Whether you are looking for pre-meal activities to keep the kids busy while you cook or you want to gather the family for a wholesome group bonding activity just post-Thanksgiving feast, having this list of family games on the ready will certainly come in handy this holiday season. Throw on your matching family pajamas and, instead of a post-meal tryptophan nap, keep the festive vibe alive with these great family games for Thanksgiving.
Are you a pop culture pundit, or are you more of a history hotshot? Trivia games are a great way to engage family members of all ages. Break your Thanksgiving group up into teams or go head to head. Trivia is also a great choice for those who want to engage with the family but also want to stay curled up on the couch with a cozy throw blanket.
If you want to try a family trivia game out without any commitment and don’t know where to start, there are plenty of free resources online to help you out and get you started.
Engage your creative core and get some arts and crafts going this Thanksgiving. Arts and crafts aren’t just for the kiddos either. Get the whole family involved and tie-dye matching shirts together or paint a mural in the backyard.
One way to keep the kids busy before mealtime is with a paper tablecloth. Let the little ones (and grown-ups too!) go crazy with crayons and markers and decorate the Thanksgiving “tablecloth” for you. This activity also makes for a super easy post-dinner clean-up.
Christmas is right around the corner and we know you’re breaking out those Christmas decorations as soon as the turkey is gone. Why not get in the spirit early? After all, nothing keeps kids occupied and fully engrossed in an activity like anything Santa Claus-themed. Have the kids make cute and festive decorations for the Christmas tree, like popcorn garlands or clay gingerbread men. You could also encourage them to write Christmas cards to their friends, family, classmates, or even Santa.
Of course, the most engaging activities are those that use your whole body. Before getting dressed up for dinner, throw on your activewear and work up an appetite before dinner or burn off that turkey afterward with a fun physical game. Play flag football in the yard or head to the park in the morning before your food-prep time.
Scavenger hunts are a great way to use your muscles and engage your brain. A backyard scavenger hunt is a great way to keep the kids busy and having fun, but a neighborhood-wide scavenger hunt can be a great way to get everyone on a walk together.
Another classic group family game that engages everyone and gets you off the couch is charades. Choose a category, split into teams, and let the fun and silly times begin.
A backyard party is a great way to spend Thanksgiving and creates the ideal atmosphere for games and family fun. Set up cornhole and horseshoes for the adults and have sidewalk chalk, a beanbag toss, and pin-the-tail-on-the-turkey for the kids. Weather permitting, you can even have your whole Thanksgiving feast set up outside on your outdoor patio furniture.
These types of activities are less in the “game” category and more in the ice-breaker or conversation-starter category. A gratitude tree or a gratitude basket is a great way to get into the spirit of the holiday and spur thoughtful conversation. You can start this activity as far in advance as you like- the day, the week, the month before, etc.- and involve friends as well as family.
Start by leaving a basket or jar in a common area, near small pieces of paper and pens. Tell your friends, family, and guests to write down what they are thankful for and drop it in. This also can be done with a tree display, on which you can clip the “leaves” of gratitude paper. After everyone has had a chance to fill one out, perhaps after dinner, read them aloud to each other and reflect on each person’s gratitude. Make a game out of this activity by guessing who wrote which one!
You can even start a new tradition by setting up a gratitude jar for next year and collecting memories and thoughts all year. Collect them all year and then gather around and read them aloud every Thanksgiving. You may need to invest in a whole storage bin for this one!
No matter what your plans are or who is coming to dinner, you are sure to have a good time with a few of these fun, family Thanksgiving game ideas.