Best Family Games for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and it’s not just for the food. I love it because it is one of just two or three holidays each year that my entire family reunites for fun and memory-making! Many families spend much of the day in the kitchen cooking and eating or in the family room watching football. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, my family spends quite a lot of time playing games!
I know sometimes it can be hard to think of things to do to entertain everyone. Especially when you have a range of ages, it’s hard to find games for everyone to enjoy.
So what are the top Thanksgiving games to play with family? The best Thanksgiving games to play with your family this year include:
- Shooting Turkeys (not for real!)
- Thanksgiving Trivia Game
- Scavenger Hunt
- Family Feud
- Various Card Games
- Skittles Gratitude Game
- Thanksgiving Minute-To-Win-It
What I love most about these games is they aren’t your typical run-of-the-mill board games. These games get everyone participating, having fun, and creating lasting memories. Let’s talk about each of these games and how to play them!
No this isn’t the game of going out to catch your dinner, hopefully, that’s already been taken care of! This game can be set up and played in a variety of ways.
One option is to blow up balloons of various sizes. Then draw or paint on the balloons, making them look like turkeys (this is a fun part for little ones to do). Have everyone take turns on who can shoot their “turkey” first with a nerf gun or sling-shot. This game can also be played outside if the weather is nice.
You can also play this with “rubber” or “soft” Thanksgiving-themed toys, like rubber chickens or stuffed turkeys. Then use small balls to knock them over. For winners, either base it off of who gets it first or who gets the most in a certain timeframe. We usually play around with just kids and then just adults to keep things fair!
Thanksgiving Trivia Game
This is just what it sounds like, Thanksgiving-themed trivia. We played this one with kids and adults at the same time and it was a lot of fun. We use questions from real Thanksgiving history and then also fun pop-culture questions. You can get your questions from a variety of sources, but online is easiest.
You can have a range of easy questions to harder, or random questions. This doesn’t have to be a competition, sometimes it is fun to just learn new things or keep the conversation going.
A classic game for kids and adults is a scavenger hunt. I find this one especially helpful for little ones while waiting for dinner to be ready. It is a good distraction for hungry bellies! You can write your list or you can use pre-made lists found online.
One option is to make it into a “reverse” scavenger hunt with the adults finding items for the kids. You don’t have to only find Thanksgiving-related items although that is fun!
Here are a few items I have included in scavenger hunts in the past:
- a character related to thanksgiving (squirrel, pilgrim, turkey)
- a toy that is made of wood or natural materials
- an item commonly found in fall (e.g. a leaf, pumpkin, acorn)
- a cookbook
- something handmade
- an item that starts with T
- a pair of boots
This is a great game for older kids to enjoy. You can get the questions from either the real game of family feud or you can make up your categories. If you are playing this with little ones, I would recommend creating more kid-friendly categories.
This game helps keep the adults in the family active and engaged! This is one of the games on this list that will take more prep work ahead of time. It also takes a bit longer to play and requires 2 teams of at least 4 people. You can stick with ThanksgivingFall themes or go with general family themes, really anything goes!
Various Card Games
If you are looking for something that’s less work to set up and explain then consider a card game. Some people won’t like the style of games already mentioned. Many adults especially prefer the challenge and strategy of card games. These are also easy to just have out on a table for people to play whenever.
Here are a few favorites we like to play:
- Slap Jack or Gold Fish for little kids
This is a bit more engaging style of a card game. It’s super fun and fast-paced game. Everyone is on their feet, passing cards and grabbing spoons! Spoons can be played with 3-13 people. Players take turns trying to collect four-of-a-kind and once someone does, everyone tries to grab a spoon.
If you’re the player without a spoon, you get assigned a letter. The last player to spell out “spoons” wins.
Instructions for playing spoons:
- You will need a standard deck of cards (no Jokers)
- Gather spoons one less than the number of players. If you have 5 players, you would need 4 spoons.
- Start the game by arranging all the spoons in the middle of the table.
- Then the dealer may deal four cards to each player. The dealer should keep the remaining cards in a pile on the table.
- At the beginning of each round, the dealer takes a card off the top of the deck (to have five cards in his hand), he or she then removes one card from their hand and passes it face down to the player on their left. This continues around the circle of players with each player taking a card from the person on their right, choosing whether to keep it and passing one card on to the next player. Each player discards the person on their left.
- The last player places his discarded card into a discard pile and the next round begins when the dealer picks up a new card. If at any time the draw cards run out, pause to reshuffle the trash pile and keep going.
- Play continues quickly until someone gets four of a kind. At that time, the player takes a spoon from the center. Once the player with four of a kind takes a spoon, anyone can take a spoon. The player left without a spoon gets a letter. The player who reaches four of a kind first has a variety of ways he can take the first spoon.
- The winner is the last player remaining. Players move closer to elimination each time they don’t get a spoon and take the next letter in the word S-P-O-O-N. Spell it and you’re out!
Skittles Gratitude Game
Since this holiday is all about being grateful, this game is a must! You don’t have to use skittles, you can use any variety of different colored objects. You will simply assign each color of skittle or another object with something to be grateful for. Take turns going around the room and choose a color out of a bowl.
For instance red= a person you’re grateful for. Yellow= a place. Green= an invention or technology. This gets us thinking of specific things we’re grateful for and it’s a wholesome activity that I love doing with my family.
This is another game that will require a bit of prep work and assorted items to play with. However, it can easily include everyone and take up a good chunk of time! This one will involve a timer and a set of random items for various tasks. You can look up challenge ideas online.
We like to do obstacle course-type challenges with teams! You can also do blindfolded or hands-off tasks doing various things. As always, feel free to make the challenges fall/thanksgiving themed or go with anything. Make sure to have your video camera out for this game, it gets pretty funny!
What To Do For Those Who Don’t Like Games?
There are plenty of people out there who simply don’t like playing games and that’s okay! Here are some other activities that can be done together so nobody is left out:
- Read a Book
- Do a Puzzle
- Watch a Movie
- Share Stories
- Do a Craft or Color an Activity Page
- Play With Some Modeling Clay
- Help Out in The Kitchen
What Are Games That Kids Can Play Alone?
Need to keep the kids entertained while the adults cook or eat or play their own game? No fear, I have some ideas for you! These are a few games that young kids can easily play by themselves and they will have so much fun:
- Freeze Tag (especially if they can play outside)
- Simon Says
- Go Fish, Old Maid,
- Simple Board Games Like Trouble, Candyland, or Chutes and Ladders
- The Telephone Game
- Charades (give them different theme ideas)
- Musical Chairs or Dance Freeze Game (they stop dancing and freeze when the music stops)
Should You Play Thanksgiving Games Before Dinner?
Should you play games before or after dinner? I love to play a few before dinner to keep everyone occupied. We have a few appetizers out while we play. After dinner, we like to play a couple more relaxed games since everyone is so full!
Toward the end of the night, we are more inclined to watch a movie while we have pie. Of course, this is totally up to you and your family dynamics and traditions.
Whatever you choose, I hope this article gave you some ideas on what to play with your family this Thanksgiving. Spending quality time with family is priceless and playing games together is always a great way to do that. Happy Holidays!