Thanksgiving is always a wonderful time to be spent with family. Full of gratitude, togetherness, and joy, there are many beautiful memories to be made and spiritual lessons to be learned for the whole family. Whether starting some new traditions or simply looking to entertain the kids, here are a few kids Thanksgiving activities for families to make this harvest season especially meaningful.
Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids
With so much free time during fall break, Thanksgiving crafts for kids are a great way to keep kids entertained and teach them important lessons. Kids love having the opportunity to get creative, while Thanksgiving crafts are a great opportunity for you to help reinforce the truths you’ve been teaching them.
Paper Bag Turkey Craft
One Thanksgiving craft for kids you can do is a classic small brown paper bag turkey. Perfect for personalized decorations, two orange triangles serve for a beak, one under the flap and one on the flap, so kids can make the turkey open its beak like a puppet and squawk.
What You’ll Need:
1. Small, brown paper bag
2. Glue stick
4. Multi-colored construction paper
6. Googly eyes (optional)
How to Make It:
1. Using scissors and construction paper, cut out two yellow or orange triangles for your paper bag turkey’s beak.
2. Glue these triangles onto your paper bag—one on top of the flap at the bottom, and one directly below it.
3. Glue on or draw googly eyes above the beak.
4. Using scissors and construction paper, cut out several multicolored feathers to glue onto the back of your paper bag turkey.
5. On each construction paper feather that goes around the top of the bag, have kids write something they are thankful for.
Spiritual Truths To Teach:
After they’ve finished their Thanksgiving craft, take some time to let the children say a thank-you prayer to God for the things that are on the feathers to remind them that all these wonderful things come from God. Be sure to talk to them about how they can be thankful for these things all year round, not just during Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Next on the list of Thanksgiving activities for families, is Thanksgiving games for kids. These games require minimal setup or props, but are fun and full of spiritual truths children can learn.
Thanksgiving Hot and Cold Game
One Thanksgiving game for kids you can play is a Thanksgiving twist on “Hot and Cold.” To play this game you’ll need a visual of a Bible verse about thankfulness and a small toy for the kids to hide. Have one child stand behind you, facing the wall with their eyes closed. Have another child hide the toy in the room while everyone says the verse to cover any noise. As the first child tries to find the toy, have the children recite the verse louder when they’re “hot” (closer to it) and softer when they’re “cold” (farther away from the toy).
You could use verses like Psalm 107:1, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Or 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Thanksgiving Hot Potato Game
Another easy Thanksgiving game for kids that you can use anywhere is a Thanksgiving round of Hot Potato. To do this, have the kids pass around a bean bag or any available object as the “hot potato”, while you play some music in the background. When the music stops, the kid holding the “potato” has to share something they’re thankful for. To help get the game rolling, you can also have categories to help the kids narrow down what they’re grateful for. For example, you can tell them to share a food they’re thankful for in one round, an animal in another, or a person they appreciate.
Take note of anything said that can be a springboard for a good conversation about elements of God or any Thanksgiving lessons for kids after the game. If you’re playing the game at a family gathering, mix the adults in with the kids so everyone gets to share together. There might be some unexpected sharing that can turn into a very special family time, while you should encourage children profusely for their contributions. Normally families go around and people say what they’re thankful for, but mixing in the game will help keep the kids more engaged. At the end, ask if anyone has something to share that they didn’t get to share.
Get More Out of Kids Thanksgiving Activities
Common Thanksgiving activities for families is to say what you’re thankful for. For children, it’s easy for them to be thankful for stuff like their toys or food, but we want to encourage kids to go deeper. In all your Thanksgiving games and crafts for kids, encourage kids to become more thoughtful by gradually making your Thanksgiving categories more and more meaningful.
For instance, you can ask them to name a person they’re thankful for, then something about the person that they appreciate, like a character quality. What about something that happened this year? Or attributes of God that you’re thankful for? If you played the Hot and Cold game with a Bible verse or two, you have already just reviewed some things about God they can be thankful for.
Did anyone say they were thankful for something difficult that happened this year? If not, have another round where we say what hard thing you’re grateful for, because God did something good in your heart through it or used it to draw people to Himself. Expressing this kind of gratitude in the midst of hard times is a great example to kids in the family, while also being a good testimony for those who need encouragement.
Last but not least, don’t forget to be corny and be thankful for the turkey! May God bless your day and all your Thanksgiving activities for the family, whatever that may look like.