Gobble, gobble! Thanksgiving is almost upon us and if you’re hosting this year, you’ve probably already sent out your invitations and planned a bountiful feast. This is a wonderful holiday to celebrate with your kids and include Thanksgiving fun that incorporates the theme of Pilgrims, Indians, and the bountiful feast. These ideas for children’s activities will keep your little ones busy and happy this holiday season.
Make a Harvest Necklace with your school-aged children. Using string and a needle, string popcorn, cranberries and dried fruit on to a necklace. Tie it off for them to wear on Thanksgiving Day.
Ask your kids to recreate the story of the pilgrims and the Indians. Tell the story in narrative fashion, and have the kids re-enact their own first Thanksgiving tale. Make sure to have platters of bounty for the kids to bring forth during the re-enactment to share.
Play a trivia game around the first Thanksgiving and traditions that have evolved over time. Play it in Jeopardy fashion, having the kids state the answers as questions.
Make pilgrim hats. All you’ll need is white posterboard or lightweight cardboard, black, yellow and gray construction paper, scissors and glue. Cut a headband out of poster board that is slightly larger than your child’s head, cut a hat shape out of black construction paper, cut a strip of gray construction paper and glue it to the hat. Cut a square of yellow construction paper and glue it to the gray band. Glue or tape the finished hat to the posterboard headband and your little pilgrim will have a hat!
If it is a crisp, sunny day, have some fun relay races with the Pilgrims and Indians. As examples:
- Have them carry a Platter of Bounty from one end of the yard and back again without spilling anything off of the plate. First team done wins!
- Place a dollop of cranberry sauce and cream on a large spoon and give it to the kids to carry from one end and back without it falling off the spoon. The kids must eat it at the end and then the next person takes a turn.
- Hold a Popcorn Race. Give the kids popcorn that they must run and deposit into an empty bowl. First team to fill the bowl wins!
Play Cornucopia: Have the children sit on chairs forming a circle with one leader in the middle. The leader points to each of the other players to give them a Thanksgiving name, such as “Turkey.” The leader then calls out two names, “Turkey and Potato.” Those two players must quickly switch places. The leader keeps calling at a quick pace, until suddenly she says “The cornucopia has tipped over!” Everyone, including the leader, then scrambles for a new place. The player without a seat is the new leader.
Hide Mr. Turkey (stuffed turkey or decoration) in the party room or outside in the yard. Your nieces and nephews must try and find Mr. Turkey. You can play this with several turkeys being hidden in the yard and everyone finds them, or play the game with one kid looking for Mr. Turkey and the rest of the group helping him find the guy. They can yell out “Hotter, Colder” to help Mr. Turkey be found!
Having a kids’ party before Thanksgiving? Looking for some festive fare to serve? Mini turkey pot pies, sweet potato fries, corn muffins and baked beans are good bets. Alternatively, serve turkey sandwiches, cut into turkey shapes using a cookie cutter, or turkey nuggets with different dipping sauces. Make it festive, but keep it easy as well. Cranberry juice would be a good drink to serve. For dessert, buy some pumpkin ice cream or try your hand at mini apple pies.
These activities will provide plenty of Thanksgiving fun for your little ones and their friends.
Submitted by Lisa Kothari
Lisa Kothari is the Founder and President of, Peppers and Pollywogs, a kids party planning company.