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

Inside: Be it a big or a small party at home,  these fun activities for Thanksgiving will bring joy to the family and teach your kids how to be appreciative of their blessings and to the people who are helping them every day.

Thanksgiving is always a big celebration in our extended family. It is a well-attended event before another bustling party during the Christmas season. 

Cousins, young and old, are all agog to join the parlor games and get awesome prizes. Parents are busy days before, doing grocery shopping, and a few hours prior to the party, they scurry in the kitchen to prepare their dish just in time before everyone gathers at the table to devour the meal.

Until two years ago….

The COVID-19 pandemic stopped everyone to host and attend big gatherings and just stay put at home.

Luckily this year, everyone is excited once again to gather for this festive occasion.

On Thanksgiving day, and every day we need to teach our kids and remind them to be grateful, day in and day out.


These 7 scientifically-proven benefits of gratitude will improve our life in general. If we pass on these lessons to our children, they will grow as positive, healthy members of the community.

Your little ones ( even you and older members of the family ) including your special child, will surely enjoy the following fun and easy activities. Simplicity is the key, happiness is the goal, and learning to be appreciative is the biggest reward.

1. Write thank you letters

Inspire your child to scribble letters of appreciation to people who have done nice deeds for him.

It could be for a caring mom who prepares his lunchbox daily with his favorite food, for his teacher who is so good at explaining lessons that are easy to understand, or to his best friend at school who makes him laugh with his corny jokes.

This will teach him to value uplifting attitudes and make him understand the importance of acknowledging positive values that he can emulate.

If your special child is unable to write or compose a letter, ask him what he wants to write about and to whom. You can make the letter and read it to him aloud after.

Listening to his letter will delight and amuse him. His heart will swell with pride knowing that he has something to give to that special person who has been so kind to him.

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 presents that letter.

You can even mail it in the post. Or scan and email it 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 grateful for. 

You can tell them to jot these down 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 grumbling individuals.

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 with you. Likewise, this is also a great time 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, grab a blanket and snuggle with your kids as you watch a movie together. Choose from any kids’ movies on Netflix or you can buy DVD movies like these.

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 Pilgrim’s journey to the new world, and their adventures.

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


Related post: 7 Fun Thanksgiving Party Games

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 have a lot to be thankful for.

Writing down daily or weekly the good things that have 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 good habit, even at a young age. They will 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. Again, if your special child is unable to write or still very young, 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 Every Day ( 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. Just sitting together or lying next to each other will bring comfort to both of you. Teaching him about spelling, letters, colors, numbers are added bonuses.

Make this reading session special by picking 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.


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 on the internet.

Or you can buy some coloring books like these. Click the images to see the price.

Fun Activities for Thanksgiving, Unicorn Coloring Book


Grab more kids’ Thanksgiving coloring books here.

8. Do art activities

These fun projects will enhance your kids’ creativity and their gross and fine motor skills. Aside from the excitement, your family develops powerful connections and effective teamwork among everyone.

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 about how your kids’ hands are growing up.

Fun Activities for Thanksgiving

  • Learn the procedures at funlittles.com


Glove turkeys

  • Your special child can help with painting the color in the gloves and he will be proud of this!

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 educate your kids on 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 as 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 justthesevenofus.com


  • 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!


Despite the ongoing pandemic, we are happy that again Thanksgiving parties can be held with all the extended family.

There will be exciting parlor games for kids and grown-ups, alike.

As early as now, with your little kids including your special one, plan on doing the above activities to add fun and joy to the family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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




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20 thoughts on “8 Fun and Easy Activities for Thanksgiving ( To Instill Gratitude in your Kids )”

  1. There are some lovely ideas here and some that we perhaps have forgotten about since the pandemic began. it’s definitely important to instill gratitude in children. 

    One of my jobs is working with children and I love all of these ideas that can be used anytime of day or year and especially during Christmas time. Getting family together is a wonderful thing and who doesn’t love a board game !

    Watching films and reading are also great activities that everyone can enjoy.

    Thanks for sharing some lovely ideas.

    • Hi Lousie,

      Yes, these activities can be used at any family gathering, but this coming Thanksgiving, with the theme of gratitude, our kids including our special needs children can learn this virtue from us, parents and grandparents when we purposely choose games or stuff that we can do together with thankfulness as the theme.

      Thanks for reading.


  2. Hello there Marita,
    Great job you did here on things to do during thanksgiving, I have read numerous blogs & articles but I haven’t heard about this, very ingenious.

    Personally, I love the idea of playing board games with my family. Always great fun memories and bring you all closer.

    Thank you for sharing this, I am off to share this with people right away.

  3. Hello, thank you so much for this article. 

    It was on point. Reading it opened my mind more and created a sense of understanding.

    I totally agree with the importance of gratitude, especially in children which cannot be overemphasized. 

    It is really necessary that young ones have virtues of gratitude and appreciation in them. 

    This is a very nice and fun read. 

    • Thank you for your nice words. 

      Indeed, teaching kids to be grateful will come a long way in making them individuals who care about people and things around them.


  4. Hello there, 

    Thanks a lot for sharing this beautiful piece of information. I learned a lot of exercises that I can share with family and friends.

    These 8 activities are really fun and I think my particular favorite is writing thank you letters and playing board games.

    Children when taught these values early on will grow up to be mindful of other people helping them and saying thank you in return.


    • Hi Sophie,

      I perfectly agree and find real value in teaching children how to be appreciative so they grow up to be thoughtful and counting their blessings.

      Have a good day.


  5. Growing up, we always enjoyed playing board games with my family. That has been our all-time favorite activity. But sadly, it’s different now. My kids play online with friends and sometimes it’s hard to get them to play with me.

    But I love your article. It’s actually not just during Thanksgiving Day that we need to do this. Everyday is special and we need to be always thankful for everything.


    • Hi Odette,

      We are on the same boat and I think a lot of parents are, with pre-teens or teens. For small kids though, board games with their parents would still be possible and fun for them.

      And yes, like I said in this post, everyday is a Thanksgiving day. We are just being reminded during this day of how important gratitude is for us to live a happy life.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.



  8. 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.


  9. 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.



  10. 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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