When you’re busy planning an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, one of the tasks that might fall by the wayside is finding the time to think up engaging ways to entertain guests before the feast starts or after the meal is done. While a few of them might fall prey to the traditional post-dinner nap (and we don’t blame them!), others will appreciate the chance to spend time together in a new way — and maybe even create an exciting Thanksgiving tradition everyone loves participating in. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of fun Thanksgiving games that can go a long way towards helping you get the most out of the time you spend with friends and family this holiday season.
We’ll point you towards everything from seasonal games that are designed to bring the whole family together to Thanksgiving trivia books full of fun facts about the holiday. Whether you’re planning on spending this Thanksgiving with your family or friends or a mixture of both, we’ve got something enticing for guests of all ages.
The Benefits of Thanksgiving Games
While the temptation may be to worry more about the best side dishes for your turkey than the best side activities after eating the big feast or watching the big game, a little preparation and some exciting entertainment ideas can go a long way. After all, Thanksgiving is a great time to make priceless memories with your friends and family that’ll last far longer than even the best pumpkin pie. Introducing games into your Thanksgiving celebration can:
Ensure that even the youngest members of your family feel included. This is especially true when kids find themselves outnumbered by older guests. You’ll find that most kids will love playing games with extended family members whom they might not have otherwise spent much time with. Games are great for building bonds and fostering new connections.
Serve as a great way to keep your guests from staying glued to a screen. In the same vein, trivia and board games are a great way to help everyone at your celebration feel included. Whether you plan to invite a friend who may not know your other guests or you’ve invited kids who tend to get bored around adults, games are a great way to help break the ice. They’re an instant way to foster a little common ground between everyone and reduce the risk of some guests remaining shyly hidden behind their smartphone screens. They’ll keep everyone focused on each other, not what’s happening on TV or social media.
Be both fun and educational. Trivia games are a particularly great way to learn fun facts about the history of Thanksgiving that you might not have retained from social studies class. Some of our picks are also geared towards fostering the habit of gratitude and serve as wonderful reminders of what Thanksgiving should really be about.
Thanksgiving Trivia Book
If you’re looking for a fun way to spice up the family reunion this year, then check out this Thanksgiving Trivia Book. It comes packed full of fun questions that you can either turn into a game or use to learn interesting facts about the history of Thanksgiving day — or both!
The facts and questions are divided into a variety of categories that cover everything from the history of Thanksgiving in the United States to traditional Thanksgiving dishes and meals, and you’ll even learn a thing or two about Thanksgiving celebrations in other countries. Whether you’re interested in brushing up on your history or coming up with a game that the whole family will enjoy, it’s got a little something for everyone — and it can certainly liven up the dinner-table conversation in a fun way.
Alongside turkey dinners and Thanksgiving parades, football has become an annual holiday tradition for many American families. Bring the fun of scoring a goal right into your own living room with appealing activities like Table Top Finger Flick Football or the NPW Finger Board Football Game.
Both choices make great and inexpensive party favors for kids of all ages. They’re also a fun way to help teach your younger guests about football or to simply make sure that everyone stays entertained during commercial breaks while you wait for the big game to come back on.
Thanksgiving Trivia and Word Searches for Kids
Looking for something that can help your kids (or even some impatient, hungry adults) get into the Thanksgiving spirit? Check out this book of Thanksgiving Trivia for Kids. This one is a great choice for kids or grandkids, as it features over 300 fun and educational questions that cover five different Thanksgiving-themed categories. It’s also an excellent anticipation-builder for kids who can’t wait for the holiday to arrive.
Another great choice is this puzzle book of Thanksgiving Word Searches. It comes with 35+ large-print Thanksgiving-themed word searches that you can either do right out of the book or scan to your computer to produce multiple printable copies. Grandparents and grandkids will love working together to solve these puzzles while they wait for the turkey to come out of the oven.
Turkey Centerpiece Activity Kit
This adorable Turkey Centerpiece Activity Kit is doing for Thanksgiving what the Elf on a Shelf has done for Christmas. Just display the turkey centerpiece in your home around Thanksgiving and encourage each family member to write something they’re thankful for on a feather every day.
Keep attaching the feathers to the turkey until Thanksgiving day arrives. Then, read what each person wrote when you gather around the table for dinner. Not only is it a great way to encourage gratitude, but a portion of each purchase is also used to help Turkey on the Table and its partner nonprofit Feeding America donate meals to families in need.
Five Non-Themed Board Games That Are Always a Blast for All Ages
Who says all Thanksgiving fun has to be holiday-themed? Once you’re tuckered out with turkey, get everyone gathered around the table with one of these fun, time-honored games.
A family favorite since the 1980s, Pictionary gives players the chance to take turns choosing cards with various words and phrases written on them. After reading their card, each player must attempt to communicate the word that’s on it to their teammates — using only their (sometimes hilariously questionable) drawing skills, not words.
Make fun and funny comparisons by combining a “thing” card with a “description” card when you play Apples to Apples. You’ll score points when the judge likes your comparison the best — and your group is sure to come up with some pairings that have everyone busting a gut even more than your Thanksgiving dinner did.
Is your group a fan of brain teasers — or just-plain-fun word puzzles that’ll pull them out of their post-turkey food comas? Bust out the Scattergories box. Everyone will be thinking on their feet as your group fills out lists of random categories, all with words that begin with a designated letter.
Maybe the good-old classics aren’t up your alley this year. Shake up the holiday with Exploding Kittens — its name alone is sure to get everyone intrigued. This one is a hilarious new card game that combines all the fun of Uno with the added excitement of laserbeams, goats, magic enchiladas and kittens. What’s not to love about that combination?
If your get-togethers just wouldn’t be the same with a little trouble — in-laws squabbling, cousins teasing each other — redirect everyone’s mischievous energy by getting into a different kind of Trouble on Thanksgiving. This classic board game challenges players to move their pieces around the board without getting bumped back to the starting zone by an unlucky roll of the Pop-O-Matic bubble dice.