Sticky Notes - Thanksgiving Activities To Keep Kids Engaged
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Thanksgiving Activities To Keep Kids Engaged

November 21, 2022 by Emily Moore

Thanksgiving activities have the turKEY to kids' hearts!

When it comes to keeping kids occupied over the holidays, a little planning goes a long, LONG way. Kids love being included and they’re often more invested in an event when they’ve helped with the preparations. With that in mind, here are some ideas to direct their energy and keep them engaged!

Menu Planning

Just like adults, kids tend to have opinions about the Thanksgiving menu and they’re likely to be more invested in the day if they have a say in it. Once the menu is set, bring your child to the grocery store and have them help gather the ingredients.

Meal Prep

If your kitchen has space for it, invite your kids to help prep the meal. Children as young as two can help scrub vegetables, while preschoolers mash potatoes, and older ones cut apples for pie. See our suggestions for age-appropriate kitchen tasks for kids. You might also enlist your kids to help with a make-ahead dessert or side. Tip: cranberry sauce gets our vote for the holiday’s easiest, prettiest dish for young helpers!  

Draw-on-Me Tablecloth

Cover the table with a large sheet of butcher paper and set out a variety of colored pencils, crayons, markers, stamps, and stickers. Voilà – you’ve got an instant art canvas that’ll keep every guest feeling like a kid again!

Gratitude Jars

Before dinner, hand out strips of paper and have each guest jot down one thing they’re thankful for. Place all the strips in a jar (or bowl). During or after dinner, go around the room and have each person pull one strip from the jar to read aloud. Want more ideas for raising grateful kids? Read here and this is a wonderful 5-minute gratitude podcast.

Place cards

Give kids your guest list plus a few basic art supplies – index cards, stickers, markers, and crayons. Have them write the name of each guest on a card and decorate it. 

Table Decor

Take a walk on Thanksgiving (or the day before) and collect pretty leaves, acorns, pinecones, stones, flowers, sticks, and other bits of nature. Then let the kids put their creative skills to use decorating the dining table. To make your tablescape extra elegant, check out this napkin-folding tutorial.

Waddle Race!

Get ready to giggle! Teams compete by waddling their way from point A to point B and back again, all the while keeping an inflated balloon between their legs. Sounds easy, right? 


To play, divide the group into two teams and give each team one balloon. Establish your start line and choose a destination for each team. Set one stuffed animal at each destination point (you’ll need one stuffed toy per team).

How to Play:

The first player of each team stands behind the start line and places the inflated balloon between their legs. Ready, set, go! The two players waddle toward their destination, keeping the balloon between their legs. When each player reaches their destination, they pat the stuffed animal and then waddles back to the start line, where they hand-off the balloon to the next player who repeats the steps. The first team to have all players complete the task wins the game!


Players must keep the balloon between their legs while waddling, and they may NOT touch it with their hands. If they need to pick up the balloon, they must do it by themselves with no assistance! 


We shared our waddle race with extended family and friends on TikTok. Who knew WADDLE lot of fun a balloon could be?

Whatever you do, including your kids in the preparations will help them feel part of the excitement. And you might just end up with some new family traditions!

What to do with the kids the day AFTER Thanksgiving?

We say keep cooking up fun! Check out our Thanksgiving Leftover Challenge online class: 

It’s open to the public, one sign-up per household, and all ages are welcome!

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