Free Thanksgiving Games for Children

Michele Meleen
Family preparing thanksgiving dinner

If you're looking for free Thanksgiving games for children, then you've come to the right place. These games and activities will help your kids learn more about this traditional American holiday and keep them busy while the adults are prepping for meal time.

Download 2 Free Printable Thanksgiving Games for Kids

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Thanksgiving Word Scramble Contest

Older children will appreciate this simple word scramble game that will get them thinking about the traditions and words associated with Thanksgiving.

You'll need:

  • Printed worksheets
  • Pencils
  • Timer
  • Small prizes

Directions:

  1. Gather children around a table. Pass out a worksheet to each child and instruct him to place it face down on the table.
  2. Give each child a pencil.
  3. Instruct the children that when you say "Go," they should flip over the worksheet and begin unscrambling the letters into Thanksgiving-themed words.
  4. Start the timer for two minutes (you may want to give younger children longer) and say "Go."
  5. When the timer goes off, say "Stop."
  6. Count how many correct answers each child has. You can hand out a prize to the child with the most correct answers if you'd like.

Pin the Feathers on the Turkey

This game works similar to pin the tail on the donkey, but children will pin the tail feathers on the turkey.

You'll Need:

  • Printed turkey image
  • Printed and cut out tail feathers (use heavy card stock for more durable feathers)
  • Sticky tack or double-sided tape
  • Sharpie marker
  • Blindfold

Directions:

  1. Tape the printout of the turkey to the wall. If you are worried you might damage the finish on the wall, use Command strips or sticky tack to secure to the wall.
  2. Place sticky tack or double-sided tape to the back of feathers.
  3. Have the children line up, one behind the other, facing the turkey.
  4. Blindfold the child at the front of the line.
  5. Write her name on the feather with a sharpie.
  6. Gently take the child by the shoulders and turn her slowly three times.
  7. Place the tail feather in her hand and explain that she needs to pin the feathers to the turkey.
  8. The children who get the feathers the closest to where they need to go win the game.

Active Thanksgiving Games for Children

If you need a game that will help kids burn off some energy before sitting down to the big meal or after eating all those sugary desserts, these active games are perfect.

Ditch the Candy Corn

This game is like a live-action version of the classic card game "Old Maid." Print, color, and cut out one of the free candy corn coloring pages. Punch a hole near the top and tie a ribbon loop through the hole. Hang the candy corn on the back of one of the dining chairs. Throughout the dinner guests have to try secretly moving the candy corn from their chair to the back of someone else's chair. If you get caught by the person in the chair, you have to put the candy corn back on your chair. At the end of the meal, the person with the candy corn on his or her chair is the loser and gets stuck with the candy corn.

Pumpkin Roll

Have a pumpkin roll in the backyard. Create a starting line and finish line for the race. Give each player a pumpkin that they must roll along the ground towards the finish line. The first pumpkin to cross the line is the winner. Make the game more challenging by forbidding the use of hands in rolling the pumpkin or making all players stay on their hands and knees while rolling the pumpkin with their face or shoulders.

Brother and sister in pumpkin field

Basketball Turkey

Basketball games like "Horse" and "Pig" can easily be turned into an active Thanksgiving game for kids. The first player attempts a shot and if they make it, the next player has to try the same exact shot. Choose a holiday word such as "Turkey" or "Pilgrim" to start. Each player begins the game with the complete word and loses a letter for every missed copycat shot they make. The person with any letters left when everyone else is out of letters is the winner.

Thanksgiving Tag

Have kids sit in a circle and give each child the name of a Thanksgiving food like "pumpkin pie" or "turkey." Have one child be "it" by standing in the middle of the circle and calling out the name of two Thanksgiving foods. The children with those two names have to run around the circle and trade places before "it" tags them. The child who is tagged will now be "it."

Gobble Gobble Seek

Have one child leave the room while you hide a small object. Now, have the child return to the room. As the child looks for the object, the other children in the room gobble like a turkey, gobbling more quietly as the seeker gets farther from the object and louder as the seeker gets closer to the object.

