Party Plans: 12 Thanksgiving Party Games

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Thanksgiving may be all about the food, the visiting with family and the football games on TV at your house, especially of all of your guests are adults.

But if a number of your guests are children, you will need more activities to keep them entertained before and after the meal. Here are 12 Thanksgiving party games that will keep the youngsters busy and happy. Some of these are traditional party games that have been popular for years. There’s a reason they have remained popular–they are fun and to children, they are new and interesting.

  1. Family Photography: Give each child or pair of children a camera or cell phone and have them take photos of family, friends or things they think are funny. You might give them a list of pictures to take–for example, the oldest family member with the youngest family member, mothers with daughters, fathers with sons, people who share the same name, people wearing the same or opposite colors, the tallest and shortest family members. Have some Thanksgiving photo props you printed off the Internet for guests to pose with. If these photos can be printed off on a home computer while everyone is together, hang these shots on a line for everyone to see.
  2. Pumpkin Bowling: Use a small pumpkin as a bowling ball to knock over toy bowling pins or plastic water bottles or towers of toilet paper rolls.
  3. Pumpkin Golf: Use a hollowed -out pumpkin as the hole guests are trying to hit their golf balls in.
  4. Thanksgiving Day Parade Game: If your family likes to watch the Macy’s holiday parade, energize your television watching with handouts denoting different things to watch for. Your game activities could include items like, “cheer when the band from another continent comes on the screen,” do jumping jacks when a celebrity performer messes up the  lip-synching, ” “whistle when cheerleaders come on the screen,” or “pinch someone when the first bagpipes come on the screen.” You could get your guests to vote on their big balloons.
  5. Top Turkey Artist: Have a blindfold and paper and pencils ready for guests to use to see who can draw the best turkey while blindfolded. Make sure everyone signs their names to their artwork and hang up the turkeys so the group can vote on the best artist.
  6. Turkey Waddle Relay: You can play this relay game with balloons or inflated turkey toys. Divide into teams and have a clear start and finish line. Each guest must put the turkey or balloon between his/her legs and waddle to the finish line without touching it with his/her hands. If a guest drops the turkey or touches it with his/her hands, that guest must go back to the starting line to begin again. The team whose players finish the turkey waddle first wins.
  7. Thanksgiving Feast Memory Game: Have all guests sit in a circle; one guest begins by saying, “On Thanksgiving Day, I ate turkey.” The next guest repeats what the first guest said and adds another Thanksgiving dish of his/her own–“On Thanksgiving Day, I ate turkey and cranberry relish.” Going around the circle, each guest repeats what the person before him/her did and adds another dish. If a guest forgets an item or gets them in the wrong order, that person is out of the game. The winner is the guest who can stay in the game the longest.
  8. Thanksgiving Garlands: Have the guests create a long holiday garland to go down the center of the dinner table or decorate the mantel or stair rail or create separate necklaces for everyone. Using large-eyed needles and thin fishing line, guests can thread cranberries, popcorn and pretty dried fall leaves in a pattern for the garland or necklace. The younger guests may need help with knotting the fishing line.
  9. Airborne Pumpkin Relay: Divide into teams and have each team prepare at least 3-5 orange balloons on which they can draw pumpkin faces.  At the starting signal, the first guest on each team tosses a balloon in the air and then runs to the finish line batting the “pumpkin” in the air. If the “pumpkin” touches the ground or breaks, the guest has to return to the starting line to get a new “pumpkin.” The team whose players all keep their pumpkins in the air and get them to the finish line wins.
  10. Turkey Treasure Hunt: Hide little craft foam or cardstock turkey shapes in the yard or in the house. You may want to number them so you can keep track of how many have been found. You can hide 10 turkeys for each guest in a different color or with the player’s name; guests may only pick up their assigned color or the turkeys with their names. This allows the younger guests a fair chance to find their turkeys. The guests who find all their turkey treasures first are winners. You may want prizes for older and younger players.
  11. Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt: Prepare a list of items for your guests to search for outside or inside, either individually or in teams. Try to use natural items like different kinds of leaves, acorns, gumballs, pinecones, feathers, rocks, twigs or things that relate to Thanksgiving (signatures of the oldest family member, the person who cooked the turkey, the person who brought the pie, etc). If it is a complicated list for which to search, set a time limit to be back.
  12. Pumpkin Roll: This game can be played by individuals or by teams. Provide several small pumpkins and have a long area for the course. Your guests can be asked to roll the pumpkin with their hands, a wooden spoon or a broom to the finish line. You can also provide several obstacles along the course that each guest has to knock over with the pumpkin (bottles, towers of toilet paper rolls, Legos or blocks)on the way to the finish line. If you are doing this for individuals, you can time each player to determine a winner.

If you prepare in advance to have the necessary materials ready before your guests arrive, you will be able to keep your young guests entertained throughout the long family gathering, making it a fabulous Thanksgiving for everyone!

For some Thanksgiving traditions to try with your family, check out this post.

For other seasonal traditions to try, check out this post.


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