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Thanksgiving Games for Kids

Every November, families travel across the United States to celebrate Thanksgiving. Usually, this consists of an evening of socialization, relaxation and — of course — delicious food. After loading up on turkey, stuffing and other holiday delicacies, we go back home with full bellies and new, happy memories to cherish for years to come.

However, if you have children, there's no guarantee the evening will go quite this smoothly. As the adults chat, watch the football game and work on the evening meal, the kids are often left to fend for themselves. And, if they don't have anything to entertain themselves with, it's not long before they become frustrated.

Fortunately, you can keep your children busy with some fun Thanksgiving games. In addition to providing a source of entertainment, games offer great bonding opportunities. Plus, they're not just for children — adults can also get in on the fun. Here are 15 games to try out at your next Thanksgiving dinner.

1) Hand Turkey Guessing Game

At some point during your childhood, you've probably drawn a hand turkey. You know how it goes — you place one hand on a colored piece of paper, then trace it using your other hand. Then, you add legs, a beak and fun colors to make the hand imprint resemble a turkey.

If you have art supplies on-hand, you can gather all the kids and encourage them to make their own hand turkeys. When everyone's done, hang the artwork up on the wall and ask parents to guess who drew which picture. As an added perk, the pictures serve as festive decorations!

2) Thanksgiving Bingo

Who doesn't love Bingo night? Introduce a Thanksgiving twist to your traditional Bingo game by using Bingo cards filled with symbols related to the holiday (such as turkeys, pie slices and pilgrims). You can make your own set by printing out Bingo cards online, or buy a Thanksgiving themed Bingo game from an online retailer.

3) Candy Gratitude Game

Thanksgiving is all about expressing gratitude. Why not make this fun by turning it into a game? First, you'll need a colorful candy (such as M&Ms or Skittles). Then, make cards that link each colored candy to a specific task. For example, you could do the following:

  • Green candy: Share a person you're grateful for
  • Purple candy: Share a memory that makes you happy
  • Yellow candy: Share a place that's special to you

When you're done, put the candy in a bag and have everyone pick one. Whichever color they get dictates the thing they have to share. Not only does this game encourage kids (and adults) to open up, but it also allows family members to get to know one another better.

4) Turkey Hunt

If your kids like Easter egg hunts, you might want to try a Turkey Hunt. It's essentially the same game, except instead of looking for Easter eggs, they're searching for turkeys. Simply print some cartoon turkey pictures online, cut them out, and hide them throughout the home!

5) Thanksgiving Would You Rather

Let's be honest — we've all gotten into a heated debate over a game of "Would You Rather" at some point. Make this classic game fit the holiday season by adding a Thanksgiving twist to it. Examples of "Would You Rather" questions you can ask include:

  • Would you rather eat five pumpkin pies or a full turkey?
  • Would you rather have to cook an entire Thanksgiving meal or clean up after everyone?
  • Would you rather dress up as a turkey or dress up as a pilgrim?

You can write questions down ahead of time, or come up with them as you play. This game is a great way to keep both kids and adults busy before dinner is served.

thanksgiving charades

6) Thanksgiving Charades

Charades is a great way to get people up and moving. Just write some Thanksgiving topics on slips of paper, drop them into a hat and you're good to go! You can include anything related to the season, from "turkey" and "pilgrim" to "football player" and "chef." Just make sure it's something people can act out!

If you're having trouble thinking of charades topics, or if nobody seems interested in acting, turn this into a game of Pictionary instead. Not only is Pictionary tons of fun, but it also gives you a chance to see everyone's art skills!

7) Don't Drop the Candy Corn

This game offers a more festive (and less messy) twist on the classic "egg-and-spoon race". Instead of having kids run through the yard while balancing an egg on a spoon, it has them hold a spoonful of candy corn. Whoever makes it to the end without dropping the candy wins!

8) Pin the Tail on the Turkey

We've all played "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," but have you tried the Thanksgiving version? Start by placing a poster of a turkey on the wall — you can either get one printed or simply purchase one. Then, blindfold kids and have them attempt to pin feathers on the turkey. Even adults can get in on the action!

9) The Memory Game

Is the dinner conversation getting a bit dry? This game is perfect to whip out when you're running out of things to discuss. The premise is simple — you come up with a category, then everybody goes around the table and says a word that first the category. The first person to repeat a word loses! Category ideas include:

  • Thanksgiving foods
  • Types of pies
  • Holidays

You can make things extra competitive by adding some stakes. For example, the first person who loses has to clear the table.

10) Turkey Bowling

This game combines arts & crafts with sports, letting kids tap into both their creative and playful sides. To start, have kids create turkey bowling pins using paper cups. They can color the cups brown, draw eyes, glue feathers to the back — whatever it takes to make them look like mini turkeys. Then, set the turkeys up in a hallway and see how many get knocked over.

11) Thanksgiving Trivia

If you have any trivia enthusiasts at your Thanksgiving dinner table, this game is for you. All you have to do is go online and print out some Thanksgiving-related trivia questions. Then, split into teams and select a host. The host will read out questions and distribute points accordingly. You can tailor this game to either adults or children by adjusting the difficulty of the questions.

12) Pass the Candy Corn

For this game, you need popsicle sticks, an empty bowl and tons of candy corn. Start by dividing into even teams. On each team, one person will put a popsicle stick in their mouth, then place a piece of candy corn at the end. The person next to them will also put a popsicle stick in their mouth. The first person has to transfer the candy corn from their popsicle stick to their teammate's stick without using their hands. The process continues until you reach the last person, who puts the candy corn into the bowl. The team with the most candy corn wins!

13) Thanksgiving "Dare or Dare"

When you think of Thanksgiving games, "Truth or Dare" may not come to mind. However, you can definitely enjoy a family-friendly, holiday version of this classic sleepover game at your next Thanksgiving dinner. While you can keep it as "Truth or Dare," it may be more fun to encourage everyone to just do dares instead. Here are a few fun Thanksgiving dares to try out:

  • Use an old-fashioned, pilgrim accent for the rest of the turn
  • Pretend to be a turkey
  • See how long you can balance candy corn on your nose

If you're worried about guests coming up with dares on the spot, feel free to write a few down before starting.

14) Thanksgiving Lottery

Get your guests excited by handing out homemade lottery cards when they arrive. All the cards should match except for one, which has a special symbol. The lucky person with this card wins a prize at the end of the night! The anticipation alone is sure to keep kids entertained.

15) Thanksgiving Mad Libs

If there's one thing that's guaranteed to make people laugh, it's Mad Libs. This famous party game starts off with a template, then lets players create their own stories by filling in the blanks. You can print Mad Libs online or simply make your own. Feel free to get as creative as you'd like with the blanks — after all, it's your story! Even if the stories don't come out perfectly, you can rest assured you'll create some lifelong memories together.

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