17 Family Labor Day Activities That Are Fun & Memorable

Enjoy fun and meaningful moments this holiday weekend with these Labor Day ideas for families with kids of all ages.

Updated August 10, 2023
Family Picnic on Labor Day

Labor Day is known as the summer finale for outdoor celebrations and barbecues before the fast-paced days of the school year take over your family's schedules. Labor Day activities are a great way to enjoy time with loved ones, make memories, and slow down for the last time before we fall into the next season. If you are looking for things to do on Labor Day, we've done the work so you don't have to!

Labor Day Activities for Families With Older Children

Older children can spend this holiday digging deeper into the meaning behind Labor Day, while having a blast with family members. These Labor Day activities can help your kids learn while having fun at the same time!

Give Back to Those Who Labor on Labor Day

little girl with thank you sign

Labor Day pays homage to the hard-working people of America. The first weekend of September is dedicated to labor union workers to honor their great achievements.

Families with older children can use this time to honor the present-day workers who don't get to partake in the typical backyard celebrations. These can include law enforcement and firefighters, healthcare workers, airport employees, journalists, and grocery store/retail workers.

Spend the day whipping up some goodies (or just buying some) and dropping them off to those who still have to work that Monday shift. Research actually shows that happy people become happier when engaging in acts of kindness. This is a great way to pay it forward and teach your kids some gratitude at the same time!

Host the Backyard Olympics & After Party

Labor Day is a day for many to kick back and relax, leaving their work worries behind, if only for a minute. This makes it the perfect time to gather those closest to you and spend the day playing any number of backyard games. Choose a few games designed especially for children and a couple for adults only. Then, plan a picnic feast and top the day off with your favorite summer cocktails and warm-weather mocktails.

Research Your Dream Jobs

Since Labor Day is a tribute to the hard-working people in America, spend time brainstorming with the older kids in your family about what they want to be when they grow up. Create a list of cool occupations that correlate with their interests and research those careers.

How much can they make as a dolphin trainer? Where do they need to go to school to be a gaming programmer? What classes would they want to take in college to be a zoo veterinarian?

Older kids can set off to do their exploration, and parents can get in on the fun, too. Even if they've had their eye on a specific career for a while, have them consider an alternative path that they think might also be a blast. Share your findings later in the day over a delicious bbq dinner or a tasty ice cream treat.

Try Your Hand at Some DIY

family painting a deck railing

A weekend off of work, school, and sports? Put those teenagers to work! It is "Labor" Day, after all. If you have a handy family who likes to tackle projects together, use this holiday to renovate and create. Spruce up the garage, repaint the deck, or build a fire pit in the yard. Give a bathroom or bedroom new touches and a coat of paint, or create a reading nook or gaming area for your kids.

Children like to get involved in creating, and when everyone is involved, they might not even see this type of family activity as work. The entire gang will head into a new school year with a brand new space to enjoy in their home.

Have a Labor Day Scavenger Hunt

Older kids love scavenger hunts! For a Labor Day scavenger hunt, create a list of items to find that reflect the patriotic American spirit. Have kids identify red, white, and blue items, an item with the American flag on it or the word "Freedom," George Washington's picture, bbq utensils, hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, ice cream, or any other items associated with this late summer holiday.

Write Thank-You Cards to Active Military Members & Veterans

Another group who doesn't always get the pleasure of taking time off for Labor Day is the military. A meaningful Labor Day activity is taking the time to thank these hard-working people across our nation and beyond. Operation Gratitude is a fantastic organization that strives to thank those folks who sacrifice for our country.

They do this by sending care packages, and they make sure to include "handwritten letters in every Care Package sent to our deployed troops, recruit graduates, veterans, wounded heroes, and first responders." So, bring your pens, stationery, and a pitcher full of freshly made lemonade to the back deck or the four seasons room, and get everyone involved in some letter writing

Need to Know

If you want to send letters through Operation Gratitude, make sure to download their letter-writing guides. They also have coloring pages for the younger members of your family to get involved.

Labor Day Activities for Families With Kids of All Ages

Your kiddos might be too little to understand the meaning of labor unions and the U.S. Labor Movement. However, they can still have fun with summery, patriotic activities that will make for a memorable family weekend to close out the summer.

Make the Day Labor-Free

The diligent American people of the past made Labor Day something to celebrate. Honor them by taking the day off from all back-breaking work. Do zero chores, order dinner in so no one has to cook or clean up, and feel free to lie around in your pajamas all day long.

