10 FREE Fun Thanksgiving Activities

Updated November 17, 2017

Spending during the holiday season can add up fast, but you can certainly save a few bucks by trying some of these free Thanksgiving activities. Keep reading for more details!


With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s easy to forget just how pricey the food-filled holiday can get for families on a budget.

Between buying food and decorations, and figuring out what to do with the kids while they’re out of school, the tab for Thanksgiving can add up fast.

And let’s not forget, Christmas—a.k.a. the most expensive holiday of the year—is barely one month away!

Fortunately, there are plenty of fun—and most importantly, FREE—activities you can do with your family to celebrate Thanksgiving this year:

  1. Go on a run! I know, I know—this is not what you had in mind when you read “fun activities” for Thanksgiving, but hear me out! Almost every city and town hosts an annual Turkey Trot run that kids and adults of all ages can participate in every Thanksgiving morning. Most of these Trots offer both 1-mile and 5K races, so just about anybody can run or walk them. Not only is this a great way to spend time with the ones you love, but you’ll also get to burn a few extra calories before stuffing your face with turkey and mashed potatoes a few hours later.
  2. Play a board game. Nothing says family fun quite like a competitive game of Monopoly! Just make some popcorn, grab a bottle of wine (Martinelli’s for the kids), and get to playing.
  3. Start baking. If you absolutely love the holidays, you’re probably already counting down the days until it’s time to start decorating for Christmas. While you may want to hold off a few days before you start putting up your Christmas lights, nobody is going to say no to some holiday cookies. Feel free to make a night of it with your whole family! There’s nothing quite like decorating some delicious Christmas cookies with the kids to really make you appreciate your loved ones.
  4. Go on a family hike. While this probably won’t be something that you do on Thanksgiving, per say, it is a great activity for the next morning. When everybody else heads to their local Best Buy for some chaotic Black Friday shopping, you can go on a nice hike with your family to burn off that massive Thanksgiving dinner—without spending a dime.
  5. Watch a movie. If you’re looking for something super low-key, just stay home and watch a movie with your family. Starting on Thanksgiving (even before on some channels), there will be plenty of holiday movies to watch.
  6. Create a gratitude jar. Paper Coterie has free printables to make this little project simple and easy for the whole family before Thanksgiving.
  7. Start coloring. This is obviously more for the kids, but there are plenty of free printable coloring pages online for kids of all ages to enjoy!
  8. Decorate with the family. Again, this is really an activity for people who absolutely love setting up their holiday decorations. Plenty of families have their own traditions, but it can be an absolute blast to start setting up decorations together. So bust out those holiday boxes, turn on some music, and start setting up!
  9. Make an easy recipe. Forkly has plenty of simple Thanksgiving-themed recipes to try out if you have kids at home. Cooking and baking can be a great way to spend time with the whole family without spending an arm and a leg—plus it’s a great learning lesson.
  10. Create a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt. Let’s Get Together has a wonderful gratitude photo scavenger hunt that the whole family can try right after dinner. The best part? The printable directions are free!
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