Whether you are looking for some Thanksgiving games for kids in the classroom or at your family get together, we have you covered. Kids love playing these games. In fact, you may find that they don’t want to quit. This is a good problem to have.
Thanksgiving games can be a great way to mix a lesson plan with entertainment. Not only will the be having fun, but they will learn about this traditional holiday.
You will find these games to be appropriate for preschoolers and elementary students. You may find some of the word hunts or the “thankerchief” game appropriate for middle schoolers as well.
We hope you enjoy the following games and activities.
15 Thanksgiving Games for Kids
1. Turkey Calling Contest
Host a turkey calling contest, complete with lots of squawking, flapping, wattle shaking, and pecking.
Give participants a prize with fun distinctions:
“Loudest turkey”, “Most authentic”, “Most likely to be spared”, “Cutest turkey”, etc. This activity can also be turned into a relay race with the group split into two teams. Loud, but fun! (Ages 4-Adult)
2. Thanksgiving Word Find
Take a Thanksgiving-related word such as Thanksgiving, Mayflower, Cornucopia, etc. and find as many little words as possible within before the timer runs out.
Example: Cornucopia Words: corn, pin, no, arc, car, nip, cop, cup, on, or, rap…
Example: Mayflower Words: May, flower, flow, flare, lay, low, fear, ear, owe, fly, rye, wear, row…
3. Turkey Leftovers
- All children stand in pairs holding hands and facing each other.
- A third child-called the ‘turkey’ stands between each pair. The turkey is in the ‘barnyard (between the two facing children).
- One child is NOT with a pair and in the ‘barnyard’. This ‘free’ turkey is roaming.
- At a signal,(such as Gobble, Gobble, Gobble) all turkeys leave their barnyard and run for safety to another barnyard. One turkey will be leftover and not be able to find a barnyard to enter.
- Depending on the number of players-continue until all (or many) have had time to be a left-over turkey!
4. Where is Mr. Turkey?
- Instead of saying “warmer or cooler” you gobble!
- One player is the hunter and the others are helpers.
- The hunter leaves the room.
- The helpers hide a small toy turkey or a turkey cut-out, or laminated drawing, etc.
- The hunter returns with a mission to find the turkey. Helpers give clues by “gobbling” like turkeys.
- If the hunter is not close, the helpers gobble very quietly. As the hunter gets closer, the helpers gobble more and more loudly until Mr. Turkey is found!
With a larger program, this could be a ‘choice’ game or play with different groups at different times. (While the program is going on with choices of activities, kids could sign-up on pre-made sheets for their game time and group!)
Also good at the last half hour of a Center program when the numbers of children are lower and everything is cleaned up
5. Turkey Walk (good for Pre-K to 2nd Grade)
Play the toddler music of your choice and encourage the children to move like…
- BIG turkeys
- Little turkeys
- Tired turkeys
- Happy turkeys
- Scared turkeys
Make it more interesting by choosing music based on the movement you’d like to elicit.
6. Turkey Hunt
Hunt quietly; you don’t want to scare the turkeys…
On a dozen or more index cards, draw or paste a picture of a turkey. The amount of cards you will have depends on the number of children you have–and how many groups they will be divided into. Each group should consist of about 12 hunters (children) and 12 cards.
- To play, everyone leaves the room except the leader.
- The leader hides the cards around the room.
- Hunters return and begin the hunt.
- As each turkey is found, it is brought back to the leader who corrals them in a separate pile for each hunter.
- When all the turkeys have been found, the hunter with the most turkeys is the winner and becomes the leader for the next round.
- This can be done in groups and groups work together!
- Each group would have a leader.
- Hide the turkey cards and then all hunters find cards that have been hidden.
- The top finder in each Team-becomes the new leader for that Team.
Let children make the cards before the Holiday. They’ll find lots of magazine pictures and can color some as well!
7. Cornucopia Game
- Players sit on chairs forming a circle. There should be one more player than there are chairs. The player without a chair is the leader.
- The leader points to each of the other players to give them a name, such as “Cranberry, Corn, Apple, Turkey,” anything related to Thanksgiving.
- After names are chosen, the leader calls out two names,
“Turkey and potato.”
- Those two players must quickly switch places. The leader keeps calling at a quick pace until suddenly she says “The cornucopia has tipped over!”
- Everyone, including the leader, then scrambles for a new place.
- The player without a seat is the new leader.
More Info: The leader may give the same name to more than one person.
This game can be confusing at first, but it is fun!
8. Turkey Trot Game
- A Turkey Mascot
You can make a mascot by taping a colored-paper turkey head to one end of a football. You can also simply stuff a brown bag with crumpled newspaper and draw on a face with colored markers.
