While your table may look a little less crowded this year, Thanksgiving is still the perfect day to relax at home and eat all of your favorite foods. It won’t be the same as usual, since your favorite cousin won’t be sitting in the chair next to you and you won’t be able to meet up with your friends once dinner is done. But you and the rest of your household can avoid Turkey Day boredom by playing some super-fun Thanksgiving games. The following 13 activities are easy to learn, a blast to play, even if you only have a few people, and—most importantly—sure to distract you and your family from talking about this difficult year. And that’s something we can all be thankful for.
Keep reading for all the ideas you need to stay entertained, and for more on how to celebrate this holiday safely, The CDC Says These Are the Riskiest Thanksgiving Activities to Avoid.
This game, courtesy of the Teach Beside Me blog, isn’t just fun—it’s also an excellent way to get your heart pumping after a hearty meal. All you need are some clothespins and a group of eager participants. (If you want, you can paint the clothespins different colors or glue some feathers on them, but it’s not really necessary.) Gather everyone around and pin two clothespins on each player’s shirt. The goal is to collect clothespins from other players—and prevent yours from getting collected.
Once everyone is ready, the game leader shouts “Run, turkey, run!” Then, after a minute or so, they’ll shout “Freeze, turkey, freeze!” Everyone has to freeze in place. Do this for three rounds. You’re out if you lose all of your clothespins, and whoever has the most at the end of the game wins. (In other words, it’s basically a combination of freeze tag and flag football.)
And if you’re looking for some fun Thanksgiving Trivia to bring up to your table this year, check out 30 Thanksgiving Facts to Share With Your Family
To play Turkey Waddle, you’re going to need an inflatable turkey. Before you start, identify a starting point and an endpoint, about 40 feet or so apart. (Any longer, the game will be too hard; any shorter, too easy.) Then, break up into small teams. To play, each team member, taking turns, has to place the turkey between their legs and complete the course—both directions!—without dropping the turkey. The first team in which every member completes the task without dropping the turkey wins!
Thanksgiving Mad Libs
Mad Libs is always a blast, and these Thanksgiving-themed stories like these from from Woo! Jr. will certainly help break the ice and keep the dinner conversation from drifting into controversial topics. Thanksgiving Mad Libs is exactly what it sounds like: the normal Mad Libs you all know and love, except with Thanksgiving-themed stories and prompt sheets. Your whole family will gobble it up.
And to learn how Thanksgiving is viewed in other parts of the world, check out This Is What People Outside of America Think About Our Thanksgiving Traditions.
Turkey Leg Wrap
This kid-friendly game is a great way to keep your younger guests occupied, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun too. Players are divided into two-person teams, and each player has one minute to wrap their teammate in burlap. The goal is to have the teammate all wrapped up and topped off with a chef’s hat (to represent the bone) before the minute is over. Once the time is up, the team with the person wrapped up most properly wins the game. (Pro tip: Before the game starts, pick an impartial judge.)
Contrary to what the name implies, you won’t toss a single pumpkin while playing Pumpkin Toss. Fans of Cornhole—that beanbag-tossing game present in every brewery from Portland to Portland—will especially enjoy this DIY Thanksgiving game. To prepare ahead, make two Jack-o’-lantern cutouts from cardboard the day before. The Jack-o’-lanterns should be large enough to have wholes a bean bag can pass through. Once all the guests arrive, divide into two teams and get tossing. The team to score the most points wins the game.
And for info Thanksgiving shoppers need to have, check out You Won’t Be Able to Shop at These Superstores on Thanksgiving This Year.
Pin the Feather on the Turkey
If you want the kids out of the way while you enjoy some adult conversation, fall back on this classic. But, since it’s Turkey Day and all, rather than a donkey, cut a turkey out of cardboard. Then, make some colorful feathered tails and have the kids (blindfolded, as with the donkey version) see if they can pin them in the right place.
To be sure, a piñata isn’t traditional Thanksgiving ornamentation. But piñatas are a total blast, so there’s no reason not to include one in the festivities. Just make sure it’s turkey-themed! You can either buy one beforehand ($28 on Amazon) or, if you’re feeling crafty, make one yourself.
And for more on how this holiday is celebrated all throughout the U.S., This Is How Thanksgiving Is Different Across the Country.
Roll-a-Turkey is a game of chance centered around something everyone loves: M&Ms. The folks at Unoriginal Mom have printable makeshift boards featuring a turkey with five “feathers.” To play, first, roll the die. Each number correlates to a color of M&M:
- Roller’s choice!
Each “feather” on the turkey represents a color, with spots slated for M&Ms. Whoever fills up all the spots first wins the game! (But, in reality, everyone wins, since they get to munch down on a bunch of tiny chocolates.)
And if you want some more games and ideas for this holiday season sent to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
“I Am Thankful” Guessing Game
While you’re waiting for the turkey to cook, pass around some notecards have everyone jot down something they’re thankful for this year. Put all the notecards in a large bowl. Then, after dinner, read them out loud and try to guess who wrote each one. It’ll put a smile on everybody’s face for sure!
If you like whipped cream, you’ll love this game. Players race to uncover candy letters in bowls of whipped cream, and then use them to spell out “pie.” But there’s one catch: Players can’t use their hands! (Be warned, things will get messy—fast.)
And for ways we used to celebrate, check out 12 Retro Thanksgiving Traditions That Have Become Obsolete.
Think of it as an Easter egg hunt with a Thanksgiving twist. On Thanksgiving morning, send the whole family into a search of little turkeys that you’ve hidden away around the house. Whoever finds the most turkeys wins!
Thanksgiving Bingo is exactly what it sounds like: Bingo….but Thanksgiving-themed! This version comes from the brilliant folks at Fun-Squared, who created a free, printable Bingo card complete with holiday-appropriate squares: turkeys, pilgrims, corn, and the like.
Thanksgiving “Would You Rather”
Print out several Thanksgiving-related “would you rather” questions and cut them into strips. Put the questions into a jar, and pass the jar around after dinner. Would your mom rather be covered in mashed potatoes or gravy? Would your family’s cool cousin rather eat just turkey or just mashed potatoes for an entire month? Hey, you’re about to find out!