Are you looking for a new family tradition this Thanksgiving? Aside from all the delicious food and pies Thanksgiving is also about spending time as a family and practicing gratitude.
Join us as we share some of our favorite family activities and games that emphasize gratitude and give thanks this season.
12 Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities and Games
1. Passing Thanks
This idea can be incorporated into your family meal and is a free and fun way to express gratitude this Thanksgiving. Circle around the group or table expressing something you are thankful for - the catch is the person to your right has to suggest the topic or theme. For example, the player to my right could give me the Thanksgiving prompt "Weather" and I could answer “I’m grateful for the sun as it gives me warmth and light”. It’s then my turn to pass the thanks to the next player and suggest a new topic for them,. I could say “Experience” for example.
2. Gratitude Basket
Give everyone a piece of paper and a pencil, ask each player to write down one thing they are grateful for, fold each piece of paper in half and put them together in the basket. Mix all the entries up and take it in turns to read a response - can you guess who wrote it?
Idea! As well as writing notes of gratitude you could also use this method to share hopes and aspirations for the following year.
3. 30 Days of Thanks
This idea is particularly helpful for children to practice daily gratitude and celebrate Thanksgiving. Write a list of prompts or questions to be filled in every day ; have your children record their answer and keep the cards as a visual reminder of all there is to be grateful for in life. This idea can be revisited year after year.
4. Thanksgiving Show and Tell
This one works great with large groups. Ask everyone to bring along something that reflects what they are most thankful for this year. It could be an object, a piece of clothing, a piece of music, ticket stub - anything that helps to demonstrate what they are thankful for. Go around the group and have each player share why the object means something to them and why. You could vote for the most unusual object, most inspiring story and more, if you wish.
5. Thanksgiving Chain
Most long car journeys in my childhood would usually involve a game of shopping list word chain. Have you ever played? Someone starts by saying “I went to the supermarket and purchased a …” and names an object. The next player must repeat the phrase and list a new item. The catch is you also have to repeat all the previous items mentioned. How long a chain can you remember?
This idea can be easily incorporated into your Thanksgiving celebrations. Go around the table and start with “This year I am most thankful for …” then name something you are thankful for. Play continues around the table with each player adding in a new suggestion. When a player makes a mistake, or fails to remember the list, they are eliminated. Last player standing wins.
6. Thanksgiving Gratitude Dice Game
This is a fun way for children to engage and think about what they are grateful for. All you need is two standard six sided dice. Setup is easy - make a list of topics or questions and write them alongside each outcome that could be rolled. Take it in turns to roll the dice and complete the questions, you can re-roll each dice twice. First to complete all questions wins!
7. Thanksgiving Scrapbook
Start a Thanksgiving scrapbook - write personal notes, collect and dry leaves, write notes of activities you’ve done as a family, recipes you have tried or what you have been most thankful for. Take photos of your family, the food and more. Include them all in your scrapbook so when you look back you’ll be reminded of all the special memories you shared together.
8. Gratitude Card Game
Write a list of one word topics on pieces of paper and mix them in a bowl. Try to use words that are open ended, spark conversation, creativity and start meaningful discussions.
These cards can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. You could use them as dinner discussion cards and place them on the table for use during your meal. Pull out a card, or two, and discuss what the word means to you and what you are grateful for. For a more competitive game take it in turns to read a card aloud to the group, go round in a circle and share the first thing you think of, and are grateful for, that fits the prompt. Vote for the best answer.
9. Thanksgiving Photo Challenge
Encourage your family to be creative and complete a Thanksgiving photo challenge, you could even have prizes for the most creative photography, best in show and more. Start by writing a list of prompts and topics to take photos of ; try to use words that are open ended to encourage creativity.
10. Thanksgiving Drawing Competition
Grab some blank paper and the coloring pens, distribute them around and invite everyone to draw a picture of the things they are most grateful for. Put the pictures in your Thanksgiving scrapbook or stick them on the fridge to be reminded of all the things to be grateful for in life.
11. Thanksgiving Gratitude Pumpkin
This is a wonderful way to celebrate gratitude all November. Every night write a few things you are thankful for on a pumpkin - continue until the whole pumpkin is filled and covered with words and messages of thanks. Position it in the middle of your Thanksgiving table for everyone to enjoy during your family meal.
12. Design Thanksgiving Placements
Set the kids up for a creative afternoon and have them design personal Thanksgiving placements for everyone. Invite them to write what they are thankful for about each guest and draw a picture about how they feel about them.
I hope you've found a new Thanksgiving tradition to try with your family this year. I'd love to hear about how you celebrate Thanksgiving as a family - please drop me a message in the comments!