take it with you | thanksgiving activity basket

There are many ideas out there on how to keep kids busy at a designated kid table during Thanksgiving day, but what’s a parent to do when you aren’t hosting the big event yourself? I’ve often felt that keeping the kiddos at bay while meal-making is going on, can be just as much help as having a hand in the kitchen. So I set out to make my own portable craft & activity kit for my children to share with their cousins as we make our way to gather at my mother-in-law’s home this year. Not only will the activities keep the children entertained, I also hope it will connect family and foster some great memories.

thanksgiving candle pilgrimsAren’t my grandmother’s vintage candles just adorable? I couldn’t resist sharing them.

Here are the activities I gathered for the basket.

1. Take photos and make a scrapbook.

What you will need:
*  Mini instant photo album (available at JoAnn) with craft paper finish
*  Album inserts
*  Instax camera plus film
*  A few scraps of colored paper, stickers, markers, etc.

photo album
The reason for the instant camera? If my post here didn’t convince you,  It’ is perfect for snapping photos and making a scrapbook at the time that the action is happening. Let each child take a photograph of a family member and have them ask questions to get to know that relative better. They can write the answers on a colored card or scrap of patterned paper, and pair their answer with the photo. Make your family Thanksgiving album together. And once you’ve created it, bring it out every year to gather and reminisce. For smaller children let them take the photo, and give them stickers to add. They could even take a photo of their favorite food! The great part about instant photos is that you can write notes or add stickers right on the frame of the photo.

2. Games.

*  Dominoes game
*  UNO
*  pad of paper for tic-tac-toe, pencils

You can’t really go wrong with UNO, this is one of those games that most everyone enjoys and even children can master this one. For the smaller littles, Dominoes is great because they can build, match numbers, and play without necessarily having to understand the rules of play. And finally, one of my favorite ways to play with my sisters growing up was to take an ordinary pad of paper and play written games (Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, Connect the Dots, to name a few).


3.  Peg Doll Play Set.  The idea behind this particular craft, is that you can either make these with the children or make them yourself beforehand. My boys had a lot of fun playing with this scene regardless of who made it. The instructions are available through PDF, here: peg doll instructions

peg doll scene

peg doll thanksgiving dinner

peg dolls

peg dolls in drawstring bag

4.  Canoe Craft.  Since the children in my family are fairly small, I opted to prepare this craft ahead of time. I cut out the felt, punched sewing holes, and sewed the Velcro rounds on ahead of time. This becomes a great little pocket for those childhood trinkets and treasures.Let the kids sew up the sides with large plastic needles and string. Get the PDF here: canoe pouch template

canoe set

5.  Gratitude Game. Using an empty hot chocolate container, I cut a hole in the lid and took off the label. The slips of paper are for each family to fill out. Ask each relative to write down something they are grateful for that is very specific to them. Once all the labels are folded and gathered, shake the can and have fun reading them aloud & guessing who wrote them.

thankful game

 *  What activities will your family be doing to keep time while waiting for the Thanksgiving dinner?


Photo Credits:  All //  Ann Neslen via Drippingpaintbrush


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