Grateful for Fun: Family Thanksgiving Crafts, Games, and Activities

Gobble up these six easy ideas that will provide extra helpings of giggles at your Thanksgiving gathering

  • Photograph by Joe Polillo

    The Gang's All Here!

    The family's gathered from near and far -- so make the most of it! These get-moving activities, giggle-inducing games, and group crafts will boost the fun factor and keep spirits high.

    Originally published in the November 2013 issue of FamilyFun

  • Nature-Hike Wreaths

    Here's how your crew can take in some lovely local sights and end up with a take-home memento, too. Give each family member a plastic bag, then head for a pretty park or trail, where everyone can collect fallen leaves, bark, pinecones, twigs, and other nature finds as they walk. Back home, hand out wreath forms cut from cereal boxes (ours are 7 inches wide) and bottles of tacky glue for attaching the objects. Add leaf-shaped nametags cut from cardboard or card stock. For hanging, glue a large paper clip to the back of each wreath.

    Originally published in the November 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine

  • Photograph by Joe Polillo

    Tail Feather Tag

    To start, each player colors a clothespin with a marker, then uses glue dots to attach googly eyes and a craft foam or felt beak and snood. The decorated pin is clipped to the back of the player's shirt. At "Go!," everyone tries to steal each other's clothespins without losing his own. When a player's clothespin is taken, he's out. The last person with a turkey still attached wins the round.

    Originally published in the November 2013 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Joe Polillo

    3 Simple and Sweet Walking Games

    A pre- or post-feast constitutional does everyone good. If your crowd needs a little extra encouragement, try these ways to spice up a stroll.

    1. Found Sounds: Choose three "trigger" sounds, such as an airplane engine, a person sneezing, and a bird's chirp. Start walking single file. When the group hears a trigger sound, the last walker runs to the front of the line. Continue until everyone has had a turn in front.
    2. Poets on Parade: Take turns creating a poem-on-the-go. Start the group off with a simple line like "I really love to take a walk" and have each player in turn add their own rhymes ("Except when I forget my sock" ... "And then I step upon a rock" ... and so on).
    3. Mad Moves: Every two minutes, one walker names an action -- running, hopping, skipping, tiptoeing. Everyone does the named action for ten seconds, then returns to a walk until the next player's turn. To add a challenge, increase the length of the action by ten seconds each round.

    Originally published in the November 2013 issue of FamilyFun

  • Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Mayflower Centerpiece
    Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Mayflower Centerpiece
  • Photograph by Joe Polillo

    A Quick Craft That'll Last

    These handprint place cards take just a few minutes to make but will grace your holiday table for years. Pour brown and red washable paint onto paper plates. Brush palms and fingers with brown paint, then make prints on sheets of card stock. Add red thumbprints for the turkey's snood. Trim the card stock into a square. With a marker, write names and draw turkey legs. For a frame, glue on twigs, then let it dry.

    Originally published in the November 2013 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Joe Polillo

    Turkey Egg-tivities

    Dig last spring's plastic eggs out of the closet to use for Thanksgiving entertainment.

    Gobbler-Egg Hunt
    Stash fun stuff -- sweets, trinkets, paper slips bearing jokes or funny observations about Grandpa's ears -- inside plastic eggs. While a grown-up hides the turkey eggs around the house, have each child decorate a gift bag with colorful tape and stamps and ink. Let the hunt begin. The kid who gathers the most gobbler bounty gets the first slice of pie.

    Originally published in the November 2013 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Joe Polillo

    Turkey Egg-tivities

    Dig last spring's plastic eggs out of the closet to use for Thanksgiving entertainment.

    Roller Birdy
    Have each player make a turkey as shown at left, using glue dots to stick on a pom-pom head, googly eyes, felt nose and snood, and feathers to a plastic-egg half. Set each turkey over a large marble. On a smooth floor, see who can roll her bird the farthest, or set up a croquet-style course using chairs as wickets.

    Originally published in the November 2013 issue of FamilyFun

  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    Wreath of Plenty

    Each note of gratitude pinned to this leafy wreath only improves its lush look. Set out blank leaves, pens, and straight pins and ask guests to add what they're thankful for.

    To make the wreath:
    Wrap a 12-inch Styrofoam wreath form with strips of fabric, securing them with ball-head straight pins. Cut leaf shapes from card stock. Crease each leaf in half to add dimension. To hang, pin a loop of string to the back of the wreath. Tip: Use light-colored gel pens to write on darker paper.

