Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to spend quality time with family. You have the chance to speak with your children about the real history of the holiday (check out our list of resources written by indigenous people to get the conversation started). Then, you can gather as a family for food and fun. To help you keep busy and your children entertained during the holiday, we’ve created a list of Thanksgiving activities for kids of all ages.
Thanksgiving activities for kids
- Thanksgiving activities for families
- ~Thanksgiving family games
- ~Thanksgiving activities for toddlers
- Thanksgiving art projects
- ~Easy Thanksgiving crafts
- ~Thanksgiving crafts for toddlers
- ~Printable Thanksgiving crafts
Thanksgiving activities for families
The best part about Thanksgiving is that it is centered around family. Once you have all gathered together, eaten a delicious meal, and helped clean up, it is time to enjoy the company of each other. Depending on the age of your children, though, just sitting together and chatting is not always an option. That’s why we’ve outlined some of our favorite Thanksgiving activities for families to get you started.
Thanksgiving family games
Competition is natural when families get together as sibling rivalries and (friendly) cousinly quarrels rise to the surface. Channel these natural instincts into fun Thanksgiving family games that everyone can enjoy. Here are some of our favorites:
- Football. A classic for Thanksgiving: football is a fun way to get outside, practice teamwork, and discover some new skills. If you have younger children in the family, have them work on throwing and catching the ball first, then try out some easy plays like a post or a screen. They’ll be MVPs in no time.
- Themed charades. This is a great way to get the whole family involved, even a potentially sulky teenager. Have everyone write down ideas for charades that are based around your family. Then, act them out! We promise: it is so much more fun when it’s personalized.
- Scavenger hunt. This requires a little bit of planning beforehand, but it’s definitely worth it. Write down a fun scavenger hunt that your family can do as a group. If you have your extended family over as well, let them form their own groups, too. Go around the house and neighborhood checking everything off and making memories. Some examples of items to include: find a perfect pine cone, write a short song for Grandma, tell your sibling why you love them. The list goes on and on!
Check out our guide with even more fun Thanksgiving games to try.
Thanksgiving activities for toddlers
While playing football with your toddler might sound like a fun idea in your head, in reality it is next to impossible. Toddlers require special attention and activities that are more suited to their motor skill levels, attention span, and interests. Between many snacks and naps, we wanted to put together some of the best Thanksgiving activities for toddlers so that you and your little ones can have the best time together.
- Make gratitude turkeys. Just plain hand turkeys are so last season. This year, work with your toddler to make a hand turkey and then talk about gratitude with them. Come up with a list of things they are grateful for and help them decorate the turkey with those words or drawings.
- Create table cards. Have your toddler practice their handwriting by creating name cards for each person to know where their seat is at the Thanksgiving table. First, you write the family member’s name and have them try to trace it out or write it alongside yours. Then, they can decorate however they’d like. Not the type of family to do seating arrangements? Your toddler can create other decorations for the table or little menu cards instead!
- Read a Thanksgiving story. Help your toddler learn the real history behind Thanksgiving by reading a book by and about indigenous people. Some good ones for young children are A Coyote Columbus Story and Fry Bread. Once you have read, discuss how the story made your child feel and how you can celebrate indigenous people together.
Thanksgiving art projects
Since the weather is getting cooler, staying indoors and working on arts & crafts is a great way to keep the little ones busy and fun while you cook, clean, and entertain. Planning art activities might feel like a headache, so we’ve put together a list of Thanksgiving art projects to give you a head start.
Easy Thanksgiving crafts
- Make-your-own turkeys in many ways. Whether you go with the classic hand turkey or try something different with toilet paper roll and scrapbook paper, there is no wrong way to craft a turkey. The best part of this activity is the ease. All you really need is some paper, markers, and a hand! Or, you can go all out and include pom poms, paper bags, coffee filters, real feathers, and more.
- Decorate leaves. Before your guests come over, go outside with your children to find some beautiful fall leaves. Then, break out the googly eyes, pop up paint, and pipe cleaners so they can decorate their foliage.
- Festive placemats. Let your children take the reins on the table decorations. Give them paper to decorate for placements with the goal of making homemade, festive table settings. Bonus points if you have a kids table where these placements would feel right at home.
Learn more about the benefits of art classes in our article.
Thanksgiving crafts for toddlers (that aren’t hand turkeys)
What else can you create with your toddler that isn’t a hand turkey? A foot turkey! Just kidding, though that is an option, too. If you and your child are bored of the usual, here are some extra fun Thanksgiving crafts for toddlers to try out.
- Paper plate pumpkin pie. For this craft, you and your toddler are going to make and decorate your dream piece of pumpkin pie out of a paper plate, felt or tissue paper, and cotton balls. Cut the paper plate into a triangle and then cover it with pieces of orange felt or tissue paper to make the pie. Use brown felt or tissue paper around the top of the outside to make the “crust.” Then decorate with cotton ball whipped cream or anything else your toddler wants on their pie. Warning: do not eat!
- Thanksgiving table centerpiece. Together with your toddler, create a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. You can use pumpkins, gourds, and corn that you’ve picked at the patch and then find pinecones and beautiful, colored leaves outside to add to the design. You can also work with your child to draw and decorate leaves using tissue paper and other colored paper.
- Frosted brownies. Bake and cut brownies, then let your toddler (with your supervision) decorate them as turkeys, leaves, footballs, and other festive, Thanksgiving themes. The natural brown backdrop of the brownie means it is easy for bright fall colors like reds and yellows to pop. Or you can start by frosting them white or green and then using that as the canvas. Cooking with kids is a great way to bond as a family and celebrate the holiday!
For even more edible Thanksgiving crafts for kids, check out our guide!
Printable Thanksgiving crafts
Make it even easier for yourself with printable Thanksgiving crafts. This will get you started on the right foot for the holiday. Here are a few that we love:
- Thanksgiving bookmarks that children can color and then give out to family members to commemorate the holiday.
- Thanksgiving activities printables like placemats, word searches, crowns, and more.
- 3D turkey centerpieces that children can create on their own.
You can also check out some of the exciting Thanksgiving activities that are being offered on Sawyer during the holidays. If your child is interested in computers, they can learn how to design their own turkey using graphic design in a class with Sawyer provider Computer Kids Club. Likewise, From Scratch Bakers is doing a 3-day festive baking camp for children during their time off from school.
If you are looking for more fun Thanksgiving activities for kids, the Sawyer marketplace and our blog has everything you need. Have a happy and healthy holiday!