Engage your family in fun activities that will keep them entertained and out of your hair while you're busy in the kitchen. —Caitlin K
Join us (Caitlin Kindred and Jenny GK) as we explore fun and engaging Thanksgiving activities for families. Create happy memories together using the power of gratitude and inclusivity—while creating a space for you to get things done—and add a few new holiday traditions!
Whether it's playing the M&M Gratitude Game or making a DIY family gratitude tree, our creativity and enthusiasm will inspire families to create a Thanksgiving experience that is both enjoyable and meaningful. Get ready to be inspired and entertained as we share our expertise on Thanksgiving activities for families on this episode of the CK & GK Podcast.
In this episode
Listen for fun Thanksgiving activities that the whole family can enjoy together, like
the M&M Gratitude Game
a DIY family gratitude tree
more Thanksgiving games and traditions to bring joy and laughter to your celebration
Check out the PureWow article on Thanksgiving activities by Emma Singer and Stephanie Sengwe
The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic by Breanne Randall
Make Thanksgiving Memorable For All The Right Reasons With These 7 Activities -- And 1 Bonus!
Activities for Family Bonding
Thanksgiving is more than merely a festive gathering; it’s a time for family bonding and expressing gratitude! Activities like playing games together deepen family bonds and make space for family members to learn more about each other. And, by including everyone—children and adults—in conversations, games, or the family flag football tradition, the kitchen is open for the cook(s) and the awkward moments are kept at bay.
The Name Game
This party favorite couldn’t be easier to play and is a great way icebreaker to add to your rotation. You only need a couple of sticky notes and a pen.
Here’s how to play:
Write the name of a famous person or character on a sticky note and give one to each player. Characters can be dead or alive, fictional or non-fictional.
Make sure the player can’t see their note by asking them to stick it to their forehead.
Now the players have to walk around the room and ask “yes” or “no” questions to work out who they are.
Do You Really Know Your Family?
The ‘Do You Really Know Your Family?’ card game for ages 8 and up includes silly challenges and trivia-style questions that will get everyone laughing and teach you a few things you didn’t know about your family.
Grab a puzzle!
If you’re looking for a low-key Thanksgiving activity, a jigsaw puzzle will be right up your alley.
Wrap up the holiday gathering with this Thanksgiving jigsaw by putting it on the coffee table in front of the TV—or if you’re me, you set it out from the start from the beginning and let people (me) work on it (hyperfixate on it) throughout the day.
Family friendly, low prep, and keeps people out of your hair.
Channel your Season 3 Friends vibes and work up an appetite with a family-friendly game of flag football.
This tackle-free outdoor sport is reliably fun and great for groups! Bonus: a calorie burn and fresh air!
Activities for Expressing Gratitude
Thanksgiving is the season to express gratitude, but the usual “What are you thankful for?” questions are dull and usually met with grumbles. Change up your gratitude activities by turning them into something creative! A simple tree assembled with leaves written with things one is thankful for can be a powerful visual representation of gratitude. Another inventive technique? Use a tablecloth for guests to sign each year, serving as an emblematic keepsake of collective gratitude over the years. Creative expressions of gratefulness lead to deeper emotional connections and foster a sense of shared community.
Get the printable M&M Gratitude Game from Happy Go Lucky Blog! Use the conversation starters to spark meaningful conversations about gratitude during Thanksgiving.
Play a gratitude scavenger hunt: Create a list of gratitude-themed items or activities for players to find or complete. Hide them around the house or yard and give each player a bag to collect them. (Bonus activity: decorate the bags!)
Create a DIY family gratitude tree like this one from Mom Endeavors: Gather brown craft paper or a cardboard box to make the tree trunk. Find a template online or trace a tree shape. Cut out leaf shapes and print them or make them yourself. Write down something you're thankful for on each leaf and tape them to the tree trunk.
Make gratitude jars: Gather small jars or containers and decorate them with paint, stickers, or other craft supplies. Place them on the Thanksgiving table and encourage family members to write down things they're grateful for on small slips of paper. Collect the slips of paper and read them aloud during the meal.
Have everyone sign the tablecloth at their seat during the meal! Then, either (a) cover up the cloth with a clear plastic cover OR (b) get the names embroidered onto the cloth to keep it clean.
Adopt a new tradition
Here are a few more Thanksgiving traditions from Jenny:
Everyone shares what they're thankful for at the table, but assume that we're all grateful for our health, home, family, friends, etc.
Consider taking a family walk between dinner and dessert
When it's time for dessert, ask for “The Sampler” and get thyself all of the desserts
Opt to go without a kids' table - instead think about who bonds best and let them be together! Maybe that means putting all kids together, but maybe not!
Memorable Thanksgiving Gathering
Creating a memorable Thanksgiving gathering involves a mix of entertaining activities that can offset the usual turkey feast. Activities like engaging games where participants take on the identities of different characters or trivia questions that dive into the depths of family ties become lively attractions for the holiday table. Take a risk with non-traditional activities like puzzles or even instituting a spirited game of flag football. Break the mold of typical Thanksgiving behavior and making the gathering a standout one.
Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!