Thanksgiving at Home Ideas, Scavenger Hunt, Books, and Traditions

It’s turkey time! Without traveling this year, I have been brainstorming ways to keep everyone busy for our week at home together for Thanksgiving. There are tons of ideas in the list below that I’m excited about doing with my family, starting with the scavenger hunt!

Don’t forget to check out our round-up of local restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinners, too!

This article is sponsored by Dream Chasers.

Dream Chasers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists to empower youth to overcome their obstacles and chase their dreams. Their vision is to reach any youth in any setting, and so they offer a variety of programming options to empower kids to be Dream Chasers.

Their Spark at-home program makes the Dream Chaser message available to anyone, anywhere. It’s designed for kids of all ages to engage in meaningful personal development and fun challenges. There are 20 lessons with digital content, a toolkit with supplies to complete challenges, and a workbook to guide your kids through thoughtful discussions and thought processes for self-discovery to empower them with helpful life skills.

You can also donate a Spark curriculum to local schools and families! There is a school in Chicago that would like to do the program and is looking for funding. Click here to donate or email Ryan McLaughlin if you are interested in giving.

Be you! Dream Big! www.dreamchasers.org/spark

Thanksgiving Takeout and Meals

Our guide to local restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinners and family meals is so large that we decided to break it out into a separate article so you can share that as well! Click here to be taken to Thanksgiving takeout and meals/sides to go.

Fun Ideas for Thanksgiving 2020

Gratitude Scavenger Hunt

Click on the image below for the full version and print it out to fill out the gratitude scavenger hunt with your kids! Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @kidlist #mykidlist to share your adventures and photos.

Local Things to Do the Week of Thanksgiving 2020

Day Off Fun (Addison)
November 23, 2020 | 7:00am – 6:00pm
Register early.

School’s Out! (Bloomingdale)
November 23, 2020 | 8:30am – 12:00pm or 8:30am – 3:30pm
Register in advance.

School Day In: Mad Science (Oakbrook Terrace)
November 23, 2020 | 8:30am – 3:30pm
Register in advance.

Turkey Day Art and Play (Geneva)
November 23, 2020 | 10:40am – 12:10pm
Register in advance.

Stuffed Snowman (Naperville)
November 23, 2020 | 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Register in advance.

Take It Tuesday! (Clarendon Hills Public Library)
November 24, 2020 | all day
Until supplies last.

Day Off Fun (Addison)
November 24, 2020 | 7:00am – 6:00pm
Register early.

School’s Out! (Bloomingdale)
November 24, 2020 | 8:30am – 12:00pm or 8:30am – 3:30pm
Register in advance.

School Day In: Fun with Food (Oakbrook Terrace)
November 24, 2020 | 8:30am – 3:30pm
Register in advance.

Day Off Fun (Addison)
November 25, 2020 | 7:00am – 6:00pm
Register early.

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School’s Out! (Bloomingdale)
November 25, 2020 | 8:30am – 12:00pm or 8:30am – 3:30pm
Register in advance.

School Day In: Thanksgiving Fun (Oakbrook Terrace)
November 25, 2020 | 8:30am – 3:30pm
Register in advance.

NaturePlay Day (Downers Grove)
November 25, 2020 | 9:00am – 12:00pm or 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Register in advance.

Turkey Camp (Warrenville)
November 25, 2020 | 9:00am – 3:00pm with before/after care options
Register in advance.

Bookworms (Cosley Zoo, Wheaton)
November 25, 2020 | 9:30am – 10:00am
Register in advance.

Giggle and Wiggle (Geneva)
November 25, 2020 | 9:30am – 10:15am
Register in advance.

Friendsgiving Party (Bolingbrook)
November 25, 2020 | 10:00am – 12:00pm
Register in advance.

Open Nature Play Day (Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center, Chicago)
November 25, 2020 | 10:30am – 11:30am
Registration is required.

Turkey Trot (Glen Ellyn)
November 26, 2020 | time TBD

Holiday Homecoming (St. Charles)
November 27, 2020 | times TBD

Family Nature & Forest Therapy Walk (Glen Ellyn)
November 27, 2020 | 9:00am – 10:30am

Happy Barksgiving One-Day Camp (Naperville Area Humane Society)
November 27, 2020 | 9:00am – 12:00pm

Annual Turkey Trot Hike (Trailside Museum of Natural History, River Forest)
November 27, 2020 | 1:00pm

Small Business Saturday!
November 28, 2020 | all day

Holiday Homecoming (St. Charles)
November 28, 2020 | times TBD

Rotary Club Ugly Sweater 5K (Westmont)
November 28, 2020 | 9:00am 
Register in advance.

Finding Christmas (Kidstreet Play Center, Lisle)
November 28, 2020 | 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Outdoor, walk-thru family event.

Full Moon Campfire Hike (Downers Grove)
November 28, 2020 | 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Register in advance.

Holiday Family Photos (Oak Park)
November 29, 2020 | 9:00am – 3:00pm
Register in advance for your 30-minute session.

Celebration of Lights Festival (Batavia Riverwalk)
November 29, 2020 | 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Ideas for Thanksgiving Traditions

Rachel’s Family Thanksgiving Traditions

“We usually run a Turkey Trot in the morning — but this year, we will run on our own! The day after Thanksgiving we put up our Christmas decorations, drink hot cocoa, and listen to carols.”

