Fun Family Activities for Thanksgiving Day

thanksgiving activitiesThanksgiving Day is a wonderful chance to spend quality time with family and take a step back from the responsibilities and distractions of the “real world”. We’ve come up with some fun family activities to help new parents and provide inspiration for making some Thanksgiving traditions of your own.

At Home Activities

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. This has been a favorite family tradition for as long as we can remember, and it’s something the kids will come to look forward to every year. If you’re planning on spending a good portion of the day in the kitchen, why not pick up some pre-made breakfast danishes or donuts from a local bakery the day before Thanksgiving, so breakfast is a breeze? As you watch the parade, instruct the kids to keep their eyes out for the annual staples, like the Rockettes, the Snoopy balloon and of course, Santa Claus!

Decorate cookies. This is a safe and easy way to keep the kids busy while you’re working on the turkey. Make sugar cookies in custom shapes in advance, or pop a super-simple batch of ready-to-bake cookies from the freezer aisle in the oven. Then, let the kids go to town with different colors of frosting and sprinkles. Bonus: you’ll have dessert ready to go for after dinner!

Have a little friendly competition. Whether you form teams for a backyard game of touch football or go every-man-for-himself in Scrabble, playing a game is a great way to get the whole family involved. For older kids, we love Monopoly or Clue. For younger children, Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders are great choices.

Call distant relatives. Maybe you have an older relative who’s spending the holiday alone, or a niece or nephew that’s away at college and couldn’t make the trek home. Take a few minutes and give them a call or have a video chat session. This is a perfect opportunity to teach kids about the importance of keeping family close, and your relative will appreciate that you’re thinking of them during the holidays!

Away From Home Activities

Volunteer. There’s no time like the holidays to teach kids the virtue of being thankful. Serving the less fortunate is a great teaching opportunity, plus it feels good to help others. Spend a few hours serving Thanksgiving meals at the local soup kitchen, visiting the elderly residents in a nursing home, or helping out with the holiday service at your church. Your kids will no doubt get a better idea of how lucky they are.

See a movie. When was the last time you went to the movies as a family? Many local theaters open their doors on Thanksgiving night, and lots of popular new releases target the holiday season. Splurge on candy and popcorn, and draw straws to decide who gets to pick the flick! Or, skip the theater and pick up a DVD at Redbox to watch from the comfort of the couch.

Have a different kind of Thanksgiving meal. Not too keen on cooking? Plenty of restaurants offer special chef’s menus to cater to the Thanksgiving crowd, from the traditional turkey and stuffing to seafood buffets. Be advised if you’re planning on dining out–you’ll likely need to make reservations in advance.

Go for a walk or bike ride. What better way to recharge after your post-turkey nap than taking a brisk walk or bike ride outdoors? You’ll sneak in a little exercise, and have a great excuse to go back for a second helping of pumpkin pie later!

What are your favorite things to do as a family on Thanksgiving? Share this post with other parents on Facebook or Twitter!