Whether you’re going to a party, hosting one or just kicking back and relaxing at home, many of us love to celebrate Labor Day. But do you know its history? Here are some fun facts you can share if you’re enjoying your day off of work:
- Labor Day was first celebrated in New York City in 1882 by the Central Labor Union in New York City; congress voted it a national holiday in 1894
- During the Industrial Revolution, the average American worked 12-hour days, seven days a week
- Irish-American pioneer unionist Peter McGuire is often credited as being the “father” of the Labor Day holiday; he wanted citizens that “labored” all year long be acknowledged and have a day to relax
- Labor Day is also recognized in Canada
- The first Monday in September was chosen because it was between Fourth of July and Thanksgiving
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. The time when routines are put back in place, and carefree days spent outdoors start to wind down. Why not mark the transition with a Labor Day party? This summer holiday can be casual and laidback, and all you need is food and fun.
Food: This is the time to take advantage of one of your last opportunities to cook outsid, so build your menu around things you can throw on the grill. Steaks, burgers, hot dogs, kabobs or ribs – pick your favorite and then add all of the side dishes that go with it. For dessert, homemade ice cream is always appropriate. Make it fun by setting up a toppings bar.
Décor: Make the party festive by decorating in red, white and blue. Hang flags. Light up the area at night with red, white and blue paper lanterns or colored lights. And swap out your napkins for red or blue bandanas, creating an Americana feel.
Fun: It’s always a good idea to have some activities planned to keep the fun going. You could set up a volleyball or badminton net, or have a football ready if your crowd loves sports. Beanbag toss or horseshoes are also great games to have on hand, and they can even spark some friendly competition. And if you’ve got kids coming, make sure to plan activities for them, such as arts and crafts or marshmallow roasting.
Labor Day parties are best when they’re worry free. Remember, the most important element is enjoying your time gathering with friends.
If you need some inspiration on activities to do with the kids, we’ve got you covered. Here are five fun things to do this week:
1. See how many Caldecott Medal-winning children’s books you can read this summer. Here’s a list you can bring with you to the library.
2. Have a recycled craft day. Materials are waiting for you in your recycling bin. Check out this easy-to-make rain stick that you can assemble from a paper towel roll, aluminum foil and some popcorn kernels.
3. Be a tourist in your back yard. Visit a local museum, zoo, festival, historic site or water park. It’s easy to overlook the things you see every day.
4. Visit a fire station. Call ahead to see if your local station offers scheduled tours. Many will welcome a visit from local children, and even let them sit in the driver’s seat!
5. Start a collection. Gather rocks, shells or leaves, and look for similarities and differences.
Two weeks into summer vacation and you’ve run out of things to do with the kids. No problem! Here are five things to put on your calendar today:
1. Make your own ice cream sandwiches. Bake your favorite cookies, and let them cool. Put a scoop of ice cream between two, press, and freeze. We recommend peanut butter cookies with chocolate ice cream!
2. Make a fort out of cardboard boxes. Visit your local appliance store for the really big boxes, and let your creativity soar.
3. Visit a farmer’s market or a pick-your-own farm. Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries taste better when they’re fresh.
4. On a rainy day, hold an A to Z scavenger hunt inside your house. Challenge the kids to find something that starts with every letter. For young kids, this can be educational, too!
5. Grill homemade pizza. Burgers can get boring, so make your own dough, par-bake it so it doesn’t fall through the cracks, and let your topping imagination go wild!