Turkey Hunt

Have a turkey hunt. Put turkey stickers on about 20 index cards and hide them around the room. Then send children on a hunt to find the turkey cards. If you want to up the ante, you can list a small prize on the back of each card that you will award to the child that finds that card; alternatively, offer a central prize to the child who finds the most turkey cards.

Thanksgiving Relay Race

The first Thanksgiving is said to have included Native Americans, Pilgrims, and lots of food. Split the group into teams of at least five people. At one end of the room leave a pile of Pilgrim dress-up clothes, Native American costumes, a stuffed animal turkey, a play food pie, and a small table such as a TV tray or kid's table. On "Go" the first member of each team brings the table back, then the next person gets dressed like a pilgrim, the third person dresses like a Native American, then the fourth and fifth people each grab a food item. The first team to bring all their supplies back to the starting area and set up their Thanksgiving dinner is the winner.

More Free Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Games

The Internet is home to a vast selection of children's holiday activities, with options for preschoolers and kindergarteners to grown-ups who are still kids at heart (and everything in between!). As you plan out your holiday, consider one of these great games to help the kids stay occupied. Add to the fun by challenging adults and family members to participate!

Dinner Table Buzz Word

Choose a Thanksgiving vocabulary word ahead of time such as "stuffing." Every time someone says the word, guests should raise their hand. The last person to raise their hand each time is out of the round. The last person left in the round wins. The winner can then choose the next buzzword. Whoever chooses the buzzword should explain the rules, then raise their hand after they nonchalantly use the buzzword to help guests guess what the buzzword is.

Twenty Questions

The game, 'Twenty Questions,' adapts well to Thanksgiving play. Have kids think of something related to Thanksgiving and then ask yes or no questions to try to guess what it is. This is a good game to play during car trips over the Thanksgiving holiday, especially for younger children. For example, you might ask: "Is it orange?" or "Can you eat it?" If the answers are yes, then you might guess "pumpkin."

Thanksgiving Dinner Memory

Play the following word/memory game. Have children sit in a circle. The first child says, "I'm going to Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm going to bring..." and then says something Thanksgiving-related that starts with the letter "a." The next child says something that starts with the letter "b" and then repeats the letter "a" word. Have children continue through the alphabet until someone misses.

Happy Thanksgiving Wordplay

Another word game will get kids playing with letters. Have children make as many words as they can out of the letters in the words "Happy Thanksgiving." It is helpful to have a worksheet for this with the letters across the top and blank lines under. You can also hand out blank sheets of paper, instruct the children to write the words "Happy Thanksgiving" across the top and then create words from those letters.

Thanksgiving Word Search Challenge

Kids of all ages are challenged to be the first to complete the easy, medium, or difficult Thanksgiving Word Search. Print out one copy for each child then set a time limit for solving it. At the end of the time the kid with the most found words is the winner. To make the challenge more fun, place kids on a team with the easy word search and adults on a team with the difficult word search and see which team can finish first.

kid making a wordsearch

Thanksgiving Observation

Play Thanksgiving memory. Place about ten to fifteen Thanksgiving-related objects on a tray and cover it with a towel. Uncover the tray and allow the children to look at the tray for two minutes. Now, cover the items on the tray and have the children try to write down as many of the objects as they can remember.

Guess the Thanksgiving Picture

Similar to the popular board game "Pictionary," teams will have to draw things commonly associated with Thanksgiving and get their partner to guess the item in this group game. Grab some index cards and write a Thanksgiving-related item on each one such as turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, Pilgrim, Native American, and dinner. Split everyone into pairs so you have teams of two. On their turn one player from each team picks a card without looking at it then has 60 seconds to draw that item. If their teammate guesses correctly before time is up, the team gets a point. Once all the cards have been used, the team with the most points wins.

Building Thanksgiving Memories

With these fun Thanksgiving activities, it's a snap to make the holiday fun for the youngest family members. These games provide a great way to keep your kids active and engaged this Thanksgiving season. If you will have a house full of children this Thanksgiving, these games will build memories that will last a lifetime.

Free Thanksgiving Games for Children