labor Day
Labor Day became an official federal holiday in 1894. It was created to celebrate the workers in the United States and the many social and economic achievements being made in the country at that time.
It took place during the Industrial Revolution when the country was moving away from a farming and craftsman-type lifestyle to one that was driven by manufacturing on a large scale.
Back then, Americans worked incredibly long hours—often 12 hours per day, 7 days per week—and they were often subjected to very unsafe working conditions. Children as young as 5 or 6 years of age were often employed in mills, factories, and mines too.
As a result of the harsh working conditions, labor unions began to form in order to fight for the rights of the working class. Strikes and rallies took place to encourage employers to place a limit on work hours, pay a living wage, and make their facilities safer.
Labor activists pushed for Labor Day, which was already recognized in some states, to become an official federal holiday in 1984.
To this day, Americans continue to celebrate Labor Day and all of the American workers who have contributed to the strong economy of the United States.
Labor Day Activities for Kids
Labor Day activities for kids can be a fun way to supplement what they’ve already learned in your class. And you don’t have to spend your precious planning time creating them because there are so many already available on the internet.
There are Labor Day worksheets geared towards learning the history of the holiday, word searches, picture matching games, vocabulary definitions, word scrambles, crossword puzzles, and many more.
If you’re looking to give your students a multimedia experience, you can show a Labor Day video for kids on Youtube. From fun facts to songs, book read alouds, and cartoons, you’re sure to find a Labor day video your students will enjoy.
And to tap into their creative side, check out some of the Labor Day art projects and Labor Day crafts for kids online. Pinterest is a great resource for all things creative, and there are tons of pins out there with fun and unique ideas that your students will really get into.
Some of the art projects include painting American flags, painting fireworks with forks, and painting patriotic lanterns. Plus, there are really fun craft ideas like making patriotic suncatchers, luminary jars, and confetti launchers.
Lastly, you can set up a competitive typing challenge among classmates with the Labor Day custom typing lesson found on Typing.com. The Labor Day-related content has already been written for you so your students can practice their typing skills in a race against the clock with little prep required. All you need to do is view our activity and log in to your teacher portal to create the lesson!