Have a Red, White, and Blue Day

two boys in red, white, and blue with pinwheels

While your children may not be at a place where they can comprehend why Americans celebrate Labor Day, they still probably understand that their country bleeds red, white, and blue. So, have everyone dress up in red, white, and blue hues and hang colorful streamers and balloons in your home's communal space. Make snacks that reflect the country's colors and consider doing a patriotic art project or two.

Create Labor Day-Inspired Crafts

While major holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter have the most holiday crafts, there's no reason to exclude Labor Day in the artistic department. Create paintings of fireworks or American flags, make festive U.S.A. banners out of red, white, and blue construction paper and streamers, or try to fashion fire fighter, train engineer, or police hats from paper and felt. The sky's the limit when it comes to patriotic crafts!

Play Labor Day Pictionary

Pictionary is a great game to get the family thinking and laughing together. For the holiday, draw clues that commemorate it. Some Labor Day ideas include:

  • Grilling
  • Playing baseball
  • Fire fighters
  • Police officers
  • Factory line workers
  • Fireworks
  • Boss
  • Money
  • Assembly line

Learn How to Make an All-American Dish Together

If you choose to stay in and make a masterpiece meal for the holiday weekend, get your gang in on the action. Older kids know their way around the kitchen fairly well, so call upon them to be your sous chefs. Together, think up some tasty all-American treats from appetizers to main meals and, of course, desserts like apple pie. Allow each family member to create a dish, or work in pairs to contribute to the meal.

Host an Outdoor Movie Event

Young friends watching projection screen at campsite during night

In many parts of the country, Labor Day comes during a time of year when the evening weather is pleasant. This makes for a perfect backdrop for hosting an outdoor movie event in your front or backyard. Tie a sheet between two trees, or rent a screen, and project a lighthearted family film that all will enjoy. And of course, don't forget the popcorn and custom toppings!

Shop the Sales

While you may have gotten your back-to-school shopping done over a tax-free weekend (if your state has one), Labor Day is a great time to snag some outdoor gear. Also, if you did forget a few items on your school shopping list, this is the time that retailers are normally clearing shelves to make room for all their seasonal items. Finally, for those folks who live in places like Texas where shorts are a staple until November, make sure to look for summer clothing deals!

Labor Day Activities for Adventurous Families

For some families, Labor Day is all about getting out of the house and squeezing in one last adventure before the school year begins again. These outings are excellent ideas for families who love to be on the go during the holidays.

Playful father and son sharing candy floss at the fun fair

Seek Out a Local Festival

Summer is a prime festival season. It seems as if every town in every state hosts a different type of summer celebration. No matter where you live, you can be sure to find a nearby festival to hang out at during Labor Day weekend. From music to food to history and more, festivals offer a little something for everyone.

Go on a Day Trip

You may think that you've done everything there is to do where you live, but adventure awaits closer than you think! If you have the time, consider exploring a nearby national park, area caverns, regional farms, or even go on a drive-through safari. If you have big sports fans in the family, college football will also be underway with games scheduled throughout Labor Day weekend. If you live nearby, consider grabbing tickets and getting a true game-day experience.

Volunteer in the Community

So many people give so much to make Americans stable, safe, and comfortable. Use the weekend to give back to those in need. Take your family to any community-based food bank, homeless or animal shelter, disaster relief organization, adoption or foster agency, or nursing home, and spread kindness and love. Even if your brood ends the weekend tired to the bone, their hearts will be full.

Wade Around a Local Watering Hole or Hit the Beach

Family visiting the beach on a sunny day

You're going to blink your eyes, and summer will suddenly be a distant memory. Soon you will fall into autumn (you can probably already smell the pumpkin spice in the air if you sniff hard enough), so spend your final summer moments at any local water's edge. See who in the family can make the coolest sand castle, play frisbee in knee-deep water, read books under an umbrella, or take a boat out for a spin. Soak up the sun, the surf, and your loved ones' company before you head into a busy school year.

Keep Family and Fun at the Forefront

You can make Labor Day weekend educational, spend it with friends and family having fun in the sun, or laze around and be labor-free for the day. However you choose to organize your holiday weekend, be sure to spend it with the people you love doing something meaningful.

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17 Family Labor Day Activities That Are Fun & Memorable