I don’t think anybody saw this coming that we would still be living a quarantine kind of life during the holidays. It certainly has me feeling very nostalgic thinking about how I used to spend the holidays as a kid with all my extended family around. We would all cram into my grandma’s house and spread out all over the different rooms to enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner: the kids at a makeshift table and the adults at the main table. After the leftovers were put away and the plates were cleaned, we’d all get together for Thanksgiving games.
By Maria Healey, MariaHealey.com
Get-togethers and celebrations might look a little different this year but if you’re looking for some fun games to play on Thanksgiving, I have a few great suggestions, regardless of whether it’s for adults, kids or family members of all ages.
What are some fun games to play on Thanksgiving?
When all the kids get together for a family holiday, there’s bound to be lots of laughter and excitement. It’s nice to be able to get the kids out of the house before everyone’s ready for dinner, so grab the bats and balls and head outside! Some great Thanksgiving games for kids to play outside if a little athletic equipment is available and there is plenty of space in the backyard are:
- Kickball – you’ll need bases and a large, soft ball to play this group game. No bases? No problem – just use any household item or toy to mark where the bases are located
- Soccer – set up two nets at different ends of the yard and use a soccer ball or other similar ball to score on the opposing team. No nets in sight? Just place two household items as markers 6 feet apart to show the score zone
- Baseball – the all-American sport is perfect for Thanksgiving fun outside and kids of all ages can play along if there’s a t-ball or wiffleball set available
- Football – just the right game to start a Thanksgiving morning with family and friends
Board Games & Card Games
Stuck inside because the weather’s miserable? Find some space on the floor and gather the kids for some indoor fun Thanksgiving games. Some of my son’s favorite games are classics that have been around since I was a kid:
- Hungry Hungry Hippos – young kids will love the loud action as they race to eat more marbles than anyone else
- Candyland – another great game for young kids to play since it only requires moving a player’s piece to the color on the board of the card selected
- Twister – this energizing game will have everyone laughing as they twist themselves up into a pretzel. The more players, the more laughter as everyone will start to share spaces
- Go Fish – simple game kids can learn to play quickly with just a deck of playing cards
What are some good Thanksgiving games for adults?
The holidays aren’t just for the kids to enjoy! Some fun Thanksgiving games for adults to play are great for when the younger ones are busy playing their own Thanksgiving games and some can be played with a simple deck of playing cards and dividing family members up into teams or single-player competition:
- Apples to Apples – which card in your hand describes the card laid by the judge the best? Is it “tasty” when referring to “turkey” or is it “cold”? Only the judge will tell!
- Exploding Kittens – if Uno and Russian Roulette had a baby, this would be it. The player who finds the Exploding Kitten card gets eliminated or starts a hilarious string of other events to stay in the game
- Cards Against Humanity – consider this a version of Mad Libs gone wrong. Use the cards in your hand to complete a ridiculous phrase where the best card laid is determined by a wicked sense of humor
- Spades – this card game is best played as teams of two in which players must commit to take a certain number of tricks before play begins in order to win the game
- Canasta – a common way to play this game is with four players in teams of two and two decks of cards. The first team to reach 5000 points wins while building “canasta” with seven cards or more
If you’re looking for a tried and true classic or something new and hilarious, pull out or pick up a copy of any of these games for multi-player action and a little friendly competitive spirit:
- Scattergories – 2-6 players can partake in this creative game of quick thinking. Players have a limited amount of time to fill the categories of their scratch pad with answers beginning with the set letter.
- Trivial Pursuit – 2-6 teams or individuals can compete to provide the correct trivia question answers as they make their way around the game board
- Cranium – 2-16 players get to show off their unique talents in this hilariously funny party game that takes about an hour to play and gets the entire family involved with trivia, charades, clay, and humming
- Listicles – players get 90 seconds to come up with a list of answers to a category such as “Thanksgiving Foods” and bonus points are awarded for using the bonus letter of the round
- Blank Slate – can you predict what other players are thinking? Rather than being rewarded for creative and original answers, the name of this game is to create matching answers with other players
What are some good Thanksgiving family games?
I come from a really loud family of jokesters, so playing homemade games or party games is always a hit! Here are a few games sure to keep guests laughing and competing all night long:
- Family Feud – work together as a team to submit answers to a category. Pick up a copy at the store or make it Thanksgiving themed with a little research ahead of time and a whiteboard to reveal answers
- Thanksgiving Word Scramble – scramble up the letters of traditional Thanksgiving items players might find around the house and have them unscramble the letters to reveal the correct word
- Photo Scavenger Hunt – send players around the house to photograph the list of Thanksgiving items provided, but they’ll be timed so they better work fast
- Mad Libs – use only Thanksgiving themed words to fill in the blanks for hilariously funny phrases
- Candy Corn Count – how many pieces of candy corn are on display in a certain bowl or glass container? Guests write down their answer on a slip of paper with their name and fold it up to reveal a winner later
A few Thanksgiving family games can even be combined to create one bigger game where teams first must complete a Thanksgiving Word Scramble, then go on a Photo Scavenger Hunt to snap a picture of the unscrambled words and then end it with a fill in the blank game, Mad Libs style, to use the words from the previous two games. The first team to complete all three tasks correctly wins!
These timeless Thanksgiving family games and newer games that are instant fun and family-friendly, are guaranteed to get everyone involved and laughing:
- Pictionary – is it a tree or a cat? Your guess is as good as any in this quick-draw game where artistic talent isn’t required and can often create more laughter the less talented players are
- Monopoly – fair warning: Monopoly can go on for hours! Players roll dice to make their way around the board buying up property or charging others to stop on their spaces
- Jenga – who will make the tower topple? This wood block stacking game is a party favorite and requires little skill or knowledge, just a little patience and planning to keep the tower from falling
- Heads Up – guess the word or phrase you’re wearing on your head by paying attention to the other players’ clues
Once again, a simple deck of playing cards or a themed card game make for fun Thanksgiving family games:
- Spoons – 3-13 players pass cards around a circle to get four of a kind in their hand and quietly remove a spoon from the pile in the middle of the table. The last one to snag a spoon loses
- Spot It – a modern memory or match game, players race to find a match in their hand from the card laid down in the discard pile. The first player to lay all their cards wins
- Uno – the name of this game is to hold one (uno) card in your hand and announce it before going out by playing cards that match based on color or number in the discard pile or using specialty cards to beat your opponents
- Crazy Eights – 2-7 players can compete to be the first to discard all the cards in their hand, using a standard set of playing cards, by matching number or suit
This Thanksgiving might look a little different with fewer guests around the dinner table, but these Thanksgiving games are sure to keep a smile on everyone’s faces long after the pumpkin pie has run out. What are your favorite games to play on Thanksgiving with loved ones? Please share in the comments!
Maria Healey is a SoCal mom of one. She is a collector of life experiences. She is a regular contributor to the Today Parenting Team contributing stories on topics from how to take better party photos to what you wish you knew emotionally in your child’s milestones. Her favorite pastimes shared on http://www.mariahealey.com include reading, writing, cooking, and getting outside as much as possible.