Late November means crisp temperatures for my husband and children; however, for my parents, they are sporting flip flops a thousand miles away in Florida. As we approach Thanksgiving, I am always a little saddened that my snow bird parents are not here even though we strongly disagree on the side dishes that should be on the table during this traditional meal. For the first time last year, we didn’t feel a pang of loneliness since we invited our equally marooned in New Jersey friends. As we talked, nibbled on appetizers and gorged on turkey, there was a jovial element in the air.
Friendsgiving is the celebratory meal focusing on being thankful but includes friends on the guest list. It can be hosted the weekend after Thanksgiving as friends organize a potluck party. It can also be just having friends instead of family during Thanksgiving. Essentially, it is an extension of the traditional Thanksgiving.
Since we had such a wonderful experience last year, we invited the same friends over this year! The focus of Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving always remains on spending time with each other since that is a true blessing. We have compiled quick and easy activities that kids can do on this day with help from Oriental Trading!
Friendsgiving Activities for Kids
Thanksgiving is about counting the blessings in our life. You can encourage children to participate in this activity by writing down on a leaf what they had been thankful that year. Remember, children may be thankful for family, friends and, in some instances, Batman. It’s okay if they go off the beaten track as it makes conversations much more interesting. The leaves can be placed where they will sit at the table.
Turkey Photo Booth
One fun way to break the ice at any event is a photo booth! We used a plastic tablecloth taped to the wall as our backdrop and some accessories to add to the fun. This is a low-key activity as all you need is a volunteer to snap photos which can be done throughout the Friendsgiving afternoon.
Gobble Gobble – Where’s the Turkey?
A fun game to keep the kids busy is Hide the Turkey. Oriental Trading has a set of twelve Turkeys that you can purchase and hide in your home. That is a lot of turkeys and should fit most Friendsgiving celebrations. It also makes a wonderful gift for the kids! We asked the kids to yell “Gobble Gobble” when they spotted each one which made this activity even more fun. You can then have the kids take turns hiding the turkeys for each other (and the parents) to find. To add another layer of learning, write down acts of kindness onto pieces of paper (or even use the leaves mentioned above) and attach them to each turkey. The children then have to complete the kindness tasks found on their turkey throughout the holiday season.
Make a Treat Cup
At some point, the children will want to watch television and eat snacks. Instead of going through a bunch of containers to wash because the kids don’t remember which one is theirs, the Thanksgiving Treat Cup Hugger is perfect. Each child can decorate their own cup which they will use that afternoon. To customize, offer a couple more stickers or they can write their name on it.
Make Your Own Thanksgiving Parade
When my son was four and my daughter was three, I thought I would attempt to have them watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade; however, children have a tendency to ignore our plans. Aside from catching their favorite characters represented in balloons and watching the performances, it can run a little slow. If you can DVR the parade for Friendsgiving celebrations that happen on the weekend that will be fun!
However, for young children, you can also encourage them to make their own parade! Grab coloring sheets of their favorite characters and have them ready on a table where they can color. On a large Kraft paper roll draw out some boxes to look like city buildings. After the children are done coloring their oversized characters they can them cut and glue on the Kraft paper.
We hope you enjoyed some of the suggestions we offered on brain boosting activities that keep children engaged this Friendsgiving! You can get all the supplies you need by visiting the Oriental Trading website.