Fun Activities for Thanksgiving ( To Instill Gratitude in your Kids )

We are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. We call it the second wave, with rising of the cases because of the start of fall. This is the new normal, just accepting what has been happening and of course, being very careful every day. With Thanksgiving in the next week ( Canada )  and next month ( US  and Brazil )  and some dates in between for other places, we are all encouraged to just be with our families or be in small group gatherings at least, to keep ourselves safe. Staying home doesn’t mean doing nothing and be bored, though. Aside from getting excited preparing and eating your Thanksgiving meal as a family, let me share with you some fun activities for Thanksgiving that you can do with your family, including your special child, for your celebrations to be more meaningful.


By the way, did you know that there are 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude? Click the link to read the full post. It is really important for you to know that saying thank you consistently improves your life in general. Thus, by learning these benefits and teaching your kids to be grateful all the time, you know that they will grow as positive, healthy persons when you teach them this virtue early on, not only during Thanksgiving.

Okay, so this Thanksgiving Day, here are activities that you can do as a family, including your special child. You can start preparing for these as early as a few days, or even a week before your celebration.

1. Write thank you letters

Let your kids, including your special child, write a thank you letter to whoever he wants to show appreciation for something that this person has done for him. It could be a letter to you, his parents, to his siblings, friends, teacher, nanny, etc,

This will teach him to be appreciative of all that he has received and all that has been done to him. 

If he is still not able to write or compose a letter, but he can express himself, ask him the details of what he wants to write about and to whom. You can write the letter and read to him aloud after. For sure, he will be delighted to hear about his letter.

Grab a colorful construction paper like these to write the letter and put in an envelope like these to add excitement for your kid as he hands in that letter.

You can even mail the letter in the post. Or scan it and email to the recipient. 

When this becomes a yearly tradition, as your child grows up, it will be a really memorable activity for him.

2. Say thanksgiving prayers

Before eating your Thanksgiving meal, let your family members say a thank you prayer to God for all the blessings and answered prayers.

Make each one say their top ten list of things or people or incidents that they are thankful for. 

You can tell them to write these the day or night before, so they are not caught off guard.

This will teach your kids to be always aware of their  blessings, be counting them instead of their woes, and not become a grumbling individual.

3. Play board games as a family

Educational board games should be handy. Start looking at your collections or buy new ones. 

Playing any board game with your child will build his trust and emotional attachment with you, and of course, this is also a great time for you to teach him about spelling, reading, counting and thinking logically.

Here are five awesome choices. Click the images to check the prices.

Fun Activities for Thanksgiving, Jenga Game


Fun activities for Thanksgiving, Scrabble Junior
Fun Activities for Thanksgiving,Sequence for Kids
Fun Activities for Thanksgiving, Boggle Jr.
Fun Activities for Thanksgiving, Monopoly Junior Board Game

4. Watch a movie with a gratitude theme.

After a board game or two, your child or children might want to snuggle with you as you watch a movie together. You could choose from any kids’ movies in Netflix or you might want to buy these DVD movies, too.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (DVD) a classic, which tells the fun and hilarious get-together of Charlie Brown and his friends for a big turkey party. Kids and grown ups will love this, plus, with a bonus story of the Mayflower Voyagers, the Pilgrims journey to the new world and their adventures.

Room on the Broom a magical tale about friendship and family. The dragon wants to eat the witch? Find out how and why in this 26 minute film, based on the book of the same title.

5. Start a family gratitude journal

Thanksgiving day is the best time to start this family tradition. Especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, you and your family has a lot to be thankful for.

Writing down daily or weekly the good things that has been happening in your life and in your family is very therapeutic. Or even just occasionally, like on your birthday or during special occasions like Christmas, New Year, or Thanksgiving.

Let your kids start this habit, as well. It will make them realize that they are so blessed and they have to acknowledge that.

It could also be a prayer journal if your family is religious.

If you have started this years before, continue the tradition and let your kids write their notes themselves. However, if  your special child is unable to write or still very young, but can express himself,  let him dictate to you what he wants to write about.

Buy your family’s or your kids’ journal here. or here.

6. Read books together, especially about gratitude

Related post: The Benefits of Reading Everyday ( Make Learning a Fun Experience for your Special Child )

Reading together is very educational and enhances your child-parent bonding. Especially if your special child is non-verbal or still unable to read on his own.

Make this reading session special by reading some awesome books about Thanksgiving and being grateful.You can read together when you are ready to hit the bed at night or during a nap after lunch.

Borrow books from your nearby library or buy new ones.

Click the images to see the price.


For some monthly excitement, you can start Owl Post Books subscription here. Even if they don’t arrive on Thanksgiving, there are forthcoming holidays throughout the year, like winter holidays, spring break, summer break, or even during regular weekends or even daily at bedtime, that you can enjoy reading with your special child.

7. Color pages or books

For small kids or even adults, coloring is a fun and relaxing activity. It also stimulates their brains to be creative and artistic. If you have two or more kids, you could make this a contest as to who is the most creative, most colorful page, most tidy, etc.

Prepare coloring pages days before by searching in the internet.

Or you can buy some coloring books like these.

Fun Activities for Thanksgiving, Unicorn Coloring Book


Grab more kids’ Thanksgiving coloring books here.

8. Do art activities

These activities develop your kids’ creativity, as well their gross and fine motor skills. Aside from excitement, your family bonds as well and develops in your child helping each other as a team.

Grab those materials listed below and click the links where you can follow the procedures.

Handprint family portrait

  • This is a true family activity with everybody participating from parents to kids.
  • Every year if you repeat this activity on Thanksgiving day, you will be excited how your kids’ hands are growing up.
Fun Activities for Thanksgiving
  • Learn the procedures at


Glove turkeys

  • Even your special child can help with painting the color in the gloves

Fun Activities for Thanksgiving, Glove Turkeys

Learn the procedures here.


