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9 Fun and Frugal Thanksgiving Activities, Games, and Crafts Ideas for Kids

By Casey Slide

thanksgiving childrens gameThe first thing that usually comes to most people’s minds when they think about Thanksgiving is eating. There’s turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. But as you know, Thanksgiving is also a time for you to get together with your family and friends. Whether you will be celebrating with a few close friends or your entire extended family, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to spend quality time with those you love. This year, turn off the TV and video games, walk away from the computer, skip the movies, and instead, socialize with those you care about.

And just as you can save money on your Thanksgiving dinner menu, you can also save money with these nine fun and inexpensive Thanksgiving activities.

For Everyone

1. Learn a Little History
If you are like me, you have likely forgotten half of what you learned in school. Every once in a while, I need a refresher course in history. If you someone in your family is a history buff, this would be a great activity. Either get a book from the library or print out some information on facts about the Thanksgiving holiday. Then, have someone read it to the group, but make sure it is not too long in order to keep everyone’s interest. Or if you have someone who knows a lot about the family genealogy, see if they have any Thanksgiving stories from your lineage.

2. Guess Who Is Thankful
This is a fun game to play for your Thanksgiving gathering. As people arrive, have them write down on a piece of paper what they are thankful for and put it in a basket. Once all the papers are collected, have one person read them out loud as others guess who wrote it. Or you could have everyone write down their answers to see who can get the most correct.

3. Share Pictures
Most families are constantly sharing pictures. But for this activity, everyone will share a picture that represents what they are most thankful for during the past year. It’s a great way to put a twist on sharing pictures and sharing what you’re thankful for.

4. Serve at a Soup Kitchen
Do you have a soup kitchen near you that needs volunteers to help serve food on Thanksgiving? Consider serving others before or after your own Thanksgiving meal. Not only is this fun, but you are doing something good for those who are less fortunate than yourself.

For the Kids and the “Kids at Heart”

5. Thanksgiving Crafts
There are a lot of cool Thanksgiving arts and crafts that you can do, but one of my favorites is making a Turkey with a paper hand cut-out. Kids can trace their hand on a piece of construction paper and cut it out. Next, they can decorate the thumb to be the turkey’s head and the other fingers to be the turkey’s feathers. Then on each “feather,” they can write down one thing that they are thankful for. It is a great way to keep kids occupied and teach them how to be grateful for their many blessings.

girl thanksgiving crafts

For the Competitors in the Family

6. Thanksgiving Word Searches and Crossword Puzzles
My Aunt Becky and I have a favorite activity we do on holidays. We both get the same crossword puzzle, word search, or Sudoku puzzle, and race to see who can finish it first. This is a great activity for individuals and for teams. If you want to do a Thanksgiving-themed puzzle, you can find some if you search for “thanksgiving puzzles” online.

7. Thanksgiving Trivia
To keep your mind sharp after you’ve stuffed yourself with pumpkin pie, do a Thanksgiving trivia contest. Have a family member go on the Internet and either find a Thanksgiving fact quiz that is already made, or have them make one after doing a few minutes of research. Questions can range from history to food to American traditions.

8. Tournament Games
This is a great one for when you are with your extended family. You can do this with pretty much any game, but I have done it in the past with horseshoes and badminton. Perhaps if you are up north, you may want to do this with an indoor game or even a video game. All you need to do is create a bracket so that people or teams play each other and are eliminated if they lose. If they win, they move onto the next round. This is fun even if you do lose because you can cheer on your favorite team. Also, there are several Internet sites where you can make a professional looking bracket to keep track of things. For more options, check out these family game night ideas and board games.

family board game

For the Shoppers

9. Make a Black Friday Itinerary
If you are a Black Friday shopper, take some time to get prepared with this Black Friday shopping guide and plan with other members of your family. While you are eating dessert or drinking coffee, work together on how you can get the best deals and see if you can put together an itinerary. Although it may not be fun to get up at 4AM the next morning, it sure is fun talking about it while you’re relaxing after your turkey feast! Or skip Black Friday altogether and focus your energies on Cyber Monday deals.

What activities do you plan for Thanksgiving? Are there any yearly traditions that you have?

Casey Slide
Casey Slide lives with her husband and baby in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and worked for a prominent hospital in Atlanta. With the birth of Casey’s son in February 2010, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Casey’s interests include reading, running, living green, and saving money.

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  • Geraldo Rivers

    Thank you very much for the helpful information about Thanksgiving activities to keep my children busy. This year is the first time I have to cook a turkey for my family. My wife usually does it. I was terrified because I don’t cook at all and needed some help. I looked on-line for some helpful information but there are too many vague answers out there until I came by Allison’s e-book called “Cooking Turkey Made Easy” http://shork.us/turkey that made understanding cooking much easier and made me feel prepared to undertake such a taunting process of cooking a whole turkey.

  • Casey Slide

    Good luck to you next week. Geraldo. Thanks for sharing that link, and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002637635109 Frugal Toad

    My wife and daughter are going shopping on Black Friday and then going to see the new Twilight movie. While they are having fun shopping I might play a round of golf.

    • Casey Slide

      That sounds like my family! I want to go shopping and my husband wants to play golf. Have fun!

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