4 Kid-Friendly Labor Day Party IdeasAugust 30, 2017
Make all the neighborhood kids jealous with these party tips and games
The Labor Day holiday has come to signify the end of the summer, which is why we tend to celebrate with pool parties and barbecues. And while many do host family-friendly versions of these events for adults and kids, these often look more like a party for adults with a few kid-friendly lawn games.
This Labor Day, why not cater to the kids in your life—and the one in your own heart—by hosting a kid-friendly Labor Day party in your backyard. After all, Labor Day marks a melancholy time for youth, too: they returned to that daily school grind after long days of a carefree summer. They deserve one last bash.
Timing is everything
Though half the fun of throwing a kid-friendly party is planning party game ideas, some of your planning should also be logistical. For example, while most barbecues and backyard shindigs take place in the late afternoon and evening, kids are on a different time schedule.
The ideal kid-friendly bash should begin in the early afternoon—say, 4 or 5 p.m. Kids are awake and energetic, and with a little sunscreen, plenty of shaded retreats and lots of hydration, they can handle the heat. Your party should wrap up around 8 or 9 p.m. at the latest, to make time for everyone’s good night rituals.
Be sure guests know your party has come and go privileges. In other words, there is no obligation to stay for each minute. So if anyone might need to run home to accommodate a nap or other daily ritual, go right ahead. Make it clear that the party will be waiting for them when they get back. It might even be nice to set up a naptime spot indoors for kids who need a little rest. A few bean bag chairs, soft lighting and some cartoons on TV might be all you need for your little guests to feel right at home while they rest.
Embrace food on a stick
Adult barbecues are a great time to show off your culinary chops, but at a kid-friendly Labor Day bash, you will need to think more inside the box (sometimes literally) to appease the often picky, but simple palates of your guests. This includes thinking on the go—kids rarely sit down long enough to enjoy a full meal, so you will need to prepare something that travels well, so to speak. Burgers and hotdogs are great options for kids, but it is possible to be inventive—and maybe even get your kids interested in cooking.
Might we suggest skewers?
This barbecue classic is perfect for a kid-friendly Labor Day bash. Skewers or kebabs are simple, hearty and fun to make. You can throw on some simple options, like this grilled chicken fajita skewer and this veggie skewer. Or, if the kids seem interested, put out bowls of veggies, meat and sauces, and let them make their own creations! You can use popsicle sticks instead of traditional skewers for younger kids. Make it a theme and serve grilled or fresh fruit skewers for a light, sweet dessert.
Pro tip: soak wooden skewers in water for 15-30 minutes before you throw them on the grill to prevent them from catching fire.
Create craft stations
Young kids love to get creative and express themselves, so why not integrate a few crafts into your kid-friendly Labor Day party planning. A simple way to provide a creative outlet and keep kids at the table long enough to finish their meal is to use a long sheet of paper or a chalkboard as a table cloth or runner for your kid’s table. Set out plastic cups full of chalks, crayons, colored pencils or markers and encourage your guests to doodle their little hearts out.
If you are looking for something elaborate, a backyard party is a great opportunity for a tie-dye party or station. It might not be a faux pas to wear white after Labor Day anymore, but every kid needs some color in their lives. Tie-dyeing is actually pretty simple now that all-in-one tie-dye kits are available, but this one does require some prep work and monitoring. Most kits come with gloves and rubber bands, but you will still need to assemble some materials and set up a separate area away from the food. Ask parents to bring items like T-shirts and a take home bag if you are looking to cut out some extra work and cost for yourself.
Of course, the highlight of any kid-friendly backyard party are the games—even for adults. Who doesn’t love watching the young ones in their lives run and play with abandon? Go above and beyond with this last summer bash and create play stations throughout your backyard that encourage your guests to spread out and cater to their often limited attention spans.
You can go a little traditional with a backyard bowling set. This works best if you have a stretch of concrete or semi-flat section of your yard. You can purchase one or simply make your own using empty plastic liter bottles. Fill the bottom of the bottles with water for weight, as you do not want them to blow over or roll away. Grab a basketball or soccer bowl to roll and you are ready to go.
A bubble station is another spin on a classic backyard barbecue activity. Fill a small inflatable or plastic pool with bubble solution. For best results, fill it the night before and let it sit. The day of the party, make sure each young guest has their own bubble wands. Kids can dip their wands in the pool as they go or you can give them small paper or plastic cups for personal, refillable carriers.
If the kids are bubble crazy, add a hula hoop to the pool and encourage one at a time to stand in the middle of the hoop. Lift it up around them to create a bubble tube around them. They can also lift the hoop up themselves to create one giant bubble, but this might take some patience and a few tries to succeed. This activity may get a little sticky so having a couple of containers of baby wipes around will be a quick and easy clean up solution.
Feel ready to host the ultimate end-of-summer gathering for your kids? Pass on the knowledge to other parents by sharing this guide!