Ah, the underappreciated Thanksgiving break from school. Not long enough to take the kids on vacation after visiting with family, too long to plop them in front of the television for 96 hours straight.
Between shuffling turkeys from hot ovens to crowded tables, terrible Detroit Lions games and sleeping overnight in line for a Target Black Friday sale, won’t somebody please think of the children and keep them occupied and out of trouble over Turkey Day Break?
Here are 10 ways to while away four days of Thanksgiving with your kids without sacrificing your sanity.
- Play some backyard football
Whether it’s just you and your kid and a Nerf football on a slice of grass behind the house or a full-on neighborhood battle in the park, there’s no better way to spend a fall afternoon, get out some aggression, get some exercise and grab some bragging rights. Mark an end zone with some twigs and go.
Just stop before you go full on Monica.
- Go to the movies
Thanksgiving weekend is the traditional start to holiday blockbuster season at the movies. In fact, the first Harry Potter film, Toy Story 2, Frozen and all four Hunger Games movies were released on Thanksgiving weekend.
Grab some popcorn and see what’s on the big screen this year. We highly recommend a theater with reclining seats.
- Create DIY crafts
Set up a craft station in the living room with anything from safety scissors and construction paper to crayons and paper towel rolls to something more advanced. All you really need is imagination.
So many friends and neighbors go away to visit family for Thanksgiving. Offer your kids’ services to dog-sit for a couple days. It’s much easier when everyone is off and you can be home 24/7 for the guest pupper, and you’ll have an instant companion for your child over the break. Great for families that love dogs but don’t have the schedule (or allowance in their lease) to have one of their own.
- Visit the library
A great alternative to the loud and boisterous holiday weekend crowds at the mall is a quiet respite at your local library. Kids of all ages will love browsing through the stacks of books, and many libraries have scheduled story time with wonderful volunteer storytellers. Got some books your kids have grown out of? Let them pack up a box and donate to your local branch.
- Rake leaves, then jump in them
Got a yard in need of some leaf cleanup? Buy a child-sized rake and let the kids sweep the fallen leaves into a pile – and then have them jump in it. Then do it again. Last time around, have them help load all the leaves into bags to take to the curb or set aside for composting.
- Attend a community play
You don’t have to live near Broadway to take in some theater. Local community playhouses, school theater groups and rep companies have amazing productions of all types. And many regional theaters start their Christmas-themed plays Thanksgiving weekend to get in the spirit.
- Dive into a scavenger hunt
Santa isn’t the only one this season that can make a list. Grab a pad of paper and jot down a couple dozen items and let the kids go to town looking around. A scavenger hunt can happen almost anywhere – in the house, around the neighborhood or even on the internet.
- Put them in charge of the photos
Give the mid-range and older kids the job of capturing the Thanksgiving festivities on their phones. Let them take a ton of pictures, and then sort through them after dinner.
When the perfect slideshow is crafted, have them hook their phone up to the Chromecast, Fire Stick or Apple TV and show their project off to the family.
- Make a time capsule
What does Thanksgiving mean to your family? Ask the kids that question and have them gather some odds and ends, newspaper clippings, printed out photos and personal notes from the family and seal them up in a time capsule box. Store the box away in the attic or buried in the backyard and set a reminder on your phone’s calendar to open it up a year, five years or a decade from today.
How do you entertain your children during Thanksgiving break? What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below. I really would love to know.
Until next time, shine amongst the stars!
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Guest Post by Michael Hochman,
This article originally ran on the Apartment Guide Blog.
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