8 Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

By Jeff Bogle

Oct 31, 2023

Here are 8 Thanksgiving activities for families that will get you outside and active, as well as snuggling up together to relax on the sofa.

The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the best times to relax and celebrate time off from work and school with your family. While baking, making pescatarian recipes for Thanksgiving, eating (too much), watching sports, and finding some time to show gratitude and give thanks, there’s a long weekend to also dig into Thanksgiving activities for kids that excite, entertain, and in some cases, even educate your preschool kids. Here are 8 Thanksgiving activities for families that will get you outside as well as snuggling up together on the sofa.

Play the Give "Thanks Edition" of Scrabble

No, this isn't a new variant of the popular classic word-building game. Instead, it's one of the Thanksgiving activities for adults and fun Thanksgiving activities that can help you practice gratitude and refocus on all the things in your life that you have to be thankful for, like the many benefits of nature, all while getting that triple word score! As a bonus, this could be one of the Thanksgiving activities for kindergartners that can help them develop a more robust vocabulary.

Make Care Packages for Those in Need

In many parts of our country, the Thanksgiving holiday marks the arrival of the frigid cold weather season. Those less fortunate, on the street or in homes without reliable heat and electricity may need extra help during this time of year. One of the Thanksgiving activities for kids that gives back to the community is to make care packages full of thick socks, blankets, hand warmers, gloves, and hats, along with granola bars, bottled water, and other essentials to hand out to those on the street during this precarious time of year.

Create Handprint Art

Tracing your child's hand is a timeless tradition at Thanksgiving because from that simple pencil outline can come a feathery, colorful turkey! This year, go even further with Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers that will preserve their tiny prints in paint or clay.

Jump in a Leaf Pile

Crunchy and colorful fallen leaves are a staple of outdoor life in November. One of the simplest but most joyful Thanksgiving activities for kids is racking up piles of leaves and allowing them to run from pile to pile, leaping into them again and again. Note: be sure to remove all twigs and leaves and keep the rake handy because you'll be reforming the leaf piles all afternoon!

Have a Golden Hour Autumn Photoshoot

The sunlight feels and looks richer and more intense in autumn, so this is one of the Thanksgiving activities that you will give thanks for year after year. Have a golden hour (the time just about an hour before sunset) photoshoot with your kids dressed in their autumn reds and oranges, corduroy pants, and comfy sweaters.

Take a Hike and Crunch Leaves

A lot of fun Thanksgiving activities are indoors, like baking pies and doing crafts, but there are crunchy leaves waiting to be stomped outside and other things to be thankful for in nature! When it comes to preschool Thanksgiving activities and Thanksgiving activities for middle school aged kids too, it's hard to beat a family hike in the woods to find cool crooked sticks and crunch all those dry brown, orange, red, and yellow leaves that have fallen to the Earth.

Snuggle Up for the Thanksgiving Day Parade

School is stressful and work is busy, but Thanksgiving morning gives us the time to exhale and snuggle up together with our kids on the sofa. Best of all, there's something special to watch on TV as the elaborately decorated floats and enormous balloons soar on the screen during the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Turkey Trot to the Water

Avoid the bruises and sore hamstrings this year by skipping the Turkey Trot and the Thanksgiving football game. Instead, make a chilly, chilled-out autumn morning of fishing your newest Thanksgiving activities tradition!


Here are even more autumn outdoor activities and the best National Parks to visit in the fall and during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, OWTK.com and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion