6 Thanksgiving Activities for Families

Featured image of smiling girl in red throwing leaves on thanksgiving

Once you’re done picking out Thanksgiving gifts for your kids, you can start to think about some activities you and the family could do during the holiday. Whether you’re looking for an activity, all of you can use to spend some quality time together, or something to keep the kids distracted while you prepare the holiday meal, this article should help you out. Depending on your children’s age, they will be able to do most of these activities themselves, but don’t forget that any holiday is an opportunity for the family to connect, so try to interact with your kids as much as you can. You will not need any special items or toys for these, as they will mostly be using Thanksgiving-related items you should have around the house, meaning you won’t need to spend any extra money.

The activities listed below should be fun for everyone, whether you have just one child or a group of little ones running around. There are recipes, coloring pages, printable cards, and educational worksheets kids can make, as well as games they can play to make Thanksgiving more fun for the whole family.

Making Gratitude Cards

Expressing gratitude for the best things in your life is what Thanksgiving is all about, and there’s no better way for your kids to learn that than creating their own gratitude cards. All you need is some paper and crayons, and you can tell your kids to be creative. 

They can design the cards in whatever way they like, but they should follow a format of saying what they are grateful for, who they are thankful for and why they are thankful. The cards can have the date and their names on it so that you can save the cards as a Thanksgiving memory.

Turkey Trot

If your area is like most in the US, there’s a turkey trot somewhere nearby on Thanksgiving morning. These races are perfect for the family to enjoy since they are short and not particularly physically demanding. Be that as it may, they are still races, meaning that if you want to win, you’re going to have to give it your best shot, which is going to work wonders in burning up some calories and working up an appetite before the big dinner. 

If you have a large family or many relatives visiting, you might feel that taking that whole show on the road is a bit overwhelming. No bother, just organize the race in your backyard or around the neighborhood.

Let Your Kids Set the Table and Decorate the House

This is a smart way to keep your kids occupied and entertained while giving you more time to focus on other things like dinner or other, more demanding tasks that your kids couldn’t handle. Your kids will most likely have a blast decorating, and it’s an excellent way for them to express their creativity, as long as you don’t mind a bit of a unique look. And an amazing opportunity to put to use their craft sets and kits.

Setting the table with make your kids proud of themselves for a job well done, just make sure they are safe and don’t give them a task they would have too much trouble with. You can prepare the decorations for them and let them loose, or you can take the opportunity to bond with them over this activity; it all depends on how much time you have, and how busy you are with other preparations.

Homemade Butter and Other Simple Recipes Kids Can Make

Another activity that works in a similar vein as the previous one is letting your kids make some food. It’s a fun time for them to make some Thanksgiving-themed food, and it’s going to be helpful to you as well. Also, it teaches them that food doesn’t just appear on the table and that there’s a lot of work involved in making it. 

There’s a bunch of Thanksgiving recipes that are easy enough for children to make, depending on their age of course, but one of our favorites is homemade butter. If your kids are a bit older and have a minimum of experience in the kitchen, this can be practically an independent activity, plus you can take the time to teach them a thing or two about the science of making butter along the way. If you don’t want them to be making a mess in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, you can have them make the butter in the days leading up to the holiday as well.

Other Thanksgiving snacks that your kids can make include candy, biscuits, bread, appetizers, pie, and more. This is another way to build their self-esteem and make them proud of their work.

Coloring and Decorating Thanksgiving Cards for the Family

You can find some printable outlines for Thanksgiving cards online, or find some Autumn-themed coloring pages and have your kids spend their afternoon decorating and coloring these images. These can be used as Thanksgiving cards to be given out to the rest of the family when they come to dinner later, or they can be used as decoration around the house.

Coloring and creating art is fun for children of all ages, and it gives you some instant decorations or cards while keeping the kids out of your hair while adding the finishing touches to Thanksgiving dinner. Before the guests arrive, you can go around the block with the kids and put these homemade cards, the neighbors’ mailboxes and wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving with a personalized card and note.

Family Reunion Game

Finally, when everything is prepared, the house decorated, the turkey cooked, and the table set, you can use the opportunity to play a little game with your family. Have everyone at the table write a few sentences about themselves on a piece of paper and put them in a bowl. You can then pick the notes out of the bowl randomly and read the short descriptions while the kids try to guess who it belongs to.

It’s a great way for everybody to connect and have some fun, while your kids can learn a bit more about the rest of your family.

Author: Jonathan M. Ward
Author: Jonathan M. Ward

Himself a father of two, John is obsessed with getting the most out of every children’s product on the market, finding value wherever it can be found. His years of study in developmental psychology coupled with his passion for parenting make him an invaluable asset to our team.

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