Fun Thanksgiving Activities for the Whole Family to Enjoy

These Thanksgiving activities are a great way for families of older kids to celebrate the season together.

Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, and fun. Here are some activities the whole family can enjoy together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Whether you are looking for something to do before or after dinner, these ideas are sure to keep everyone entertained.

Extended family out in fall leaves, playing a game

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Spending Time with Older Kids at Thanksgiving

Before diving into any activity, consider your tweens and teens. It’s a good idea to include them in the planning. If they struggle to tell you what they’d like to do to celebrate, give them a list of ideas and have them pick a few that they like best.

That way, you’ll be prepared when Thanksgiving rolls around and you’re looking for things to do with your tweens.

Spending time with older kids at Thanksgiving is important, as it gives us an opportunity to stay connected and build relationships with them. It can also be a great way to have fun, create memories, and express gratitude to those in our lives.

Thanksgiving Activities for Tweens

Here are a variety of things you can do with your tweens and teens to celebrate the holiday as a family.

Cooking With Teens

This year, spend time with your older kids cooking by letting them be in charge of a Thanksgiving dish. Teach them how to make their favorite holiday recipe or let them create something completely new.

If your kids love to cook, put them in charge of something big. If they’re still learning or you’re not ready for them to help with the main meal, encourage them to cook something for breakfast or prepare a snack for everyone to enjoy.

You can even tie your time in the kitchen to early American history. These corn dishes are not only delicious, they are an excellent way to learn about the role corn played in the lives of the Native Americans and English settlers.

Thanksgiving Games

The holidays are the perfect time to play some games. They’re a ton of fun and something the whole family can do together, so make sure you have a few in mind. Here are some ideas that are perfect for adults and kids.

Tweens also love playing minute to win it games, so check out these Thanksgiving ones. You’ll find plenty to keep everyone engaged and laughing.

If your tweens absolutely don’t want to play, put them in charge of running the games and keeping score, so they’re still taking part.

Ugly Sweaters

Ugly sweaters aren’t just for Christmas. This year, encourage your guests to come decked out in the ugliest Thanksgiving top they can find. Grab a silly prize from the Dollar Store to give to the winner.

Everyone can either buy a sweater, sweatshirt, or shirt (Goodwill is a great place to look) or make their own.

We did this one year, and it was a blast!

Festive Socks

If your family isn’t into ugly sweaters, host a festive sock contest instead. Guests can come to dinner wearing their favorite holiday-themed socks and everyone can vote for their favorite.

Just like the sweaters, you can buy Thanksgiving socks or add some crazy embellishments to a plain pair.

Thanksgiving Snack Station

To help keep teens from starving, set up a DIY snack station for them. All you need is a variety of sweet and salty items that they can put together into their own personalized snack mix.

Think of:

  • peanuts
  • Reese’s Pieces 
  • cranberries
  • almonds
  • granola
  • small pretzels
  • chocolate-covered raisins
  • candy corn

Put some cute coffee cups on the table for them to put their snacks into for an easy grab and go treat.

Thanksgiving Craft

Skip the coloring pages and give your tween an adult-ish kind of craft project to do this holiday. Some ideas include: 

These projects don’t cost a lot. In fact, most of them use Dollar Store materials or things you already have lying around home.

They also take little time to put together. Usually, the longest part of the project is waiting for paint or glue to dry, making them perfect crafts to work on while waiting for dinner to be ready.


Something your older kids are bound to love is starting a Friendsgiving tradition. Friendsgiving is a combination of the terms friends and Thanksgiving and it’s a day to spend time with your friends, often eating a bunch of good food.

After you choose a date, everyone can invite some friends over. You and your tweens can work together planning everything, from the menu to the activities.

This is sure to be something your family will enjoy doing year after year.

Head Outside

This Thanksgiving head outside together to get some fresh air. Go on a walk or take a hike. Toss a football around or fly a kite. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Grab your binoculars and spend time bird watching. Head over the park or local playground and have fun outdoors.

If there’s still time, you could sign up for your town’s Turkey Trot, or plan one for your own family.

Thanksgiving Movie Marathon

Tweens love movies, so choose a few of your holiday favorites and snuggle up and watch them together. There’s always the classic Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. Or give Free Birds or Turkey Hollow a try.

You can also start looking ahead to Christmas by choosing outstanding holiday titles like Home Alone, Elf, or How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Whatever you do, don’t forget the snacks!

These Thanksgiving activities for tweens are the perfect way to keep your teenager out of their room and instead engaging with the family. Choose a few of the activity suggestions above to make the most of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Two paper turkeys hanging on a twine line with paper in middle saying Happy Thanksgiving

More Thanksgiving Resources

Here are some more Thanksgiving things for older kids

What family Thanksgiving activities are you most excited about?

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman

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