It’s Thanksgiving Day. The turkey aroma from the oven is mouth-watering, the potatoes destined for mashing are boiling, and sweet apples are being peeled for pies. Meanwhile, hungry kids are bouncing off the walls, adults are running out of things to say, the dog is lying right in the middle of the kitchen floor, and dinner is still hours away from being served.

Fortunately, creative games and activities can help to pass the time and beat the boredom that often comes along with the wait. They can be handed down over the years as traditions, or they can be new and innovative icebreakers. Simple household items keep the cost low, while store-bought props and supplies can also inspire good times.

“Engaging your Thanksgiving guests by playing together means more than you realize. It creates a memory to look back on, long after the holiday is over,” said Cassandra Casey, coordinator of Lifelong Learning at Carroll Community College.
The holiday can be an unforgettable lasting memory with these fun, creative Thanksgiving activities.

Draw Without Looking
Participants place a paper plate on their heads and draw a Thanksgiving food or decoration that is described by a leader, without looking up at what they are drawing. At the end, everyone compares their paper plates and votes for the “best artist.” Or they can vote for the “funniest artist,” whose stick figure drawing results in giggles.

Alphabet Game
Use the alphabet to create a list of foods at the Thanksgiving meal. Start with the first person, then repeat, in alphabetical order. For example, “For Thanksgiving, I had apple pie, bacon bites, and cake.” Continue until the final person recites the whole thing — if he or she can remember it.

Stuffing — The Classic Sardines Game
One person hides in the house and everyone tries to find him or her. When found, the hidden person makes room for the other “finders” to hide, until everyone has found the secret place and gathers there, ending the game.

Pumpkins and Pins
Place 10 empty, one-liter soda bottles on the floor in an open space. Use small pumpkins to bowl them over. The player with the most pins knocked over in one round wins. Shop online for low-cost toy bowling pins to make the game more realistic.

Time for Trivia
Create original trivia games using an app like Kahoot. Apps provide questions or allow users to write their own. Games can be viewed on TV. Players can use their phones or tablets to select answers to the games. Apps keep track of points and have regular score updates. Players can even play remotely through Zoom (

Desserts Dice Game
Put desserts out on the table. Roll the dice and make a pick according to the number rolled. Rolling a one means pick a dessert. Rolling a two means pick two desserts. Rolling a three means skip a turn. Make up the rules as you go.

Skittles Gratitude
Players grab a handful of Skittles candy, and for each color, they share a specific area of gratitude. For red, name a person for whom you are grateful. For green, talk about a memory. For purple, describe a favorite place. The game is as varied as the colors of the rainbow.

Conversation Cards
Place a card at each person’s place at the table, laugh and enjoy. For example, provide a card that asks for a Thanksgiving-themed joke like “Why did the turkey join the band? Because he had the drumsticks.”

Planning to be “distanced” from family during the holidays? Don’t let that stop you from engaging in fun activities together. Get your brain working with a virtual game of Scrabble GO, play a classic game of Clue, become a Marvel character with the mobile app Marvel Strike Force, take a drive on Mario Kart Tour or play some digital golf on Golf Battle. Look for these games and more on the App Store and Google Play.

Sources: Carroll Community College,
Boys and Girls Club of Westminster