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Thanksgiving Activities: Things to Do on Turkey Day

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Have a crowd for Thanksgiving Day? There’s more to Turkey Day than the big meal. Here are a few ideas for fun activities for your houseful.

Thanksgiving is all about one big meal and taking in a football game on TV, right? Wrong! There’s lots more to do before and after the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, plan some fun activities for your guests. Keep the party going from the time your first guest arrives until the last one leaves.

Get Your Guests in on Making the Meal

Dinner guests love to help in the kitchen. While you’ll want to make ahead much of the meal, save a few things for your guests to help with as soon as they arrive. If you’re making homemade rolls, let a few guests form them into creative shapes.

If you have a particularly fun dessert planned, pass out the aprons and let everyone in on the fun.

Make a Thanksgiving Craft

Choose a Thanksgiving craft that suits the ages of your guests, and be sure to make it fun for even the youngest crafter. If you have the space, set up your craft on a table that won’t be used for dinner and have everyone work on a craft while dinner is cooking.

An added bonus is a craft that can be used the same day: Thanksgiving place cards using gourds or mini-cornucopias, a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table, or decorate a bread basket to look like a turkey, by allowing each guest to design a feather using old wrapping paper and wallpaper scraps.

Take a Walk

Some organizations schedule 5-K fundraising walks for Thanksgiving morning. Sign you and your guests up for a brisk walk to start out the morning, whether an organized walk for charity or just on your own.

After dinner walks through a park, along a lake, or just through your neighborhood will help fight off that sluggish feeling after the big meal, and will also provide lots of family photo opportunities. Plan ahead and find a nice walking path for a big group walk after dinner. If there are children, perhaps walk through a park that has a playground.

Get a Leg Up on Christmas With Holiday Cookie Decorating

Thanksgiving is the official kick-off to Christmas in many families. Have your Thanksgiving dinner guests help you start off your Christmas baking early, by getting the whole gang involved in decorating.

You won’t want to bake cookies after preparing a big Thanksgiving dinner, but have pre-baked shaped cut-out cookies ready ahead of time, as well as different colored frostings, and sprinkles, dragees and other cookie decorations.

Send your guests home with a Ziploc bag full of their favorite cookies.

If it’s a group project you’re looking for, make a large gingerbread house for the whole group to decorate together. You can even draw names or have a contest to see who gets to take the gingerbread house home.

Make a Christmas Ornament

The sky’s the limit when planning a homemade Christmas ornament craft. Choose something unique, easy for all ages, and something that can be taken home the same night. Be sure to print out instructions and have all supplies ready ahead of time.

Play a Game, Solve a Puzzle

Set out a few low-key board games, such as Apples to Apples or Jenga and let your guests get into some friendly competition. Or gather the whole group together after dinner to play a card game with prizes, charades, Pictionary or Bingo.

Movie Night

Thanksgiving night is a popular time to hit the movietheater. If there’s a family friendly movie playing, carpool to your local theater and catch a movie. Or stay in and watch a holiday classic. Don’t forget Thanksgiving theme movies like Pieces of April, Pocahontas, The New World, Hannah and Her Sisters, Planes Trains and Automobiles, and Home for the Holidays.

By planning some fun activities, you’ll give your dinner guests more than just a great meal. Be careful – you might just earn Thanksgiving host duties every year!

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