From the turkey to the gravy, mashed potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie—when Canadians think of Thanksgiving, we tend to focus on the food. The traditional Thanksgiving meal has always gathered family and friends around the dinner table to reflect on what they’re grateful for. But what about before and after the meal?
With that extra day off during the Thanksgiving weekend, you don’t only have to celebrate with comfort food. There are other great ways you can create memories with loved ones and get active at the same time! Here are some ideas:
1. Make an outdoor gratitude list
This is perfect for families with toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age kids! Especially if you’re hosting a big Thanksgiving dinner. Grab your sidewalk chalk and decorate the entrance of your house and driveway with a gratitude list. Everyone in the family can join in! Each person can write up things they’re most thankful for. If your children can’t spell or write, have them draw pictures. In fact, you can even add fall-themed symbols around your list (for example, pictures of coloured leaves, apples, pumpkins) too! If you have other kids coming to your Thanksgiving dinner, leave some space for them to place their own list, as the adults prepare for dinnertime.
2. Partake in outdoor sports and activities
Do you have out-of-town guests coming for the entire weekend? Depending on how many visitors are coming, organize a fun outdoor activity that can be done in your front or backyard. Anything from a friendly game of soccer, football, or dodgeball. These can be done before, after, or at any time during the Thanksgiving weekend. Split everyone up into equal teams, and enjoy a friendly (yet slightly competitive) sports game. Not sporty? Try one of these versions of the classic game of tag or play hopscotch as a family.
3. Host a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt
A Thanksgiving scavenger hunt will go over well with younger children, and the adults always have fun helping out. Divide family members into teams of two and then head off. Scavenger hunt lists can be found on Pinterest or by doing a quick Internet search. You could put a twist on it, like this one, turn it into a competition where the winning team gets a prize, or play simply for fun.
4. Go on a group walk or family hike
Not everyone has the time to plan overly elaborate activities for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re hosting a dinner. Something low-key is committing to a group walk after the meal. For those with younger children, perhaps have them look for beautifully coloured leaves to do a craft later that night or sometime weekend. Or, if you’ve got the time and are heading out on a hike, check out these seven kid-friendly games you can play on trail-walks and nature hikes before you go.
5. Do a freeze dance
Whether you’re two or 92, nothing gets you moving more than some good music and a little dancing. Freeze dance is a game where everyone can get involved. You start the music, everyone starts dancing, and when the music stops, everyone has to instantly “freeze” to their last position. Anyone who continues dancing (even slightly) is removed from the game until one person remains. The game is quick, fun, and can be played multiple times. There’s no excessive planning involved. Simply grab your Bluetooth speaker, a favourite playlist on your phone, and go for it. If you need a little inspiration, here are 57 awesome family dance party jams to get you started.