It’s T-minus a few hours and counting before your Thanksgiving guests arrive. Your not-yet-stuffed turkey calls from the kitchen at the same moment your little turkey wants to play. No problem. With these make-ahead crafts, activities and games he’ll gobble up, you can make like Jamie Oliver while your sidekick plays. Dinner is served!


1. Knock them down with a few rounds of turkey bowling. Stacking these easily constructed turkey pins designed by Blair at The Seasoned Mom leads to game after game after game, so you can focus on kitchen duty.

fieldgoalattempt_paperfootball_gabbycullen-e1453256761981photo: Gabby Cullen

2. Score big with a simple-to-set-up game of paper football. While your favorite teams go head-to-head, let your Littles toss the paper pigskin down the field of your family room. All you need to do is cheer them on as you baste your bird.

smallfriendly-pumpkin-spice-playdough photo:

3. Spice up your standard play dough routine with a DIY batch that’s scented like pumpkin. Carla at Small+Friendly has the deets you need to make it the day before. Then set up a play cook station for your little chef using your fave play dough tools. She “cooks,” you cook is a win-win!

grateful-garland-allison-sutcliffe-photophoto: Allison Sutcliffe

4. String together thanks with a free printable garland designed by Somewhat Simple. Print out plenty of stylish flags ahead of time. Then have your crew write out their own grateful phrases before cutting out each flag and hanging them up in time for the dinner bell.

potato-stamps-from-jimmie-flickrphoto: Jimmie via Flickr

5. Set up a stamp station where your mini-me can use spare dinner fixings to create fantastic works of art. Carve simple shapes into extra potatoes pre-dinner prep. Then set up a station with plenty paper and paints to keep your aspiring artist busy while you transform the rest of your potato stash into a delish holiday side.

kids-decoarting-turkey-placemats-ruby-dw-flickrphoto: Ruby DW via Flickr

6. Craft festive placemats for the fam. Equip the craft table with colorful construction paper, scissors, and glue so your crew can make Thanksgiving Day placements for themselves and your guests. Bet your turkey day table never looked so good! Find more ideas for kid-centric centerpieces here.

craft-feathers-walt-stoneburner-flickrphoto: Walt Stoneburner via Flickr

7. Send them on a feather hunt. Hide colorful craft feathers around the house ahead of time. Then when your sidekick comes looking for something to do, let her know the game is already afoot. Challenge her to Sherlock her way to a win by tracking them all down.


8. Craft turkey puppets with your stash of brown paper lunch sacks. Allison at No Time For Flash Cards can give you the low down on this easy-to-set-up craft option that gives you precious time in the kitchen.

kid-running-by-leaves-oakley-originals-on-flickrphoto: OakleyOriginals via Flickr

9. Send them outside for a rousing game of Turkey Trot. It’s like tag, but with a Thanksgiving Day twist your crew will love. And since it’s a more-the-merrier team game, you can bring on the cousins and neighbors for this one!

clothespins-maureen-lund-on-flickrphoto: Maureen Lund via Flickr

10. Roll the dice with this crafty turkey “feather” game. We love this make-ahead game that uses colored clothespins paired with a free printable designed by Amy at The Idea Room because it’s all the rage, no matter what their age. Set up the game table them let ‘em roll!,

Do you have a favorite activity to add to our list? Have you of these worked for you? Share your tricks and tips in the Comments.

—Allison Sutcliffe