When families and friends get together on Thanksgiving, it can often be an all-day or even weekend-long affair. And why not? For some, it may be one of the few times of the year the whole family gets together for a meal. But the big turkey dinner is only a small part of the holiday.
Oftentimes people get together earlier while the meal is still cooking and stay later while their food is settling. And if you have out-of-towners come in, they may stay the whole weekend. These four fun Thanksgiving activities may help you fill in all of those extra hours of special family time:
Thanksgiving crafts and games can be fun for anyone, young or old. While many crafts are geared toward kids, when an older cousin helps a little one, it can create a lasting memory neither will forget. Preparing activities for kids also keeps them busy and out of the kitchen on the big day. Plus, if you pick out several different activities or crafts ahead of time, you may be able to keep your little ones and relatives entertained in the next few days when their excitement for turkey has passed.
Check out the following websites before the holiday weekend to get a variety of Thanksgiving printables and craft ideas.
While the turkey is cooking, get everyone together who’s not busy in the kitchen and put on a Thanksgiving play. See if the children can take what they know about the first Thanksgiving and recreate the scene. Write a script, then assign characters and, finally, perform for the adults who weren’t involved in the production. Scholastic even suggests incorporating words and phrases from colonial America so kids can act like they’re really in the time of the pilgrims. If you want to extend this activity throughout the weekend, maybe schedule play practices Friday and Saturday before having the big performance on Sunday.
Thanksgiving is often synonymous with football, but mostly just because it’s on TV all day. To mix things up this year, the Family Education Network proposes getting your loved ones away from the TV and on their feet for a group football game. This gets everyone up off the couch and burning calories before the giant feast.
Instead of lounging around after dinner, why not start a Thanksgiving family game tournament? The tournament can last all weekend if you have guests staying in town and can include a variety of games.
Maybe kick it off by having a scavenger hunt. The Family Education Network suggests getting themed items, such as mini-pumpkins, apples or gourds, and hiding them around your house before guests arrive. Then have everyone search for the hidden objects after dinner.
The next day, you can roll the competition into a board game tournament. Either play a few different games or several rounds of one and keep track of who won the most. At the end of the weekend, you can name a Thanksgiving champion.
Whatever fun Thanksgiving family activities you decide to do, the important thing is to enjoy your time together. For many, the holidays are the few times of year the whole family is in one place, so try to make the most of it.
Originally published on November 20, 2014.