8 Ideas for Thanksgiving Planning: Thanksgiving Activities for Families

Each Thanksgiving, families have the opportunity to spend meaningful time together. From activities that get the blood pumping to gathering around a board game, the autumn holiday offers a variety of ways for immediate and extended family to bond. When planning activities for your family this Thanksgiving, check out these enjoyable ideas.

1. Be Active

There’s nothing like a little spirited competition to build family connections. This Thanksgiving, keep it casual and fun with a game of flag football, soccer, kickball, or softball. Purchase an inexpensive trophy as a fun prize or make one with the kids from cardboard, gold spray paint, and lots of embellishments. For more ways to get the family active over the holiday:

  • Plan a family bike ride
  • Take a nature hike
  • Play games like tag or hide-and-seek
  • Walk the dog around the neighborhood
  • Register everyone for a Turkey Trot fun run

2. Have a Family Scavenger Hunt

With plenty of opportunities for scheming and scrambling, scavenger hunts leave families with happy holiday memories. If you have small kids, keep the hunt limited to your home and neighborhood. Think items like a paper clip, a rubber band, an orange leaf, or a junk mail flyer. For families with teens or grown children, a city-wide scavenger hunt makes an exciting way to spend a few hours, and the sky’s the limit for possible collectibles. At the end, offer fun prizes like gift cards or holiday-themed treat bags to make the event even more enjoyable.

3. Get Crafty

While grandpa is busy whipping up his famous turkey stuffing, the rest of the family can gather round the dining table for a little creative fun. Handprint turkeys and printable coloring pages keep little ones happy and occupied until it’s time to eat. For older kids, think DIY activities such as door wreaths, painted pinecones, or pretty Thanksgiving napkin rings.

4. Play Board Games

When the weather doesn’t accommodate your Thanksgiving planning around outdoor activities, you can have just as much fun with board games. Classic choices like Monopoly, Life, Yahtzee, and Clue are a big hit, or for more active enjoyment, try Twister. For after-dinner fun, pull out a jigsaw puzzle that the whole family can work on together.

5. Give Back

Thanksgiving is the best time of year to be charitable. Families can lend a hand at a local soup kitchen by sorting donated items, participating in holiday food prep, or serving Thanksgiving dishes to less-fortunate members of the community. To help in your neighborhood, bake pies for elderly neighbors, or pack a holiday meal for a needy family. Your family can give back in even more ways by:

  • Donating toys and clothing to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill
  • Delivering a bag of groceries to your community food bank
  • Helping disabled or elderly neighbors with outdoor chores or dog walking

6. Dust Off Family Photo Albums and Scrapbooks

If you’re at grandma’s place for the holiday, she’s sure to have old photo albums or scrapbooks packed with surprising images, fun stories, and favorite family memories. Former fashions, hairstyles, and forgotten friends and relatives offer hours of enjoyment for all members of your family, young and old.

7. Take a New Family Photo

To make memories for future Thanksgiving holidays, assemble your brood for a new family photo. For a humorous Christmas card, don hideous holiday sweaters, or come up with another wacky theme. A framed snapshot featuring your whole family in all their holiday glory makes a great addition to a shelf or mantel.

8. Give Thanks

Art and parenting blogger Jean Van’t Hul believes the Thanksgiving holiday is a good time for parents and children to put gratitude into practice. She recommends creative activities like the “Thankful Table,” where with the help of craft paper and colored markers, the dining area becomes a large canvas for expressions of joy and gratitude. As a fun alternative, she suggests printable paper placemats that each member of the family can decorate with colored markers and notes of thanks.

Thanksgiving is an enjoyable time of year for families. Make your holiday gathering special with a few planned activities. If you’re hosting a large, extended family, turn to CORT Clearance Furniture for extra furniture you might need, from beds and tables to sideboards and buffets.

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