Paper bag turkey

  • It’s so cute and so easy to make!

Fun Activities for Thanksgiving, Paper bag turkey

Learn the procedures here.

Materials :

  • Googly eyes
  • Construction Paper
  • Feathers
  • Paper Bag
  • Tacky Glue

Thankful tree

  • This activity will really teach your kids the virtue of gratitude and appreciation for family and friends who have been there for them and helped them one way or another.
  • As well teach them to count their blessings, rather than complain of what is lacking in their lives.
Fun Activities for Thanksgiving, Thankful tree
  • Learn the procedures at


  • Construction paper
  • Markers
  • Glue

Hey, my dear parents, If you would like to let your special child be excited with Craft subscription boxes every month, click this link to subscribe from Cratejoy!


Who said that because of the pandemic, with no Thanksgiving party to attend to, your kids and your family will be bored this Thanksgiving weekend?

No way! Just be creative, plan in advance, prepare your materials, buy them if you need to, and this Thanksgiving weekend will be a blast just like in previous years.

If you have Zoom or messenger or any video call app, you can even say hi to your kids’ grandparents and their cousins anywhere in the world. You can even set up a group activity via zoom or messenger with their cousins, even his friends in school. That way, they will feel like they are still attending your Thanksgiving party together, as extended families.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What activities during Thanksgiving does your special child enjoy every year?


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10 thoughts on “Fun Activities for Thanksgiving ( To Instill Gratitude in your Kids )”

  1. What a terrific site and interesting page. 

    It is great to learn about some fun activities for Thanksgiving, but also of course for other periods, such as when families are stuck in lock down due to Covid 19.  

    It must be so hard for special needs children at such a time. 

    Btw,  I love the 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude too! 

    I was brought up being taught to write thank you letters for birthdays, Christmas and other celebrations e.g. going to a house for dinner. 

    I think it’s fantastic that your site is encouraging this traditional value. I love the games ideas too. 

    But I have one question related to the writing of letters.  How do you encourage a child who is so used to electronic media to sit down and write a real letter rather than send a Whattsapp?  I´d love to know for my grandchildren.


    • Hi Trevor,

      I believe with younger kids, they are still easy to be told to do things. In school, they are also taught to be thoughtful, such that they do crafts or cards for their parents during Mother’s/Father’s day. So a follow-up at home is really important.

      I suggest spend a specific time with them, for example 2 hours in a weekend or a certain day and tell them that you will all write thank you letters. You can give them rewards after, like a treat from the bakery.

      Constant time with your grandchildren just telling stories  or experiences or reading books with them, etc. would also build their trust in you, so when you tell them to do things, like write those thank you letters, it will not be that hard to convince them.

      Thanks for reading.


  2. Hey,

    Thank you for the beautiful article. The truth is this pandemic has taught us a lot of things, more especially to be flexible and  to adapt.Your recommended activities guarantees an awesome Thanksgiving, even under the current circumstances.

    Gratitude is such a powerful thing. Most of what you suggested should be practiced before and after thanksgiving. It  should be a lifestyle

    • I agree, gratitude needs to be practiced everyday. Thanksgiving day is just a reminder that we all need to develop this positive trait in our kids early on and for adults too, to always count their blessings.

      Definitely, we are learning lots during this pandemic.



  3. Hi Marita. 

    These activities that you suggested is a wonderful, practical way of teaching our children,  probably one of the most important concepts that can lead them through life and be a constant companion. 

    Gratitude is so important to achieve morality. Just to be part of a family is something to be grateful for. 

    I love the fact that you mention boardgames. It is definitely one of our family’s favorites. I remember building LARGE puzzles as a family, this is something we haven’t done for a long time. I think I will cooperate a puzzle with some of the ideas you have shared. 

    Thanks, Louis Munro

    • Hi Louis,

      Yes, doing boardgames with family, not only on Thanksgiving, but consistently, like on weekends or other holidays, will promote pure fun as you compete and develop critical thinking among yourselves, including your kids.

      Your brains will definitely be pushed to think and solve some puzzles, or how to win.

      Thanks for reading.


  4. I agree, being home and celebrating the holiday season doesn’t mean that you have to be bored. 

    I think we should all appreciate this new normal a little bit that we finally do not have to waste our time to the commute and can spend those time with our family. 

    Having gratitude and compassion is something that I have been practicing over this unprecedented time. This is the time to be helping each other, not fighting. 

    Board games are my favorite, especially Uno and we punish whoever lost something silly. Monopoly is also my all time favorite. 

    This totally Charlie Brown theme, I love all of them, Great pumpkin, Thanks giving and Christmas. 

    What I usually do with my special sister is to cook together with her. It is all about food and getting together after all. It can be hard when she doesn’t get it right and gets angry, but she always enjoys cooking and sneaks eating the ingredients. Lol

    We also decorate our house together and walk around the woods and pick up some acorn for decoration. I think possibilities are endless, you just have to make it fun. 

    Stay safe! 

    • Hi Nuttanee,

      Nice to know that you bond with your special sister in cooking and decorating.

      And you grew up with all those Charlie brown movies and board games.

      I’m sure your family will have fun during the Thanksgiving.



  5. Hi,

    My opinion about the topic is that the family that games together, sticks together, whether you’re trying to keep bored kids occupied while everyone’s preparing the meal or you just want a fun way to give thanks for the year with your family.

    These Thanksgiving games will keep the festivities going all night long, or until the tryptophan kicks in. 

    Thank you.


    • Hi Aluko,

      You nailed it, when everyone is enjoying those games, time is not important. Best way to spend Thanksgiving, right?




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