Children playing outdoors with a giant snakes and ladders game in the backyard.

5 activities to keep your kids entertained at Thanksgiving

We’ve endured a year and a half of Zoom birthdays and weddings. For most of us, Thanksgiving is the first holiday we can actually enjoy with friends and family in a slightly more “normal” way, so we want to make it count. For those of us with kids, keeping them happy and entertained is a whole other challenge. 

That’s why we’re here to help. We’ve come up with 5 great ideas to keep your kids entertained while you and your guests gorge on turkey (or let’s be honest, take out).

1. Arts & crafts time


Photo: Hands On As We Grow

We love activities that are fun, easy and creative, and involve little to no glitter. This cute make-your-own Thanksgiving ring toss game from Hands On As We Grow is the perfect thing. Once they’re done making their own rings, your kids can get a ton of play out of em (once the glue dries). It’s easy and only requires a few items from around the house.

2. Dessert decorating station

Photo: Food Network

Ah, sugar. One of kids’ biggest motivators. If you want to get your kids to stay at the dinner table for more than 10 minutes, you can set up a small dessert station at the end of the table. One option from  Food Network has kids making adorable hand-shaped turkey cookies. You can bake simple sugar cookies in advance using a hand-shaped cookie cutter (or turkey-shaped if you can find it) and provide the kiddos with the sugar-based “fixins”  to decorate their cookies. 


Photo: iHeartCraftyThings

For a slightly healthier option, you can use a variation of this equally adorable turkey apple decorating idea from  iHeartCraftyThings. All you need is an apple, some toothpicks and healthy gummies or dried fruit.

3. Thanksgiving-themed games


Photo: Bloom Designs Online

For a bit of alone time with the adults, send your little ones on a wild turkey chase. Literally. Bloom Designs created a turkey hunt that the kids can play while you get your much needed adult time. You just have to print it out and set it up in advance either inside the house or in your backyard.

4. Outdoor games

Getting the kids outside when it’s a little cold can take some determination. But sometimes all they need is a bit of structured play. How about setting your backyard up for a super epic game of tag or capture the flag? After one minute  of running back and forth, they surely won’t be complaining about the cold.

5. Giant games


Photo: Giant Games

Let’s be honest, this one is our favourite...but there is nothing more exciting to kids than a giant novelty toy. I've seen how my own go wide-eyed over the biggest, most novel toys. But there’s no need for fighting. Just playing! A game of Giant Jenga, Giant Snakes & Ladders or a fun and strategic game of Kubb is sure to keep them entertained (and might even get the adults out there too)!

It is possible to have our turkey-shaped cake and eat it too. Having a great family-friendly Thanksgiving just takes a bit of preparation. However you choose to celebrate, we want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours.

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