- In this wacky outdoor contest, team players join up with their elbows linked, and each team is handed a turkey mascot.
- On cue, the pairs try to make their way to the finish line at the far end of the playing field.
9. Pass the Corn Game (Thanksgiving Game for Ages 4 – 10)
- You will need a cob of dried Indian corn for each team.
- Divide the children into two teams (or as many as you need) and have them form two lines.
- At the signal “go”, the corncob is to be passed from child to child. The catch is that they can use any part of their bodies, except their hands.
- If the corn touches the ground at any time, it must go back to the beginning of the line again.
- Whichever team manages to get the corn to the end of the line first wins the game.
- The corn can also be used in a relay, with the kids putting the corn between their knees, and racing “crab” style”.
10. Turkey Strut (Preschool Thanksgiving Game)
- Use pieces of masking tape to make turkey footprints all over the floor.
- Start playing music.
- Have children pretend to be turkeys and strut around the room.
- When you stop the music, have the turkeys find footprints to stand on (one turkey to a footprint).
- When you start the music again, have the turkeys continue strutting around the room.
11. Thanksgiving Dinner Game
This game makes for a fun transition activity.
- Players sit in a circle (or stand in a line because of waiting…)
- The first player starts by saying, “At Thanksgiving dinner, I like to eat turkey”.
- The next player must repeat “At Thanksgiving dinner, I like to eat turkey…” and add another dish.
- This continues all the way around the circle or down the line– with each student reciting the dishes in the exact order they have been given and then adding a new one.
- If a student makes a mistake they slide out of the circle or move to the front of the line and the game continues.
- The person left who can perfectly recite the Thanksgiving menu wins.
Instead of saying… At Thanksgiving dinner, I like…you could say:
First player: I’m going to Thanksgiving dinner and I’m having turkey.
Second player: I’m going to Thanksgiving dinner and having turkey and sweet potatoes. etc.
12. Twenty Questions Thanksgiving Style
- Choose someone or something related to Thanksgiving.
- One player says “I am thinking of a person, place or thing”
- The other players try to guess what it is by asking no more than twenty questions which can be answered “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know.”
Suggestion: Make a flip chart with numbers from 1 to 20–so each time a question is asked –the number is flipped. This can also be played with other holidays/themes/seasons!
You could also keep score by making 20 paper turkey feathers. Each time a question is asked, a feather is removed from the pile.
Turn every day games into Thanksgiving Games!
- INSTEAD of Duck, Duck, Goose…play DUCK, DUCK, TURKEY!
- Play “PIN the WATTLE on the Turkey” instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
- Instead of Simon says-play the TURKEY SAYS…
- Use Candy Corn to play Bingo
- Arrange the children/players in a circle.
- Pass a “thankerchief” (handkerchief) around.
- As it passes everyone recites this poem:
Thankerchief, thankerchief, around you go —
Where you’ll stop, nobody knows.
But when you do, someone must say,
What they are thankful for this day.
- The player holding the “thankerchief” when the poem ends, must say aloud, one thing for which they are thankful.
- This continues until everyone has had a turn.
14. Thanksgiving Joke and Punch Line
This thanksgiving activity is great for connecting and as an ice-breaker!
- Write a Thanksgiving joke on one card and a punch line on another. Be sure to mix the cards up. The number of different jokes depends on the size of the group.
- Give each person a card. Explain that they may have a joke or a punch line on the card.
- On a given signal, they are to walk around the group trying to find the other part of their joke/punch line.
- When they find their other half, you may ask them to get to know their new partner by asking things like what’s your favorite holiday or Thanksgiving Dessert, etc…
- When this is done, everyone can return to a circle and, with their partner, tell their joke.
If you haven’t checked out the FALL/AUTUMN GAMES-do so now. There are more than 40 games using pumpkins, gourds and leaves that would be great for Thanksgiving! An example is:
15. Pie Eater Tag Game!
This tag game is good for October to December because of apple and pumpkin pies!
- Split the students into two different groups; one is apple pie and the other group is pumpkin pie.
- Have one student be the pie eater, who will be standing on the centerline. The pie eater can only move from side to side on the centerline.
- All the students say to the pie eater, “Pie eater, pie eater are you hungry?” The pie eater responds with a ‘yes or no’ answer.
- If the answer is no, the pies (students) ask again.
- If the answer is yes, then the pies ask again, “What kind of pie would you like?”
- The pie eater then says apple or pumpkin and that pie tries to make it to the other side.
- If the pie is tagged, then they become a pie eater.
There you have it, 15 fun Thanksgiving games for kids. Did the kids find the games entertaining? Which one was their favorite? Another fun Thanksgiving game is Thanksgiving charades.
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