  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    Drumstick Hunt

    Paper turkey legs play hide-and-seek with Thanksgiving guests in this twist on an Easter tradition.

    To make the drumsticks:
    Trim the top of a brown paper lunch bag so that it?s about 7 inches tall. Smooth the bag around your fist to shape it, then stuff it with newspaper or scrap paper. For the bone, unfold two white napkins and crumple one of them into a ball. Drape the second napkin over the ball and twist it to form the narrow part of the bone. Insert this end into the paper bag, and secure it with tape.

  • Marshmallow Pilgrim Hat Treats
    Marshmallow Pilgrim Hat Treats
  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    To play the game:

    Make one fewer drumstick than you have players (the hider doesn't need one). Someone hides the drumsticks around the room while the other players keep their eyes shut. The players then race to find the drumsticks. As soon as a player has one, she stops looking and waits for the others to find theirs. The first person to find a drumstick gets to hide them in the next round.

  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    Well-Dressed Turkey

    This bird's fancy feathers are made from scraps of fabric and floral wire. Attach the plumage to a bread basket to create a functional centerpiece.

    You will need:
    22-gauge floral stem wire (cut into 8 18-inch lengths)
    Tacky glue
    Disposable plate
    Cotton swab (optional)
    Fabric in coordinating prints
    Googly eyes
    Felt scraps

  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    How to Make a Feather

    1. For each feather, shape a wire stem as shown, then twist the ends together.
    2. For the head and body, pinch a wire loop into a two-lobed shape.
    3. Pour a shallow puddle of glue onto the plate.
    4. Holding onto its twisted end, dip the wire loop into the glue. Remove it and use a cotton swab or a finger to cover any parts of the wire not covered with glue.
    5. Gently press the loop onto a piece of fabric so that every bit of the loop touches. Let the glue dry completely.
    6. Cut out the shape, trimming as close to the wire as possible.
    7. Stack the feathers, then wrap a wire stem around the gathered ends. Poke the ends of that wire through the side of the basket and twist them together to secure.
    8. Glue googly eyes and a felt beak and snood to the head. Loop a wire stem around the twisted ends. Insert the ends of that wire through the basket and secure them as you did with the bundle of feathers.

  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    Popcorn Pacing

    Burn off a few calories with a goofy outdoor relay race that has the ecofriendly side effect of providing food for birds and squirrels.

    Divide your group into teams and give each team a large bag of plain popcorn and two shoe cups. The first runner on each team slips the cups over his shoes and fills them with popcorn. At "Go," the players make their way across the lawn, empty their popcorn into a box, and race back to the start. The next teammate in line slips on the cups and follows suit. The relay continues until one of the bags is empty. The amount of popcorn in the boxes is measured, either with a ruler to find the depth or by scooping out the popcorn and counting the number of cups filled. The team with the most popcorn is the winner.

  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    How to Make the Shoe Cups

    You'll need a pair of these for each team. Use a small nail or pushpin to poke a small hole in the bottom of a plastic cup. (Choose plastic cups that aren't brittle; we used Solo brand 9-ounce cups.) Push a wide rubber band through the hole. Thread a paper clip onto the band inside the cup as shown and gently pull on the other end of the band.

  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    Hats Off for Crayons

    Fill these pilgrim hats with crayons, cover the kids' table with paper, and let your young guests draw all over the "tablecloth."

  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    How to Make a Hat

    For each hat, trim the bottom from a black paper cup. Cut a circle of black card stock that's about an inch wider than the top of the cup. Run a line of glue around the cup's rim and press it onto the circle. Use our template to cut the hatband and buckle from card stock. Weave the band through the buckle, wrap it around the cup, and glue the overlapping ends of the band together. When the glue is dry, place crayons into the hat.

  • Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Pilgrim Hat
    Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Pilgrim Hat
  • Photograph by Doug Merriam

    Pick a Pepper

    Make a flock of wee turkeys, and kids will flock to them and their sweet-pepper tail feathers.

    Use our template to cut each turkey's head, beak, snood, and feet out of card stock. With marker, add pupils to paper eyes made by a hole punch. Assemble the turkey, then glue it to the side of a stemmed plastic cup. Put a few dollops of vegetable dip in the cup and add slices of bell peppers.

    Originally published in the November 2012 issue of FamilyFun