Whether celebrating Thanksgiving with every one of your family members and friends or keeping it small, we are sure you have the menu planning and turkey ordering under control. Despite the meal being the show's star, there is still more to Thanksgiving day than enjoying a large, delicious dinner with family. We've pulled together a list of activities to keep you and your family and friends busy. Here are things to do on Thanksgiving before the bird comes out of the oven and even long after you've finished washing the last dish.
Take a Post-Meal Walk
The simplest of activities might be our favorite. After you've enjoyed seconds and thirds, grab the family and your walking shoes for a trip around the neighborhood. Instead of falling asleep on the couch, add some liveliness to the day by taking a quick walk—it's good for the body and soul. Bundle up and enjoy the Christmas lights that a few neighbors couldn't wait any longer to put up!
Play a Board Game
The day is about family. Rather than get lost in your phones or the latest Netflix series, huddle up for good old-fashioned fun. Whether you opt for a classic like Monopoly or a modern twist on charades with Guesstures, playing a board game with family and friends is sure to make you laugh. Plus, you'll make some lasting memories, too.
Video Chat with Family
Even though you desperately wish everyone could attend the same get-together, sometimes it's not possible. Whether calling cross-country or just in-laws a town over, it's always great to connect with loved ones on Thanksgiving. Schedule a time for a video chat and check up on how everyone is celebrating this holiday.
Give Thanks at the Table
For some, saying prayers precede any of the food festivities. Take this time to work your way around the table, allowing everyone to share thankfulness and gratitude for the day. If you have little ones in the family, we guarantee you're in for a treat with what's in their hearts and on their minds.
Get Creative with Thanksgiving Coloring Pages
Sure, at first read, this may lean towards a kid-activity. But adult coloring books are very much a thing. Print some holiday-themed coloring pages in advance and set up a little coloring station. This activity is another great way to bring everyone together in a screen-free environment.
Craft a Family Tree
We're not suggesting you go all Ancestry.com (although how cool is that), but pulling together a visually creative display can be fun on a day rooted in family. It's also an excellent way to remember the loved ones who can't be with us on the day.
Hunt for Pumpkins
Take a page from Easter's book by hiding mini pumpkins throughout your yard or house if you have an extra snowfall to see who can capture the most. Since these little pumpkins look great when painted, try adding special notes or symbols to specific pumpkins and make a game of who can find the "special pumpkins."
Save some mini pumpkins or repurpose them from your scavenger hunt to create a DIY tic-tac-toe game—the Thanksgiving version. This game is a simple way to use some of your Thanksgiving decors to entertain guests as they wait for the feast to begin.
For many, Thanksgiving is practically synonymous with football. But if your team isn't playing on the holiday, you can always assemble the family for some exciting flag football. Split into small groups for a round-robin style tournament, or use the entire family for one giant game.
Pie Baking Contest
Technically, this activity might need to happen before Thanksgiving day, but it adds an extra competitive and fun element to the day's cooking. Have all participating members arrange their pie with a number designating it on a table and have the family vote for their favorite. Plus, this way, you are sure to have plenty of desserts.
Build a Puzzle
Make a tradition out of building a puzzle every Thanksgiving. Puzzles are an excellent activity for idle hands when there may be too many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone can contribute to it, and you can use puzzle glue and a frame to preserve the image for the family to enjoy.
Thanksgiving Family Feud
This activity might require a little preparation, but it will be so fun if you do. Send out a survey to all your family members, asking them questions that might appear on the game show Family Feud . Make the questions specific to your family's history, Thanksgiving, or general ideas, and tally the responses. Elect one person as the "host" to write the responses and enjoy seeing how everyone answers.
Pin the Feather on the Turkey
Everyone knows how to play "pin the tail on the donkey," but Thanksgiving's mascot is the turkey. Enjoy this spin on a classic game. Have the kids decorate the different feathers to occupy them during the busiest preparation time.
