What To Do With A Bored Kid: 5 Thanksgiving Day Ideas

perfect family

Maybe you have the kind of children who behave with taste and distinction.  Perhaps your offspring dress up for Thanksgiving, graciously greet your guests and help them feel at home.  Our extended family is…um…not any of those things.  Silence is deadly: it means someone’s being tied up and thrown out a second story window.  Here’s 5 suggestions that work for us–perhaps they’ll save a life.  Yours.  Your kid’s.  I’m not picky.  Let’s just get out of Thanksgiving intact!


What To Do With A Bored Kid: 5 Thanksgiving Day Ideas


kids crafting

(photo credit: Nick Normal)

1. Sing it with me: “Dollar Store!”  I always hit the Dollar Store before a holiday when all the cousins are getting together.  Spend $20 to save my sanity?  Uh, YEAH. They can make foam and felt craft items for the table, pictures about “what I’m grateful for” and sword fights in the backyard with glow in the dark wands.  There’s some great ideas for simple crafts here and here.



turkey dog

(Photo credit: Pinke)

2. Start a new tradition: okay, this is so sick but one of my favorites.  One caller on our radio show told us that her mother would dress up their little dog in a turkey costume and the kids would use sticks as pretend guns and chase it around the yard.  NO, no one hit the poor dog, obviously.  But they do it every year.  Make it weird.  Make it fun.  Pick a new recipe the kids can make.


thankful tree

(photo credit: Jenosale)

3. The Thankful Tree: have the kids scout for just the right branch to create the “Thankful Tree.”  Any branch with lots of room for paper leaves works fine.  The kiddos cut out a bunch of leaves from colored paper, and everyone writes what they’re thankful for on their leaf .  The kiddos get to (messily) glue the leaves on to the Thankful Tree for all to admire.



scavenger hunt

(photo credit: With Associates)

4. The Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt: we try to do a “nature” one so it’s outside, but you pick based on patience level and weather.  The kids get a list of items to find based on age–usually 5 to 10 items like a red leaf, an acorn, something blue, etc.  As they come back in with all their items, they get a small prize.


serviing others


(Photo credit: International Fellowship)

5. Service: at our home, The Todd is the cook so our job is to stay out of his way.  I started taking the kiddos to Walmart on Thanksgiving Day morning to buy socks, gloves, hats, etc. for the homeless ladies and gentlemen who congregate at a local park.  A few years ago, we started passing out the warm items while an enthusiastic youth group served a turkey dinner.  As I was chatting with one gentleman, my MacLean casually reached out and took the man’s cookies and started eating them. Yes.  Let me reiterate just to highlight my truly pitiful parenting skills.  My 7 year old stole a homeless man’s Thanksgiving dinner dessert!   As I apologized profusely, the gentleman lit up and said, “oh, it’s my pleasure!  Enjoy them!”  Here’s the lesson I learned that day: everyone needs to be able to offer the gift of service and generosity. That lovely man gave me the understanding that he needed to get his blessings (or Karma, or whatever you want to call it) by offering  generosity to my son with the gift of his dessert.  Maybe not the suggestion you were looking for, but one that has changed my life.


smores 3

What works well at your house?  How do you keep the children from setting the curtains on fire?


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