Fun and Festive Thanksgiving Activities

child holding Thanks banner
Keep family and friends occupied this Thanksgiving with holiday crafts and activities. We've gathered our best Thanksgiving activities to help everyone have fun while remembering the reason for the season.

Share a Family Thankful Jar

Download our free printable to decorate this simple thankful jar. Cut out the provided cards and ask the whole family to contribute throughout Thanksgiving Day by writing what they're thankful for. Then, at dinner, pass the jar around and have each person pull out a card and share what everyone has written. 

"Thanks" Garland

Create this Thanksgiving garland with your young ones. Using the free download below as a guide, create each letter in the garland and a variety of leaves from different kinds of craft paper.

Gratitude Placemat

This Thanksgiving share a moment of gratitude with this simple placemat. Download the free placemat below and print off enough for all of your guests. Have everyone sit down to the table together before dinner is served and share what they're grateful for. You can also practice saying "Thank you!" in different languages. 

Build a Turkey

Keep kids busy and out of the kitchen with this free download. Print out plenty of turkeys to cover the fridge or to decorate the dining room, lay out coloring and craft supplies, and let the kids design and build their own turkey. Sequins and glitter optional.

Gratitude Tree Display

Have your Thanksgiving guests decorate a tree for Thanksgiving. All you need is our free download below. Cut out the individual leaves and have guests write what they're thankful for throughout the day. This is a great kids activity. Have kids choose the branches of the tree, then see how many leaves they can add to it.

Collect Gifts for Others

Thanksgiving is an easy holiday to talk about the importance of generosity. Ask your guests to bring extra coats and other warm-weather gear that you can donate to a charitable cause. Kids can go through their own closets before Thanksgiving day to get the collections started. Place a large basket for collecting donations near the front door.

Try a Thankful-Theme Game

Writing down what we are thankful for is a well-loved Thanksgiving tradition. Try this card version: Simply cut out out cards from scrapbooking papers using decorative-edge scissors and embellish as desired. Give the cards to guests before dinner and ask them to write what they are thankful for. 

Thanksgiving Activity Placemats and a Trivia Quiz for Adults

Your printer is all your need for some dinner entertainment. For the kids: Printable placemats that double as activity time. For the adults: A test-your-Turkey-Day-knowledge trivia quiz. Get the free downloads, below!

Make a Kid-Friendly Table Runner

If your Thanksgiving setup includes a kids' table, then consider this no-fuss, no-mess Thanksgiving activity. Unroll a length of butcher or craft paper down the center of the table; tape down the ends if necessary. Give kids age-appropriate crayons, markers, or pens, and let them decorate before you set the table.


Draw and Color Placemats

Keep the kids busy before mealtime with this free placemat. Download the free placemat below, set out coloring utensils, and let the kids design their own Thanksgiving dinner. 

Cootie Catcher Game

Teach kids how to make and play with a cootie catcher using this fun Thanksgiving-themed game. Download our free games printable and follow the instructions to cut and fold the game. Then, have a player pick a picture on the outside of the catcher. Close and open the cootie catcher once for each letter in the chosen picture's word, alternating directions with each pinch. Have the player pick a number that is shown with the last pinch. Alternate pinches again, this time counting to the chosen number. Have the player pick another shown number, open the flap and follow the instructions to share a favorite memory or do an act of kindness.

Gather a Recipe Collection

Your Thanksgiving dinner guests will love taking home recipes from the day as a reminder of your special time together. Print out recipes on rectangular paper; fold in half and stitch together with a cover sheet. Affix a label to the front with your own special message and tie a ribbon around the entire booklet to finish.

Host a Family Tree Guessing Game

Here's a fun Thanksgiving activity that guests can work on before and after the meal. Ask each person to bring a baby picture; affix them to a wall "tree" you've made out of cardstock. Ask guests to guess the identity of each photo, and place answers in a jar or bowl. Reveal the matches after dinner is over.

Get creative with your centerpiece designs -- a chalkboard-painted platter works great as a Thanksgiving centerpiece and can be transformed to use on your table year-round.

Watch: Make Your Own Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Simple crafting skills and chalkboard paint transform an old platter into a one-of-a-kind centerpiece for Thanksgiving. Use it to display a welcome message or tell guests the menu.

Write Thankful Notes

Show your gratitude this Thanksgiving with these free, festive thank you cards that can serve as a night-of Thanksgiving activity. Simply download the beautiful card patterns and write your message inside.

Let Kids Design the Place mats

Skip the fancy place mats and table settings. Make dinnertime fun with this clever Thanksgiving activity. Simply cut colored cardstock to place mat size. Place a small cup of crayons at each place setting and have guests write down what they've been thankful for over the past year. During dinner, have each guest share a little of what they've written.

Thanksgiving Bingo

Create this fun Thanksgiving bingo set from our free games download below. Just print, cut, and play! Shuffle the cards and draw them one at a time to see who is first to "Bingo!"

Have Family Help Set the Table

Get kids in the act of setting the table. Let them assemble silverware and help choose the color scheme, too. Here, an unusual combination of green and yellow adds seasonal charm. To give dinnertime a pulled-together look, print out the menu onto cardstock using decorative fonts; tuck inside a folded napkin.

Make Nature-Inspired Place Cards

Low-key and festive, these simple place cards capture the harvest-inspired spirit of the season. Print our free design and write each person's name in complementary ink. Tuck a small item, such as a beet, into individual bowls; cut a small slit to insert the place card.

Do a Thanksgiving Crossword Puzzle

If the adults haven't finished their meal but kids want to get up and play, give them this activity instead -- a seasonal crossword puzzle. 


Thanksgiving Placemats

Who will win this Thanksgiving bracket is up to each person at the table. Print this free download below and let each guest decide what food should "win" Thanksgiving dinner. Then see if anyone picked the same Thanksgiving food to win them all.

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