Labor Day bash for kids

Aug 26, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Labor Day is often a poignant farewell to the long days and slow pace of summer, but it's also a day of excitement about the coming cool of fall, festivals and football. Enjoy one last summertime hurrah with our ideas for a kids' Labor Day bash.

Labor Day rests at the intersection of summer and fall, so it's a perfect opportunity to enjoy the best of two worlds. Round up your kids for summer-inspired snacking and games, and then round out your bash with an outdoor movie night that makes the most of cooler fall air.

Set the scene

Popcorn bar

Plan your bash for the warmest part of the day, so the kids can enjoy one last splash of summer without the risk of feeling too cold if they get wet. You'll want to prepare the games and food in advance, and set up your outdoor movie theater before the sun sets. Before your guests arrive, make sure you:

  • Provide a smorgasbord: One of the hallmarks of summer entertaining is the casual nature of get-togethers and buffet-style eating. Set out a variety of fresh fruits, veggies, cold cuts and dips for the kids to grab and go so they don't miss out on a second of playtime. Also, provide one or two kinds of lemonade so they stay hydrated.
  • Set up the movie screen: This part can prove a little tricky. You can either purchase or rent an outdoor screen, or make your own from PVC pipe and a king-sized white sheet. You'll also need access to a projection screen and speakers. Make sure everything is set up and working before the kids start their games.
  • Create your popcorn bar: The popcorn bar suggested by Jessica Kirkland on her blog, Pen N' Paperflowers, will make a wonderful addition to movie night. You'll want to set it up before the movie night begins.

Start the games

Water balloon pinatas

Kids are happy with pretty much any game, but since it's still technically summer, make the most of the heat by offering a variety of water games:

  • Water balloon piñatas: Over at her blog, It Will Change Your Life, Mandy Douglass had the idea of hanging filled water balloons from a tree for the kids to burst with a stick. The first one to pop their balloon wins the prize.
  • Drip Drip Splash: This is played the same as Duck Duck Goose, except that the person who is "it" is either dripping or splashing the players in the circle with a cup of water.
  • Water balloon fight: Nothing beats a good old-fashioned water balloon fight. You'll want to make sure that the fight happens far away from the movie screen.

Relax into movie night

Movie night

Once the kids have filled their bellies and dried off or changed clothes, it's time to relax into a movie night with a classic summer film. We like the movie Sandlot because it's a hit with kids and parents alike.

Lisa over at Prairie Hive executed her movie screen beautifully, and you can copy her by hanging a white sheet and covering the ground with blankets and pillows to make a cozy atmosphere.

Reveal the popcorn bar with all kinds of sweet and savory toppings, and you can even provide sodas and movie-theater candy for a perfectly inspired evening.

Read about hosting a backyard movie premiere party! >>

Image credits: Pen N' Paperflowers; It Will Change Your Life; Prairie Hive

More about Labor Day

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Teaching your kids about the meaning of Labor Day
Labor Day weekend activities