Fun Thanksgiving Games (That Aren't Football)

Whether you're trying to keep bored kids occupied or give thanks for the year with the whole family, these Thanksgiving games will keep the festivities going all night long… or at least until the tryptophan kicks in.

And while some of us absolutely love playing and watching football on Thanksgiving, we understand that other family members may not be quite as enthusiastic. With that in mind, we have rounded up a few fun Thanksgiving games that everyone will enjoy.

This first one is a memory game that incorporates your Thanksgiving feast and can even be played while everyone is eating. To play, the first person starts by saying “For Thanksgiving dinner I had turkey.” And the game continues around the circle with each subsequent player adding a food and repeating the entire reel of dishes said prior to his or her turn. Any person who can't recite the full list on his or her turn is out. Whoever can perfectly recite the full Thanksgiving dinner menu is the winner! But don't concentrate too hard—you wouldn't want the stuffing to get cold.

Mad Libs are a great Thanksgiving game because the whole family can participate, and they can pass the time while you wait for dinner, or you can even play while you eat. Have everyone take turns calling out words until the whole sheet is filled. Once there are no spaces left to fill, read what is sure to be a funny (and at least somewhat festive) story aloud. Feel free to pause for laughter, as these can get pretty silly with the little ones.

Get the free printable at Small Stuff Counts.

Here’s a way to get your blood pumping without football, before or after the feast: host a pumpkin relay race in the backyard! You’ll need lots of room since pumpkins don’t roll in a straight line. Here’s how you do it: get two large pumpkins (you might want a couple of spares in case one breaks). Set a start line and a finish line. Divide into two teams, and have the racers line up and use their hands to roll the pumpkin from the start line across the finish line. The first team to have all players successfully roll the pumpkin from start to finish is the winner.

A Thanksgiving twist on a classic party game. Fill an apothecary jar—bonus points if you have a pumpkin-shaped one—with candy corn and place it near the entryway of your home, where guests will see it upon arrival. Provide guests with slips of paper and ask them to guess how many candy corn kernels are in the jar. Have them write down their name along with their guess on the paper, and announce the winner after dinner. Whoever guesses the closest gets to take the jar (and candy corn) home.

If you like cornhole, you'll love this DIY pumpkin toss game—the base can be made out of thick poster board or cardboard, and you can use balls or bean bags to toss through the cutouts. Assign point values to each cutout, and maybe offer a prize (an extra slice of pie?) to the winner.

Get the tutorial at Lolly Jane.

This last game is pretty straightforward and is another that you can play while eating dinner—plus it’s also a great way to get everyone talking about what they’re thankful for. All you have to do is go in a circle and take turns having everyone state just one thing they’re grateful for; the catch is that it has to start with the next letter of the alphabet, starting with A (the next person’s response will start with B, and so on). Go around the table until you’ve covered every letter in the alphabet—yes, even X and Z. While this one works well to keep kids occupied during the final food preparations, it's also great as an icebreaker at the dinner table when everyone first sits down or during the lull between dinner and dessert.

With all the planning, coordinating, and cooking, it’s important to remember the reason why you’re gathering: to spend time with your loved ones—your family and friends. We hope these games encourage a sense of togetherness as you enjoy your time together with the people who are most important to you, and maybe encourage a couple laughs as well when you read the borderline ridiculous Mad Libs your family comes up with. Happy Thanksgiving!

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