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20 Fun Thanksgiving Traditions for Kids: Unique Ideas

Want to create lasting family memories – minus all the stress? Today we are sharing simple Thanksgiving tradition ideas to start with your kids this year. (updated 2023)

Simple and meaningful Thanksgiving activities for families.

The Importance of Thanksgiving Traditions

Did you know there is research which shows that traditions make our kids feel more secure? 

Traditions also help promote healthy relationships between generations.

Children will often remember the special experiences of family traditions long after the toys and gifts are forgotten.

But the good news is that they don’t need to be lavish and complicated.

Plus, you wanna know the real reason you need to start some Thanksgiving family traditions now?

Because when your kids are married adults, you want them to come home for the holidays! 

If you have memorable traditions in place while your children are growing up, they won’t want to miss out on them when they are grown.

This will ensure that your children and, eventually, grandchildren are sitting around the dinner table during the holidays.

Simple Thanksgiving Traditions to Start This Year

Family at the Thanksgiving table with grandma, mom and granddaughters.

Thanksgiving Traditions for Kids

Turkey Day Countdown

As an elementary school teacher, holiday countdowns are a staple in my classroom.

A simple paper chain made from fall-colored construction paper, is an easy way to countdown the days until Thanksgiving. Simply remove one link of the chain each day.

Go Black Friday Shopping

In the retail world, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, when stores often have huge sales that start early in the morning. It’s a great time to snag great Christmas gifts at amazing discounts.

Make it a tradition by going with your kids each year.

Not ready to brave the crowds? Then stay home in your jammies for a virtual Black Friday while you shop online together.

Decorate for Christmas

In our home, it’s a tradition to decorate for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving.

Turn on the Christmas music, put all the pumpkins away, and spend the day putting out all your holiday decor.

Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

One of my favorite memories from childhood was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on television. Growing up in a small town, it was amazing to see such a huge parade with amazing floats, balloons, and bands.

Watching the parade on television is an easy activity that is great for kids of all ages.

Volunteer in a Soup Kitchen

There is no better way to raise grateful children than to give them opportunities to help others that are less fortunate.

Make volunteering in a kitchen that serves meals to the homeless or a women’s and children’s shelter a Thanksgiving tradition to help others.

Family Turkey Trot

Avoid the commute and crowds associated with larger Turkey Trots and instead enjoy a nice stroll with your friends and family!

Set a meeting time and designate the route using sidewalk chalk or large bows tied onto light posts. I could see this one quickly turning from a friendly stroll into an annual competition between siblings!

Thanksgiving Family Tradition Ideas
Family activities to do on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving tradition ideas.
A table set for thanksgiving dinner

Fun Family Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas Everyone Will Love


  1. I am all about traditions! Especially with my babies being so little now (16 months and due in January!) so having a lovely tradition to start from the get go would be wonderful to see later as they get older!! Love these ideas!!

    1. Great! I am glad these ideas are helpful to so many. I just know that I want to make the holidays meaningful for my family, but I don’t have time for elaborate crafts, decorating or projects. These quick ideas are the perfect way to pause and create memories – without adding stress and frustration!

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