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Thanksgiving Table Games

Keep little ones happy and entertained before, during, and after the feast

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Thanksgiving is a fun family holiday, but for little ones it can be a long day. To help the day run smoothly (no temper tantrums, for example), it's a good idea to plan ahead and plenty for him to do, particularly at the Thanksgiving table. These games will not only keep your child entertained, but will keep everyone in the family happy and laughing. Some require a little planning ahead while others can be played on the fly. Have fun and happy turkey day!

Who is Thankful?

This one works great with a big group and doesn't involve too much planning. As everyone arrives to your Thanksgiving feast, have them write on a piece of paper what they are thankful for (help little ones who might have trouble with the words). Put all entries into a jar, but don't have anyone put their name on the papers. Once dinner has started (or maybe between courses), read out each paper and see if the group can figure out who is thankful for what.

What's Missing?

thanksgiving place setting
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This is good if your Thanksgiving crowd has a sense of humor (and your host or hostess doesn't mind). Once the Thanksgiving table is set, subtly remove a couple of necessary items -- a water glass, a salt shaker, etc. and see if your preschooler can figure out what they are. Give clues if necessary. This activity is great if there is time between courses.

Find the Turkey

thanksgiving turkey stickers
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Before the big day, purchase some Thanksgiving-themed stickers (like the turkey ones left [compare prices]). On Thanksgiving morning (or the night before) enlist a helper (but not your preschooler) to hide the stickers around the house or in the room where you will be eating (keep a list so you don't forget!). While dinner is being prepared, see how many your family can find. If you like, award a prize!

Thanksgiving Bingo

Make Bingo cards (five squares across horizontally, five squares vertically). Fill the squares with pictures of common Thanksgiving words -- turkey, potatoes, carrots, etc. Use buttons or small candies as markers.

Thanksgiving I Spy

magnifying glass
barky/stockexchange
No advance preparation, no supplies. Just a table filled with people and lots of things to find. Try to make it Thanksgiving-themed -- give clues about a dessert made from fruit or something that we eat that is green.

Thanksgiving Pass It

Looking for some laughs at the Thanksgiving table? Get enough pairs of chopsticks for each guest at the Thanksgiving table (teaspoons work well too, especially with little ones) and a few small items such as buttons or coins. Divide up teams by the side of the table. Have a race to see who can pass the items down faster.

Name That (Thanksgiving) Tune

Another Thanksgiving table game in a house with a friendly host or hostess. If you've got lots of glasses on your table, make sure they are filled to different depths and see what music you can make. If you get proficient enough, try making music and see if you can get your family and friends to guess what you are playing.

Thanksgiving Spell It

Alphabet blocks
Jaymarr/stockexchange
If you have room on your Thanksgiving table, spell out place settings using alphabet blocks. Once everyone is seated, see what Thanksgiving-themed words you can make.

Color and Draw

colorful crayons
ctechs/stock.xchng
Go back to basics. Print out some of these free Thanksgiving printables, put out a bunch of crayons and let everyone get to it. Give out prizes for most creative, most festive and more!

Make Thank You Cards

While you have the art supplies out, bring out some construction paper and have everyone write out a thank you card. It can be to a specific person or for something meaningful. Little ones can draw what they are thankful for or they can dictate their wishes to a grown up or older sibling. Once everyone is done creating, share your cards with everyone at the table.

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