First 5 LA Hall of Heroes: Labor Day

You are your child’s first teacher and are very important to their intellectual growth. From the beginning, your baby is learning language skills that will help with learning how to read, write and communicate out loud in the future. Every time you sing, read, or speak to your baby, you are teaching them—which positively impacts learning and success throughout life.

In celebration of Labor Day, First 5 LA is offering ideas and activities focusing on learning about workers in the United States of America, and how they organized to improve working conditions. These hard-working, everyday heroes continue to grow, create, build, and repair things so that we can all live better. We are excited to offer information, teaching ideas, and fun activities for you and your child to share.

First 5 LA Hall of Heroes: Labor Day and American Workers (First Monday of September)

Labor Day is often seen as just a marker for the end of summer or when school starts up again. However, this national holiday also commemorates an important part of American history. Labor Day celebrates the American Labor movement and the battle for fairer laws and conditions for workers.

In the late 1800s, American factories and mines were busier than ever before but wages were very low. As a result, laborers had to work more than 12 hours a day, seven days a week, just to make enough money to survive. In fact, some factories had no age restrictions and children as young as six worked long hours. With low pay, unfair hours, and unsafe or hostile work environments, factory workers had enough. Labor unions began to form, which aimed to protect the rights of their member workers. They organized strikes, protests, and rallies, and demanded changes in working hours, age restrictions, and workplace safety, as well as better pay.

The American labor movement paved the way for fair and lawful working conditions and pay. It helped Americans lead better and healthier lives, and contributed to work standards in place today. We now celebrate Labor Day to honor American workers who fought for fairness and integrity in the workplace.

Labor Day Learning Activities:

“Who Made Dinner?” Drawing Activity: Labor Day celebrates workers who do things that improve our lives. With your child, draw the workers who helped “make” dinner. You might include the people who cooked dinner, those who grew the food, those who picked it, those who delivered it to the store, those who put it on shelves, or those who sold it. A lot of workers are involved in just one meal! Discuss and draw other workers who help us every day.

Thank a Community Worker: Workers also help your community to stay safe, well maintained and more. How many important helpers in your community can you and your child name? With your child, choose a worker or group of workers — firefighters or police officers, for example — and write a letter of thanks for their work. Drop the letter off in person at your local fire or police station.

Read and Learn: Learn more about Labor Day with these books…

A Labor Day Hooray by Dee Smith

A dog explains to his young friends why Labor Day is so important to him. Accompanied by charming illustrations of dogs doing various jobs, this book is a great way to celebrate this end-of-summer holiday. Ages 4-6.

Who Started the Labor Day Celebration? by Baby Professor

How did this special summer holiday begin? What is so important about Labor Day? Dive into this informative and easy-to-read book and learn about the origins of Labor Day. Ages 5 and up.

Labor Day by Meredith Dash

With easy-to-understand text accompanied by many historical photographs, this book is a great look into what makes Labor Day such an important American holiday. Ages 4-7.

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