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Make Your Thanksgiving Fun and Active

Keep your holiday hopping with these active games and activities for kids.


Updated November 15, 2012

Whip up some Thanksgiving fun for the whole family by going beyond TV football and cornucopia crafts. While you're waiting for your turkey to come out of the oven, or in the lull between the bread stuffing and the pumpkin pie, burn some calories with these kid-friendly physical activities that are easily adaptable for toddlers, teens, and seniors too.

1. Run a turkey trot.

Woman running outside with dog
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Sign up for a local turkey trot fun run—most have kids' divisions so you can make it a family affair. Active.com has a good search engine to help you find a race near you.

2. Play flag football.

Boy running outside with football
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This backyard game is a Turkey day classic. Or, try football team tag: To avoid getting tagged out, call out the name of an NFL team before "it" touches you (college teams would work too).

3. Take a walk or hike.

Girls in the woods, piggyback
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Stroll the neighborhood or explore a local park or trail—this activity promotes companionship and family bonding as well as fitness. Try walking games to keep antsy kids on track.

4. Sample the local flavor.

If you've traveled away from home for the holiday weekend, check out favorite local activities while you're in town: Ice skating? Bowling? Golf? If you're at home, take advantage of time off work and school and fit in some fun fall fitness.

5. Adapt classic games for Thanksgiving fun.

Turn "duck duck goose" into "chicken chicken turkey" or try "Tom Turkey Says" instead of "Simon Says."

6. Play a party game.

If you have a group of kids doing laps around the house or yard, channel their energy into an indoor or outdoor party game.

7. Find the turkeys.

Thanksgiving fun find the turkey game
Catherine Holecko
Hide turkeys—made of paper, or small stuffed toys—in the house or yard and turn kids loose to find them all.

8. Run a popcorn relay race.

What's fun about this Thanksgiving game is seeing the whole family join in—young and old. Fill two large bowls with popcorn and set them at one side of a room or lawn. Place empty bowls at the opposite end of the play area. Split family members into two teams and have them carry the corn from one bowl to the other using measuring cups. First empty bowl wins!

9. Play road trip games.

If your Thanksgiving plans have you hitting the road, plan some pit stops for physical fitness (and sanity-saving).

10. Push a pumpkin.

Give each child a smallish pumpkin and a stick to push it with—then have them race to get the pumpkin across a finish line. It's not as easy as it sounds!
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