Sept 1 is Labor Day – For Kids Work Can Be Play

Labor Day is more than a long weekend; it’s a recognition of the contributions that workers make to our everyday well-being. For adults, we love the extra day to play, but kids do not make the distinction between play and work. To a child play is work, but more than that, kids enjoy being able to create and contribute too. To a child, these activities are important, and so they feel important when they participate.

pirate activities for kidsAs they play, children often imitate what they see adults doing. Vacuuming, for instance, looks and sounds pretty exciting. There’s lots of moving and noise, just what most kids like. It’s no wonder they like the idea of swooshing around a vacuum. Sweeping sort of looks like play with a sticky. Washing the dishes is a chance to play in warm water and soap, scooping up water and pouring it out with a variety of containers.

chores for young childrenSomehow, the work-play that adults do is more interesting than what kids have to do, like picking up toys and putting things away. Their work doesn’t seem as important as what adults are doing. But, preschool kids can be given some tasks and chores, appropriate to their development. For preschoolers, these could be helping to bring plastic dishes off the table after a meal, putting clean laundry in the right baskets, helping to wash fruit and vegetables, putting clothes in the laundry basket, and others.

Kids learn to be responsible, by being responsible. Like other skills, it takes practice. While we all enjoy a day that we don’t have to work, we recognize that having a job is valuable. Kids feel valuable when they are included. For a Labor Day play-of-the-day, is there some small task or chore that your child can do?


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