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How to Keep Kids Busy During Thanksgiving Prep

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday to celebrate besides Christmas, but the kids aren't always excited about it because there is no candy, presents or costumes (except for my husband dressed as a turkey).

I love everything that comes with the November holiday—decorating, having family over, baking and cooking.

But although I’m in my element in the kitchen, the kids are bored and anxious to eat. I mean I guess with all the delicious smells coming from the kitchen who wouldn't be, right? My oldest told me a couple years ago that there is only so much Lego-building he can do before he and his brothers starve. I made him go look up the word starve in the dictionary and rethink what he said. He came back after a couple of minutes and suggested we do some Thanksgiving-themed activities. So, we came up with a list.

When we started the activity list we included activities that would entertain and keep them busy. But Thanksgiving is also about being thankful, so we also wanted to include opportunities for the kids to practice being thankful.

Every year since then, while we wait for our Thanksgiving dinner to cook, we sit down as a family and do crafts and talk about the real meaning of Thanksgiving.

Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving activities:

The Gratitude Game – Each family member names a person, place, food, or thing they are thankful for.

Gratitude Conversation starters – Fill a jar with pieces of paper or popsicle sticks that have conversation starters written on them like. This could include prompts like, “Say something you are grateful for about the person to your right.”

Thanksgiving Trivia – I made cards last year for this game. I cut card stock into squares and wrote the questions on front and answers on back and laminated them. The cards included questions like, “How many feathers does a turkey have?” and “How fast can a wild turkey run?”

Thanksgiving Bingo – Create a bingo board on your computer and add pictures of a turkey, pilgrim, pumpkin pie, football, etc. Have your children mark off each item as they see them throughout the day.

Thanksgiving word searches – You can print some from an online source or create your own.

Turkey Shooting Game – This is my boy's favorite one. All you need are Nerf guns, orange balloons (preferably with helium), string, and a permanent marker. Draw turkeys on the balloons, tie them to strings, spread them out thru the living room or hallway and have the kids shoot at them. Whoever shoots the most wins.

Turkey Pokey – Sing and dance to the “Hokey Pokey” tune. You can find the lyrics online. We usually do this song after we have eaten our Thanksgiving Dinner. It helps us burn off some of those holiday calories.

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About the Author

Gabriela Fuller

Gabriela Fuller

Gabriela is wife to husband, Aaron, and mom to four boys! She is a full-time mom, works as a substitute teacher, and owns her own cleaning business. She runs the Facebook group, I Only Make Boys, where she enjoys chronicling her boys' crazy adventures and sharing wisdom with other boymoms. 



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