4 Fun & Festive Thanksgiving Games For Kids


Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year. From all-day football to the big feast and sales everywhere, there is a lot to look forward to during the holiday. However, as teachers, we have to work our way to the holiday and deal with the excitement an behavior changes of our student as they holidays approach. Thus, infusing your teaching with some seasonal games can help you teach the curriculum and your students will learn while getting as excited as you are for the short break.

Below are 4 gobbling great Thanksgiving games to plan before the holiday. These activities require few materials so they are easy to set up and play for any program!

Turkey Tag


This is a surefire winner for any age group. All you need is an abundance of scarves or flag football belts with flags to pull off. Each student starts with one scarf – you can have them partially tuck the scarves into their clothes so it is visible to everyone, or use the flag football belts. Everyone is a turkey, and the goal is to see how many turkey tails (flags and scarves) you can get in a round. For safety, once someone grabs a tail, the person must let it go and not try to tug it back. Once a student’s tail is taken, they are not out, but have to keep trying to get tails. You can add in locomotor skills, play while doing a skill like dribbling, and so much more to spice it up. 

Turkey Race


Just as you may see adult turkey races during the holiday, you can do this for your students too. You can choose a certain mileage or number of laps you want them to run or walk during a set time period. You can time them or just do it for fun. Plus, you can do sprints, one on one races, and other variations to mix it up. This game will satisfy both the competitive nature of students and scratch that holiday game itch. Do this every year, and you will have a tradition going at your school for students to look forward to. 

Turkey Toss


This involves using rubber turkeys or some other small object. You pair students up and have them play catch. When you tell them to stop after you pause some holiday themed music, the student with the object in their hand must run while the other chases them and tries to tag them before they get to a certain spot or a certain amount of time passes. Once the student tags the other one or the time passes, they can start catching and throwing again. You can change this up by having them move in different directions, pathways, or using certain locomotor skills. 

Turkey, Turkey, Dinner


This game is a play on an old favorite – duck duck goose – but there is a little spin. Line students up shoulder to shoulder in the middle of the playing space. Use floor tape to mark the spot (choose yellow or red for seasonal colors). You will end up with one long line of students in pairs standing shoulder to shoulder. You can tell them that this game is about finding a turkey to eat for Thanksgiving dinner, and they are going to see how many turkeys they can catch. The students take turns tapping each other’s shoulders while they say, “turkey, turkey” (like duck, duck) and when one student taps the other and says dinner, whoever is the dinner runs and tries to reach the wall closest to them before getting tagged. If they get tagged, the person tagging gets a point. Repeat to see how many points or turkeys students get in a certain amount of time. Then switch up partners. Again, you can add in locomotor skills, pathways, directions, skills such as dribbling and so much more.

turkey football

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About the Author:

literacy in physical education

Charles Silberman is a physical education and health teacher with 14 years of teaching experience. He has become a leader and advocate for incoming physical educators by running workshops on teaching in limited space at staff in-services and conferences, assisting with new teacher orientations, and other initiatives. He has experience writing curriculum from scratch and writing published information specific to physical education in state and nationally recognized publications and websites. Charles has also created a niche as a physical education specialist who fuses technology and primary instructional subjects into physical education lessons.

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