10 Fun and Pandemic-Friendly Thanksgiving Activities for Families with Young Children

We all know that this Thanksgiving is going to look very different. You may be wondering what you are going to do “safely at home” with your children for so many days. 

Here are some ideas that will hopefully help get you through this time and actually create moments to reflect, create and play together! 

Many of these activities are what we do in our Teva Means Nature program.

  1. Make a handprint turkey. This is an Akiba-Schechter tradition. Paint your child’s palm brown. Then paint his/her fingers different colors. Spread the hand out wide (jazz hands) and then carefully put down on paper and count to five before lifting up. A variation without paint is to trace your child’s hand and have her/him color in feathers and make it into a turkey!

  2. Make a playdate with a friend over Zoom or Facetime and do the freeze dance. Play music, and when you pause the music everyone freezes. This can also be done with the whole family - including grandparents!
  3. Create a turkey centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. Take a walk outside and gather pine cones. Use the pine cone as your turkey base and paint it with feathers, add eyes, a waddle and feet. Instead of paint you could use glue and have your child draw and cut out feathers and glue those on to make your one of a kind turkey. (see picture above!)
  4. Create a family “Thankful Tree.” Draw or paint a tree on a large piece of paper. Draw or cut out large leaves to go on the tree. Have each family member say or write something that they are thankful for on a leaf.  
  5. Write a family story together. One person starts the story and then everyone has a chance to continue the story with another line. This can also be done over Zoom or Facetime with friends and family.  
  6. Take a walk outside and somewhere close by find a “sit spot.” Depending upon the age of your child, sit for one minute or five minutes and just observe. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you notice? What do you smell and feel? Bring a clipboard and paper with you, and after you have just sat for a few minutes, draw a picture. Pick a spot that you can revisit at different times of the day or different seasons. 

  7. Do a scavenger hunt together. Find three things that you love. Find something that is your favorite color. Find something that you received from someone special. Find something that makes you smile.  
  8. Do a building challenge. Who can make the highest structure? The longest structure? Get creative and use different items to construct your building.
  9. Make Thanksgiving cards for the whole family. You can do the handprint turkeys or children can draw their own version of Thanksgiving feasts. 
  10. Enjoy this time with your family. Turn off your phone. Unplug, make some hot chocolate, stay in your pajamas and spend some time reading your favorite books together.  


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