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20 Thanksgiving Weekend Activities To Keep Your Kids Busy

Once the turkey has been digested, the dishes have been cleaned and put away, and thanks has been given to the fortunes that have come your way this year… it’s time to get down to business and figure out what to do with the kids over the long holiday weekend. While football fans and Black Friday shoppers have it made on Thanksgiving weekend, what about the rest of us who are looking for some relaxing family fun? Luckily, Seattle is brimming with kid-friendly activities to keep you and your little ones entertained all weekend long.

1. Are your kiddos out of school and just itching to expel some of that pre-Thanksgiving pent-up energy? Instead of letting them bounce around the house all day, throw on the scarves and coats and head out to explore some of the many parks in our area. Try checking out a zip lining park, a playground in a different neighborhood or a new play space that is one part bouncy house, one part motion.

2. If you don’t have to slave over a hot stove, spend Thanksgiving morning jumping, bouncing, sliding, and flipping at Pump It Up. Kiddos can get all their wiggles out (and maybe even a pre-dinner nap in) before the quintessential meal of the year. Two special sessions will be offered on Thanksgiving—be sure to reserve your spot online starting on Monday, November 25.

Gourd Turkeys

3. Don’t forget to relish the tryptophan-induced food coma once you’ve finished eating and relax–Thanksgiving is a holiday after all! Play a fun round of your favorite game, whether it be Battleship or Clue, or bust out the markers and construction paper and make a Thanksgiving inspired craft.

4. Oh, but what to do after the turkey coma has worn off? The obvious answer is the Macy’s Holiday Parade, which starts bright and early at 9 a.m., the day after Thanksgiving. Get there early so the little ones can watch the floats, marching bands and more than 650 costumed characters welcome Santa to town in his shiny red sleigh. Looking for the best view? Grab a curbside seat at Westlake Center, across from Macy’s.

5. If you and the kiddos aren’t early morning risers, you can still take in a holiday parade on Friday night. Santa himself will be riding his sleigh down Bellevue Way along with all of his friends and helpers from Snowflake Lane. Grab a spot on NE 8th for a little extra elbow room to watch the parade, and bring your camera for a chance to snap a photo with St. Nick or with one of the characters from Snowflake Lane at a special meet and greet after the parade and tree lighting.

Westlake Tree Lighting

6. Nothing is more spectacular than a fireworks show on the day after Thanksgiving! Bundle up the kiddos and grab a prime viewing spot in Westlake Park for the annual tree lighting ceremony and lighting of the Macy’s star and fireworks show.

7. Seattle Center kicks of their Winterfest holiday celebration on Friday, November 29 with The Dickens Carolers, the Most Awesome Variety Show Ever, and the always-popular winter train and village inside The Armory. Seattle Center Winterfest runs for four weeks this year and boasts a favorite amongst Seattle families: the Winterfest Ice Rink. You can also watch an amazing jump rope team perform on Saturday and participate in a community Menorah Lighting Ceremony on Sunday. All of the Winterfest holiday events, except for the ice skating, are free.

8. Sure, you’ve got a whole month of holiday cheer to look forward to, but if the supermarkets are already stocking Christmas decorations, then there’s no reason you can’t get in the holiday mood by building a gingerbread house. Head down to Hotel Murano’s Bicentennial Pavilion in Tacoma on November 30 or December 1 and put those building skills to work.

gingerbread jamboree

9. If fighting the downtown Black Friday crowds isn’t your thing, try the etsyRAIN Homemade Holiday Show. Not only will you find one-of-a-kind handmade goods, but you’ll find some awesome gifts for moms and tots made by seven local moms we adore. After you shop ‘til you drop, stroll the downtown waterfront, take a spin on the Great Wheel or grab some fish n’ chips for lunch (since we know you’ll probably be eating turkey leftovers for dinner).

10. If your kiddos love everything (and anything!) that lights up, you’re in luck! Staring this weekend, three winter light festivals will open for the holiday season—Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo, Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden.

11. You’re going to need a Christmas tree for all those presents you bought at the holiday gift show. Whether your family prefers a Charlie Brown-style sapling or a White House-worthy Grand fir, you’re sure to find the perfect Christmas conifer at a u-cut Christmas tree farm.

farmer browns u-cut

12. If your family needs to get out of the house this weekend, you can hop in the car and explore a neighborhood that boasts its own independent theater and ice cream shop with vintage video and pinball games as well as cool shops and some good eats that will give you a break from leftovers.

13. Starting on November 30, you and the Littles can reenact the Polar Express on the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. The Santa Express will take you on a journey through the woods to a railroad depot and back, topped off with a visit from a special guy in red. Remember to bring along your camera because this is a total post-worthy family holiday outing!

14. If it’s Sunday and if you’re anything like us, you’ve been eating Thanksgiving dinner leftovers for quite a few meals. If you’re looking for a meal that’s not leftovers then we have a few options that will get you out of the house and surely satisfy your cravings. Consider: a restaurant that will keep your little one occupied, a pizzeria with authentic (to die for) Chicago eats or an indoor farmers market that serves up delicious eats rain or shine. Bon Appetite!

Argosy Christmas Ship

15. The holiday season can’t officially start until the Christmas Ship sails which just so happens to be this weekend. Catch the opening ceremony in Kirkland on November 29 or the opening ceremony in Seattle on November 30. At both locations, you’ll be able to listen to the holiday tunes ‘round a roaring bonfire.

16. See more than 200 dancers, gigantic moving sets, and a spectacular snowfall at Seattle’s famous Nutcracker production. This show is like no other in the world!

17. Celebrate Hanukkah with storytelling, songs, snacks, and a community menorah lighting of the fifth candle or hit a festive tree lighting ceremony.

18. Still feel like playing tourist? Check out some can’t-miss sights around Seattle.

Westlake Carousel

19. Hop aboard a carousel for some great photo ops while your kiddos go round and round. Then, see some amazing gingerbread displays built by local architecture firms and the Sheraton Seattle culinary team

20. Get a jump start on your holiday to-do list by taking the kids to visit Santa.

And, please, pace yourself. The holiday fun launches on Thanksgiving weekend, but it keeps rolling until we’ve welcomed in the new year. Share your family’s Thanksgiving weekend traditions below.

–Kristina Moy

photo credit: mtcarlson via Flickr, Children’s Museum of Tacoma Facebook page, Paul Dudley/Argosy Cruises, Angela Sterling and Lisa Albanese

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