Gift Ideas

20 Fun Things to Do on Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving, what’s on the table tends to take center stage, but when your extended family or chosen family gathers for the holiday, it’s also important to focus on the faces around it. Thanksgiving Day can be a marathon, not a sprint, so you’ll need some fun things to distract yourself and the crew while waiting to carve the turkey and pass the pumpkin pie. Many of us do that by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade or tossing around the pigskin in a friendly game of touch football. But if you’re in need of a unique Thanksgiving tradition to spice up the festivities this year, we’ve got a list of fun, funny or quirky things to do on Turkey Day that everyone from grandma to the littlest cousins can get behind. These Thanksgiving activities and Thanksgiving games work well to fill the time before or after Thanksgiving dinner. And because some of us have a higher tolerance for elaborate activities than others, these ideas range widely in needed materials and preparation. Get ready to make some memories.


Thanksgiving Coloring Pages

Not only is coloring a zen activity for children and grown-ups alike, you also end up with a pretty decoration for the fridge. Everyone will love these gratitude-themed coloring pages, and they’ll help keep the focus on what’s important.

Download the printables at Thirty Handmade Days »


Thanksgiving Trivia



Ignite some friendly competition among family members by putting your group’s knowledge of Thanksgiving trivia to to the test. You’ll have fun seeing everyone get riled up over history and even learn something along the way. 


Thanksgiving Movie Marathon


Gratitude Game

Keep everyone’s minds on the reason for the season with this free printable. It makes asking everyone what they’re thankful for even sweeter, and encourages more creativity in people’s answers. Use game pieces instead of candy if you don’t want to spoil any appetites.

Get the tutorial at Happy Go Lucky


Harvest Bowling

Head to your local hardware or gardening store to pick up enough hay bales to create your own driveway or backyard bowling lane. It doubles as decor after you’re done making strikes and spares. Just don’t forget to grab some bowling pins, too!


Gratitude A to Z

To keep conversation rolling at the table, ask everyone what they’re grateful for – with a twist. The first answer has to start with A, then the next one starts with B, and so on throughout the alphabet. Start thinking of your answers now for the trickier letters now!


Who’s the Baby?

Pull out old family photo albums or tell guests to email you a photo of themselves as babies before they arrive. Then, attach them to a board and number each one. Ask everyone to write down their guesses, then announce the answers after dinner. It’s fun to see how much your loved ones have changed over the years.


Wear Ugly Thanksgiving Sweaters

HotW: Ugly Thanksgiving Apparel


Clothing that’s so ugly it’s cool is not just for Christmas anymore.  When you give everyone the invitation details, ask them to make or buy their own Turkey Day-themed top. Don’t forget to take pictures of everyone’s duds.



This exciting game of chance combines Bingo with Poker for a whole new challenge. If yours is a gambling family, you can raise the stakes by playing for change. 


Candy Corn Ring Toss

All you need is some spray paint and mini emergency cones for a festive fall version of horseshoes. Divide the whole group into teams or set them up in the driveway or backyard to keep the kids entertained while the grown-ups cook.

Get the tutorial at Kid Friendly Things to Do »


Craziest Thanksgiving Socks Contest

Get your toes tapping with socks that show off your love of the big bird. There are lots of options online, so put your best foot forward and challenge your family or friends to do the same. They’ll definitely spice up any outfit. 


Dirty Turkey

If the whole family won’t be gathering for Christmas, get a little gift-giving (and taking) in a month early. This version of the classic Dirty Santa or White Elephant game has the same basic rules: Everyone brings a wrapped $20 gift and places it into a pile. Draw numbers to determine the order in which everyone chooses a present. If anybody gets a gift that you want, steal it when your turn comes up.

Get the tutorial at How Do the Jones Do It »


Put Together a Jigsaw Puzzle

Buffalo Games


Unplug and pass the time together by putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Give it a little extra oomph by buying a few of the same relatively easy puzzle, separating people into teams and seeing who can finish first. The last puzzle-completing team has to do the dishes. 


Thanksgiving Corn Hole

Put on a jacket if you live in a cold climate and get your blood moving with a few rounds of cornhole. These adorable turkey-themed boards make the classic yard game even more festive and fun. 


Thanksgiving Taboo Cards


Update the charades-like game by adding these downloadable Thanksgiving-themed cards to your stack of subject cards. And if you have never played Taboo or don’t have your own set, you can buy the game here


Mini Pumpkin Hunt

Coming up with genius places to hide the eggs before the big Easter egg hunt is just as much fun for adults as finding the eggs is for kids. But don’t limit it to springtime. Instead of eggs, hide miniature pumpkins or gourds and let the kiddos loose in the yard to find them all. They can double as a centerpiece once they’re all unearthed.


Take a Walk or a Hike

Even the less athletically inclined can still get their blood moving after the big meal. Bundle up if you live in a cold climate and take a lap or two around the block to digest, get some exercise and continue chatting even after the dishes are cleared.

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