Fun Ways to Connect With Your Children This Labor Day Weekend

This homage to the end of summer offers the opportunity to spend quality time with your children. Here are some of our favorite family-friendly events and ideas for the first holiday of the school year. 

1. Work together in the kitchen

Barbecues, picnics, and other food-based get-togethers are a Labor Day tradition. This year, make it a point to get your kids involved in the kitchen when making potluck or side dish contributions. It’s never too early for children to observe, help, and learn to create delicious and nutritious food and snacks from scratch.


Yes, it takes more time and patience on your end. But you’re also modeling and teaching valuable skills that last a lifetime. First, head to a local farmer’s market for some fresh, seasonal produce or fruit. Then, visit kid-friendly recipe websites (like this one) and choose something you can make together.


2. Ankeny Alley Festival

Ankeny Alley is named for a friendly and well-respected 19th-century ship captain named Alexander P. Ankeny. The Alley is known for hosting fun festivals and activities year-round, including the Ankeny Alley Labor Day Weekend Festival, the final of a string of weekend festivals that start Memorial Day weekend and span the summer months.


It’s an opportunity to stroll the streets and alleys between SW and 3rd Avenues, celebrating local businesses and taking advantage of live free music, games, fun, art, street entertainers, and – of course – enjoying lots of good food from the area’s restaurants and treat shops.


3. Mid-Autumn Festival 2023 at Lan Su’s Moonlight Market

If the name of the event doesn’t grab you, we’re not sure what would. The Mid-Autumn Festival at Lan Su’s Moonlight Market is an annual tradition for many Portland-area families. The festival is a bustling marketplace of local Asian businesses, mouth-watering food, and fun cultural performances.


Traditionally Mid-Autumn takes place on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the time of the “Harvest Moon” when the moon appears at its fullest during the autumnal equinox. The image of a full moon symbolizes a happy family reunion. However, the festival comes a bit early in Portland to make it easier for all to attend.


As the moon glows and the lanterns are raised, stay for illuminated lion dances, rabbit meet & greet, story time, and the world debut of adorable rabbit lantern sculptures from China. Daily admittance charges depend on age (five and under are free). However, the opening ceremonies kick off for FREE on Friday, September 1 at 2:00, where attendees can watch the Lion Dance at Lan Su Entry Plaza.


4. Swift Watch at Chapman High School (Audobon Society)

We always recommend getting outside whenever possible, but we realize not everyone is an outdoor enthusiast. This is a great, city-centric way to enjoy the best of both worlds – a city-dwelling activity focused on Mother Nature.


The annual Swift Watch, hosted by the Audubon Society, takes place every month of September and kicks off this year on September 2 (Saturday). Head to Chapman Elementary School in Northwest Portland to see an incredible sight. One hour before sunset, thousands of Vaux’s Swifts gather overhead as they prepare to roost for the night.


One population has been returning to Chapman since the 1980s and is one of the largest known roosting sites of migrating Vaux’s Swifts. Swift watching has become a popular activity at Chapman, and on many evenings, more than 2,000 people gather to watch these aerial acrobats. During this laid-back time, communities of people may engage with nature in different ways, be it through cheers of excitement, gazing in wonder, and more. On most evenings, Portland Audubon volunteers will be on hand to share information about this remarkable species.


5. Take an Open-Air Train Ride 

The Oregon Train Heritage Center offers weekly open-air train rides. If you’ve never been on one before, this Labor Day Weekend might offer the perfect window. While there, the family can check out the Heritage Center, including a look at historic locomotives and the machine shop.


Take a ride through the Springwater Corridor on the east bank of the scenic Willamette River. Pulled by the historic UP96 diesel locomotive, our open-air passenger car offers comfortable seating and great views of the city, river, wildlife, and a glimpse of the rides at Oaks Park. We’ve never heard of a single patient or parent who didn’t enjoy their time there. Make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time, as Labor Day is bound to be busy.


6. Consider Taking a Family Stay-Cation

Has your family calendar felt overabundant since school started? Is there a never-ending list of things to do? This is a recipe for burnout. Maybe you should leverage the spaciousness of a three-day holiday weekend by dedicating this Labor Day to doing Nothing – making it a Staycation. Ideas for a restful Staycation include:

● Keeping phone use to a minimum (or giving them up completely).
● Not scheduling anything at all.
● Having a family movie marathon.
● Letting everyone choose one fun thing to do.
● Playing board games, card games, outdoor games, or all of the above.
● Take turns cooking meals together (or cleaning up) so everyone gets a break.
● Reading out loud to one another.
Prioritizing a good night’s sleep for all four nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).


You may find that your Staycation is so fulfilling and relaxing that it becomes a Labor Day Family Tradition.

PANW Wishes You a Fun & Connected Labor Day Weekend

The Pediatric Associates of the Northwest family wishes you a fun and connected Labor Day weekend. Don’t forget to tell us what you did on your next visit to our office – whether it’s for a sports physical or an annual checkup. We can’t wait to hear all about it.

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