Jill B’s Family Thanksgiving Tradition

“I also love Thanksgiving. A few years ago, we started a “Today I am thankful for….” chalkboard that sits right on my kitchen counter. For the month of November, we take turns writing what we are thankful for, whether it is something big or little. And usually something funny from my husband pops up there from time to time.”

Click here to buy a framed chalkboard on Amazon.

Nicole’s Family Thanksgiving Traditions

“Each year, we stamp the kids’ handprints on Thanksgiving table cloths and draw in legs, a beak, and gobbler to make them into turkeys with the year under it. We gave one to each grandparent the first thanksgiving and collect them back each year to add this year’s handprint turkey. As more of our siblings have kids, we pass around the table cloth each November for the kids to add their handprints to. On Thanksgiving we place it on the dinner table and we see how much the kids have grown and our family has expanded.

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Our second tradition is similar to every else’s. We add something we are Thankful for to a scroll of butcher paper. I roll it up each day to hide how long it’s getting. On Thanksgiving breakfast we unroll the butcher paper across the table and read our huge scroll as we eat breakfast!”

Annie’s Family Thanksgiving Tradition

“Each of us writes a list of the things they are and were thankful for over the last year. We have been making our lists and discussing them during our Thanksgiving feast every year! We actually have a binder of all the lists from past years to be able to look back at all our blessings. And now it’s even more exciting to write the thankful lists with my kids… sometimes they come up with the most hilarious things to be thankful for, small things that I would never even think of, immensely profound things, and sometimes they say things that I’m so glad I have written down and will warm my heart forever.”

Charlotte’s Family Thanksgiving Tradition

“This year we are trying a project I saw on the Instagram account @busytoddler. We are making a thankful turkey. I made a brown paper turkey body. Every day (or whenever we remember) we write one thing we are grateful for on a construction paper feather and add it to make the turkey’s tail. By Thanksgiving it will have a full tail and we will have reminders of big and little things that make us grateful.”

Katie’s Family Thanksgiving Tradition

“After we eat, we all sit together and watch the same Thanksgiving episode of an old 90’s sitcom (anyone remember “Mad About You”?)”

More Family Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas

The following ideas were shared from past members of the Kidlist team we love them (and their ideas)!

Write things you are thankful for on paper leaves and attach them to a tree in the center of your table. – Claudia

Print out a favorite photo from that year for each person that will sit at your table and place each photo under their plate. Everyone goes around and shares the photo and it turns into a great way to remember special times together that year! – Meghan

Favorite Thanksgiving Books

Head over to your local library to find these books, check with your locally owned bookstore, or order on Amazon by clicking on the titles below.

Thanksgiving Picture Books

Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes
At Thanksgiving time, children express their gratitude for the people and things in their lives.

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ by Eileen Spinelli
When calamity stalks every step of the preparations for the Tappletons’ Thanksgiving dinner, they realize that there is more to Thanksgiving than turkey and trimmings.

READ
Locally Owned Bookstores and Toy Stores Offering Curbside Pickup and Delivery!

Thanksgiving Day Thanks by Laura Malone Elliott
Sam has trouble deciding what he is grateful for during a Thanksgiving-themed classroom assignment.

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting
Mr. and Mrs. Moose try to invite a turkey to their Thanksgiving feast.

Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules
When Tuyet finds out that her Vietnamese family is having duck rather than turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, she is upset until she finds out that other children in her class did not eat turkey either.

Beginning Readers and Early Chapter Books

Katie Saves Thanksgiving by Fran Manushkin
When a snowstorm causes the power to go out, Katie and her parents think their Thanksgiving dinner with JoJo and Pedro is ruined, but by being a good neighbor, Katie saves the day.

Trucksgiving by Jon Scieszka
The trucks of Trucktown create their own annual day of giving thanks.

Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey by Herman Parish
When Amelia Bedelia volunteers to fill in as director of a third-grade Thanksgiving play, she misunderstands everything from one girl’s desire to play a big role to an opening night wish that she “break a leg,” but all is well in the end.

Picture Books about Being Thankful

We Are Grateful: Ostaliheliga by Traci Sorell
Cherokee poet Traci Sorell celebrates traditions of gratitude in this beautifully illustrated book.

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
Bear thanks his friends for bringing food dishes to his dinner party and finds a way of sharing something of his own.

Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes
Thankfulness shines through these poems with beautiful illustrations.

Splat Says Thank You by Rob Scotton
Splat the Cat figures out how to let Seymour know that he’s thankful for their friendship.

The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
Easy-to-read text encourages the reader to find something every day for which to be thankful, from underwear that is just the right size to birthday cakes and the wishes they bring.

The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood
While learning the secret to a good life, a child says thank you for the natural world and for being loved, because a grateful heart is always happy.

Thank You, World by Alice McGinty
Eight children from eight different countries express their thanks for many special things including the sun that colors the sky, breezes that lift kites, clouds that paint cotton pictures and send rain, and sparkling stars that “shine like Mommy’s eyes.”

This article contains Amazon affiliate links, which means the cost is the same to you but Kidlist receives a small fee from Amazon. Your support is appreciated!


Be sure to check out local restaurants with Thanksgiving feasts, too!

About the Author

Nicole Majewski
Nicole and her family live in Bloomingdale. She is a former teacher and now stay at home mom of three adorable kids. Her family loves to be outside, exploring nature and getting dirty. In the winter months, you will find them at the local library or an indoor play place.

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