Safe Family Fun During Thanksgiving | On the other side of the fort

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Thanksgiving is a day for getting together with family and friends, eating too many delicious food, slouching down on the couch watching football, maybe going out for board games, or watching a movie at the local theater.

Things are slowly returning to “normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down virtually everything last year, but if the usual trip down the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house doesn’t still not this year, here are some ideas to consider to start new traditions:

Pin the feather on the turkey: the same rules apply here as in the old group eve, Pin the tail on the donkey. In addition to a great turkey decoration, the materials needed include feathers (available at a craft store or cut from construction paper), double-sided tape, and a blindfold bandana.

Thanksgiving Bingo: Search online for free printable Turkey-themed bingo cards and download a handful, or even search for virtual versions of this classic game that can be played long-distance via Zoom video conferencing.

Board Games: Everyone turns off and puts away phones and tablets and goes back in time for old-fashioned fun with games like Chinese Checkers, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Pictionary, Monopoly, Family Feud or Uno, for name only one.

Coloring Pages: Many of these pages are available online and downloadable for free. Get out the crayons, crayons or markers and have a family coloring contest. Everybody wins !

Create a family tree: Take out a sheet of construction paper and a pencil and start adding branches and names. Explore your family history and see how far you can go.

Write thank you letters: Everyone thinks of someone they are especially grateful for this year. Hand out pens and paper and write a letter to that person explaining why they are special. Younger children can participate by having them dictate their letter to someone who can write it for them. When each person is finished, give them an envelope for their letter and a stamp.

Make Pumpkin Stress Balls: Get orange balloons and fill them with uncooked rice, tie a knot at the end, then use a black Sharpie to draw scary, scary, or funny faces.

Talent Show: Children and adults take turns performing various talents, such as quoting Shakespeare, singing, playing musical instrument, etc. Prizes may be awarded for outstanding performance. Don’t forget to let guests know about your talent show.

Movie Marathon: Hallmark presents its annual list of current holiday movies, and who can get enough of classics like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “Miracle on 34th Street”. Starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Parade is scheduled to air on NBC.

Puzzle Race: Putting together puzzles is a fun family activity. If there is a crowd at home, how about a race? Have some of the same puzzles on hand – not too many pieces; so not too difficult – pick teams and see who puts their puzzle together first.

Gratitude Alphabet Game: Everyone in turn, around the dinner table or elsewhere, shares something they are grateful for. Just one thing. The trick here is that the first person’s response must begin with the letter “A”, and the second person’s response must begin with the letter “B”, and so on. Continue until all the letters of the alphabet have been used.

A longstanding Thanksgiving tradition is NFL football on television. This year’s schedule includes Chicago vs. Detroit at 12:30 p.m. EST on FOX; Dallas vs. Las Vegas at 4:30 p.m. on CBS; and Buffalo vs. New Orleans at 8:20 a.m. on NBC.

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