Fun and Free Thanksgiving Day Activities

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

The turkey is stuffed, the pies are baked, and the places are set. Now all that's left is filling the time between when the guests arrive and the bird is carved. Try some of these fun and free activities for the entire family to do before (or even after) the meal.


And the Judges' Scores Are...

Keep everyone out of the kitchen and entertained by turning on one of the many Thanksgiving Day parades televised throughout the day. Setup judging rules ahead of time, and distribute them amongst your guests. Then, have each guest score the floats, bands, or performers in the parade to see who wins the prize. If the parades air too early or dinner is in the middle of a performance, tape the parade and view it commercial-free after the meal. Categories for judging could include:


  • creativity and unique style
  • variety of color
  • attention to detail
  • variety and talent of performers on and alongside the float


  • best toe-tapping/hand-clapping tunes
  • overall style and appearance
  • creativity in their alignment (the shapes and lines they make while marching and performing)

  • performance of the majorettes, colorguard, and/or dancers

Set the Table

Have little ones help to decorate the table. (Not-so-little-ones may enjoy it, too.) Purchase a plain, light colored table cloth of the paper variety. Avoid the type which have the plastic coating on them'cheap paper works best. Then, set out markers and crayons (Be sure the markers won't run through the tablecloth.) for everyone to decorate the table before dinner. It'll make a pleasing sight while eating.

Try some order to the decoration. Have each person decorate his/her place setting. Draw placemats at the seats and have each person sign his/her name and decorate the "placemat." If you're brave, purchase a plain cloth tablecloth and Sharpie markers. Then, ask each guest to sign the tablecloth and write what he/she is thankful for or a message to the hostess. It'll make a nice keepsake for each year, and it can be washed without losing the signatures. (If only the same could be said about the gravy stain!)


Tried and True Turkeys

Hand print turkeys are as traditional as the gobbler himself. Don't overlook them. Put out construction paper, markers, glue, feathers, and anything else in the craft bin so guests can make their own handprint turkeys by tracing their hands and using the fingers as tail feathers. A fun spin is to have each guest label the fingers with things for which he/she is thankful. Then, after the meal everyone can share their "feathers."

Fun and Free Thanksgiving Day Activities

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By glinda (Guest Post)
November 21, 20060 found this helpful

As usual we have a big mix of ages. Our favorite thing to do is games. Even if it is box games. We get a small table in one room for younger, and the adults usually just sit and play.


We like to all talk, and fellowship. NO stress, just fun and fellowship, and having a mutal theme in mind, to thank God for HIS MANY BLESSINGS!!!!!

By Diana (Guest Post)
November 8, 20070 found this helpful

Have everyone anonymously write what they are thankful for and drop in a bowl. Read them after dinner when you are enjoying your desserts.


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