Thanksgiving is all about family time. Given all the different generations of people, it may seem impossible to try to entertain or ensure that everyone has a good time. Well, it's time to dismiss these thoughts, and prepare for a great get together-- one that will be talked about year after year! Below are some game and activity ideas for all generations. These games may be such a hit, you may want to them to become a Thanksgiving tradition with your family!
This timeless game is easy to add a Thanksgiving spin, and is fun for all ages! We even did it at our families Thanksgiving last year. Each person got to draw a slip of paper and act it out. For little ones, you can reserve a simpler list for them to act out! Here are a list of ideas for the slips of paper:
Put on a First Thanksgiving Play or Skit
This could be a serious play or a funny skit-- whatever suits your family spirit better! Depending on the kids and participants ages,you could preassign roles, and give a "script" or story... or you could have this be part of the fun for to come up with a skit to entertain everyone! If you make it humorous, perhaps those teens will want to participate! Here are some suggested titles or themes to a possible skit:
- "What Happened the Day After the First Thanksgiving"
- "Discovering Plymouth - Where on Earth Are We?"
- "The First Thanksgiving - The Story of Who Ate Too Much"
- "The First Thanksgiving- Who Actually Cooked the Whole Meal"
Trading Post - A Thanksgiving Gift Exchange
Before your gathering, tell everyone they need to pick out some type of gift to give someone at Thanksgiving. Preferably, this gift should be something either that they own, and are ready to part with, or is handmade. Make sure to limit the cost if it is store bought, so gifts stay in the same price range. Also, be sure to have everyone wrap the gift before they arrive. Have a little extra wrapping paper on hand in case someone forgets.
Now, once the family has gathered, conduct a good old fashioned White Elephant exchange, or in this case, call it a Pilgrim/Native American Trading Post. Start in a circle and have the first person (could be youngest or oldest or whomever you choose) to select someone's gift, and open it. Now continue with each person selecting someone's gift to open. Instead of selecting a new gift to open, someone can take a already opened gift from someone else, and they choose another gift. At the end, make sure to allow for trading as desired!
Make a Thanksgiving Playlist
A perfect activity for the tween and teen set. Kids (and adults) can work as a team or individually to come up with the perfect Thanksgiving playlist. For instance, the song lyrics may talk about being thankful (something from Kelly Clarkson's Thankful album perhaps), or being American (Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American", or perhaps Native American culture (Indigo Girls song "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"). Winner of the best playlist can receive an iTunes gift card!
If I Was President - Thanksgiving Speech
How about charge the group with coming up with a speech... Pretend you are president for the day, and you need to address the nation with a Thanksgiving blessing. What would you say? What would be your message?
Prior to Thanksgiving, have everyone send you one fact about themselves. For little ones, have the mom or dad send the fact. At Thanksgiving, hand out a slip of paper, and gather everyone together. Read each fact (in jumbled order) out loud, and have everyone write down who they think the fact belongs to. This is a great way to share some family stories and get to know one another better!
Think of Easter time, and an Easter egg hunt... now just swap the eggs for mini-pumpkins and you have a great game for all ages (especially little ones.) This can be done indoors as well as outdoors depending on the weather. Mini-pumpkins can be found at most grocery stores as this time of year.
Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt
A little more complicated than the pumpkin hunt above, so it is perfect for grade school kids and above... preschoolers, though, will love to follow along with the excitement and the older kids! Gather a bunch of Thanksgiving themed items-- for instance: acorn, Indian corn, gourd, pumpkin, feather (i.e., from a Native American headress), a small toy ship, a rock (i.e., Plymouth rock), etc. Create clues for each of these items and where they can be found around your house, yard, and/or neighborhood. Hide the items before the party.
Once the crowd has gathered, you can have everyone work in a team or separate into groups, and have them head off on their Thanksgiving hunt!
Who Am I? Guess the Famous Thanksgiving Person or Thanksgiving Item
A fun game for all ages-- write on a small piece of paper names of famous people surrounding the first Thanksgiving and/or the Thanksgiving holiday. Tape one name to each person's back. Now everyone needs to ask yes or no questions to find out who or what is taped to their back! Here's a list of possible people/or Thanksgiving related items: Squanto, Pocahontas, Pilgrim, Native American, Mayflower ship, turkey, corn, pumpkin, pumpkin pie, Pilgrim clergy man, Christopher Columbus, President of the United States, etc.