Create a Tree of Thanks
While crafting on Thanksgiving, take those ideas shared around the dinner table and add them to a "Tree of Thanks." Give it prominent real estate in your home as a subtle reminder of all that's important on the most challenging days. This activity can be an annual tradition where you add new leaves of gratitude or something else that represents your family.
Play Parade Bingo
The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is a Thanksgiving morning tradition. Cuddle up with coffee, hot chocolate , and these printable Bingo cards. Pro tip: This is a great way to entertain kids while adults work in the kitchen.
Arrange pins and set up an outdoor bowling game. Crisp fall days are perfect for outdoor fun, so find a way to incorporate a Thanksgiving theme into your pins or bowling ball.
Play Thanksgiving Trivia
Did you know the first Thanksgiving lasted three days? Well, your trivia-loving friends most likely do, and you should too if you want to win this year's Thanksgiving trivia contest. Start a friendly competition to see who knows the most about the holiday, or expand it to other categories.
Watch Your First Official Christmas Movie
After washing the final dishes, cuddle up on the couch to officially welcome the Christmas season. Choose a favorite Christmas movie, from White Christmas to Elf , that brings folks together to unwind from the festivities.
Turkey Baster Relay
Test out this unique Thanksgiving-inspired relay race during your next holiday. Collect a feather or another small light object, a box, and a turkey baster (not the one needed for cooking, obviously). You might want to purchase an inexpensive baster for this game. Set up a course and use the baster to push your small object into the bag, serving as the finish line.
Thanksgiving Heads Up
Have everyone write a few words on individual pieces of paper and combine the suggestions into a bowl. Allow every family member to pick one word to start, without looking at it, and place it on their forehead with the word facing out to the other people. Use this unique setup to create a guessing game where teams act out the word.
Before guests arrive, create a Gratitude Game Board by writing down ideas of things you are grateful for next to different colored circles—use the colors found in your favorite colored candies. When guests arrive, have everyone select a colored candy and ask the question or prompt listed next to the corresponding color. Here is an example to get you started.
Run in a Turkey Trot
Turkey Trots are short races. Usually, these races are one to five miles and take place on Thanksgiving morning. These races are designed for families and are generally not too competitive. Bring the family to the race or compete to work up an appetite for your dinner later that evening.
Make a Black Friday Shopping List
Thanksgiving can be pretty overwhelming. The thought of facing the crowds at shopping malls and retail stores the next day might feel too much. Have guests and family members ease some of this stress by preparing lists of the best deals and when to arrive at specific locations.
Find Christmas Cookie Recipes
After Thanksgiving, the Christmas season begins. Start this festive time of year by searching through old cookbooks, magazines, or online to discover what cookies you want to start baking. Make a list and determine who will bring each cookie to your next big holiday gathering.
Volunteer with Family
Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, so volunteering at a local charity can be the perfect activity for you and your family. Find what organizations need help, and construct the day around your volunteer schedule.
Host a Movie Marathon
Christmas isn't the only season with great movie selections. Host a Thanksgiving day movie marathon featuring some of your favorites. Plus, you can still sneak in some Christmas films if you want.
Create an Old-Family Photo Game
Construct a reason for everyone to search through their old photo albums by creating a game around finding the perfect photo. Establish "funniest picture" or "best holiday picture" categories, or try stumping your family by guessing, "who is this baby?"
Put on a Play
This activity might require more work for the kids, but the adults will love an opportunity to put their feet up and enjoy a show after a long day of cooking. Have your young family members put on a Thanksgiving day play, which can have a holiday theme or whatever suits their imagination.
Best Dressed Pet
Don't forget about your furry friends this holiday. Invite family members to bring their dogs or cats in their best holiday outfits. Some pets might not last long in their clothes before wiggling out, so be sure to capture a picture when you have a chance.
Start a Grateful Jar
The day may be over, but you can continue the momentum of giving thanks by leaving a jar on the kitchen counter. Encourage family members to fill it with notes about what they are thankful for in the following days and weeks. Reach in and read a few on the days that get you down—it's an instant mood booster and a reminder of what's important in life.