20 Fun Things You Can Do with Family on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

We all know some of the favorite things people like to do on Thanksgiving: watch football, watch The Macy’s Day Parade, and of course taking a nap after gorging on Turkey.

Well the purpose of this article is to inspire everyone who reads it to turn off the TV (web, video games) for part of the day and really spend some quality time with your friends and family. You’ll have have fun doing it and you’ll create fun, fond memories.

1. Take a Walk.

Pick an enjoyable destination. All you need to bring are your sneakers and conversation! Or you could join a Thanksgiving road race or road walk.

2. Play Touch Football. Or soccer, tag, hide-n-seek, etc. Just get outside with the gang and do something that involves running around and taking in some nice fresh air.

3. Boardgames! Get out those games you have in the closet since last Christmas and haven’t played yet. Scrabble, Life, Yahtzee, Cranium, Trivial Pursuit, Trouble, Chutes & Ladders, whatever! Have some silly fun!

4. Play Charades. This doesn’t take much. Make your own rules as you go. Have fun!

5. Sing-a-Long. Karaoke. Get out the instruments, guitars, piano. Dust off that accordion. Bring out the tambourines, spoons, etc. Put on a holiday radio station and sing along. Make up a contest. You can really have fun with this.

6. Memory Sharing. Share stories. You can pick a theme such as:

    • The greatest day of my life. 
  • The best thing that happened in my life this year. 
  • My favorite memory from childhood. 
  • The funniest thing that ever happened to me.

Have someone scribe the stories or videotape the event.

7. Share Thanks. At dinner have everyone share what they are thankful for before eating dinner.

8. Silly Dance Contest. Just like it says. Be silly. Dance. Make up your own rules.

9. Kids Talent Show. There’s usually one grownup at family gatherings who likes to get the kids doing activities. If you’re that person maybe you want to have the kids perform for the whole family after dinner. While everyone is watching football you could throw it together. (Of course adults can join the show too!)

10. I Love My Family because…. Gather round as a family and have each person share what they love about the family.

11. Share the Love. Have the family all in one room and have each person tell why they admire the person next to him/her. And then that person says why they admire the person next to him/her, and so on. “I Admire ___________ because…”

12. Treasure Hunt. Create a simple treasure map and “prizes.” There can be one prize or multiple prizes, like an egg-hunt. Ideas for prizes: chocolate turkeys (is there such a thing?) or a packet of coins or a gift certificate wrapped up in a box. Share your ideas in the comments please!

13. Name That Tune. Play the humming game where each teams or individuals have to name the tune.

14. The Questions Game. Here is a link to a family game with very few rules. You get to make up the rules. The idea is to spark conversations, have fun, and get to know each other better.

15. The Craziest Thing …. (that I saw or experienced this year). As a family tell stories that can be true or made up. It can be a little bit like “To Tell the Truth.” Everyone tells a crazy story that is either true or made up and everyone has to guess if it is true or not. And the story doesn’t have to be something that they actually experienced.

16. Our Family Tree. Have everyone imprint a fingerpaint handprint on a big sheet of paper with their name underneath. You can have it framed or take a picture of it to share with everyone.

17. Start a Thanksgiving Day Banner. Starting this year create a banner that can hang in your living room that will have a picture of the whole family from each year. It can become an heirloom for future generations. You could also create a similar item electronically say with a website.

18. Three Legged Races. Link up kids/grownups. You could also try a sack race or create an obstacle course race too. Have some fun silly prizes or simple privilege prizes like the first place team doesn’t have to help with clean up or they get first dibs on the turkey.

19. Family Thanksgiving Journal. Grab a blank notebook. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Write down everyone’s thanks for this year. And then next year do the same so that over time you build a treasured family book of thanks as well as a sort of family history.

20. Make Me Laugh. Tell jokes. You can make it into a game to see if you can get someone to laugh. Can be done as individuals, round-robin, or as teams.

Happy Thanksgiving all! Enjoy!

Please share your favorite Thanksgiving traditions and family fun activities in the comments! We’d love to hear your ideas!

Originally written for Dumb Little Man by K. Stone in 2007. She is the author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. Photo by Cameron Nordholm

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