Making Thanksgiving Fun For Kids

Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks, delicious food… and a whole lot of work and waiting! I know my littles can get restless waiting for the meal, so I like to come up with ways to keep them engaged and entertained. I’m making a list of some activities to help make the day a little more fun and make the waiting for the delicious meal go by a bit faster!


Start the day with a fun breakfast

On Thanksgiving we always start our day with homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and this year I’ve decided to set my kids a fun breakfast place setting with a placemat they can color, a box of crayons, and a craft (I’m loving this turkey crown!). I had a few placemats printed at an office supply store on 11×17 cardstock for $0.30 each, but you could also print on standard size paper & use dessert plates. You can find the free placemat printables here and here.

Thanksgiving themed TV or video

We have a two TV traditions every Thanksgiving; The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Both just set the mood for the day and get us into the celebratory spirit! It’s also fun to watch educational videos to learn a bit more about how we came to celebrate Thanksgiving, and Scholastic has some great videos for kids!

02838788-08AC-48FF-B61F-E79649186E72Books, activities and games

Both of my kids love playing games, and so this year I printed this adorable Thanksgiving themed Bingo game which will be simple enough for even my 3 year old to participate independently! My older kiddo loves doing word searches/word scramble activities so I found a number of free printables on Pinterest I printed for him as well. You could also stop by the dollar store to grab a few activity/coloring books, puzzles, or simple games. Having a Thanksgiving book or two to read as well is always a fun family activity – our family loves There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey!

9C1F1898-E467-4203-B135-5E2AE4C5F0A0Get the kids in the kitchen

Each year I put my kids in charge of a side dish and it is their responsibility to make! It helps them feel like they are a part of creating the meal, and also I really feel that teaching kids to cook helps give them confidence! Cranberry sauce is simple enough for my 8 year old to make almost completely independently (with just a little supervision at the stove), and I also have him help me mix and stir dishes throughout the day. (The cranberry sauce recipe we love is here) My 3 year old just learned how to make butter at school so this is going to be his contribution, but this is something that would be fun for kids of all ages! (You can read about how to make butter here) I have also made a cute menu card (template) to put at each place setting to highlight their dishes as well!

Make the decor

I’ve seen so many darling ideas online for kids to help out and stay busy with making decor for the day. You could have them make a centerpiece, a decorative garland, a gratitude tree, or even just help with setting the table!


When I told Cole it was time to start getting ready for Thanksgiving a few weeks back, the first thing he asked was could he make a wish with the wishbone again this year. Our family has a tradition of letting the kids make a wish with the wishbone, and although it is such a simple little thing, it is a tradition my kids always look forward to!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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