Thanksgiving Games

pilgrim and indian line
Did the children at the Plymouth Colony Thanksgiving feast play these games? Could be! Some of them are very old.
(Relatively) Quiet Games
Noisy Games
Outdoor Games
Bird, Beast, or Fish
Corn Hunt
Corn Pitching
Cranberry Stringing
Odds or Evens
Thanksgiving Dinner
Turkey Hunt!
Twenty Questions
Where is Mr. Turkey?
Pumpkin Roll
Stool Ball
Do you have toddlers around? Then be sure to keep track of the small objects (beans, corn, needles, string, thread, etc.) in these games. Small objects can be "choking hazards" -- put them away far out of their reach.
brown line

pboy Bird, Beast, or Fish
You have to think fast for this game.
Everyone sits facing the leader. The leader points to one of the players and says either "BIRD," "BEAST," or "FISH." The chosen player must come up with the name of an animal that fits the category before the leader counts to ten. No repeating! If the player does not respond in time, she is out. The game continues until only one player remains. As you can guess, after a few rounds it can be hard to think of an animal that has not already been mentioned!

pgirl Corn Hunt
Warning! DO NOT play this game if you have or will have toddlers around! Any unfound kernels are a choking hazard!
Hide kernels of corn around the room. The larger dried corn used for birdfood is easier to use than popcorn. (Or you could use candy corn.) The goal of the game is to be the one to find the most kernels in a certain amount of time. You can use a timer and set a 3-minute limit. Or you might want to sing or play an appropriate song like The Chicken Dance. (midi)

iboy Corn Pitching
Use dried beans if you prefer.
You will need a good sized bowl and 6 kernels of corn (the kind used in bird feeders works better than popcorn). Each player takes turns pitching the corn kernels, one at a time, into the bowl from a set distance. Keep score of how many kernels end up in the bowl. The winner is the one with the highest score after three rounds.

hat Cranberry Stringing
Wear old clothes for this one -- cranberries can stain.
Each player will need a needle threaded with an 18-inch length of strong thread. Put a large knot at the end of the thread. Everyone sits around a bowl of cranberries. On the signal, everyone starts stringing the cranberries onto their threads. The first to fill the thread is the winner. You might want to try the game alternating popcorn and cranberries. Hang the completed cranberry strings outside as a treat for the birds.

pumpkin Odds or Evens
A quiet game for two players
Each player starts out with the same number of small beans, pebbles, buttons, or marbles. One player hides a few of his beans in his hand. The other player must guess if the number of hidden beans is odd or even. If he guesses correctly, he may add the beans to his pile. The players take turns hiding and guessing, until one player has all the beans!

drumstick Thanksgiving Dinner
You need a good memory for this one.
The players sit in a circle. The first player starts by saying, "At my Thanksgiving dinner I ate turkey." The next player must repeat this and add another dish, "At my Thanksgiving dinner I ate turkey and bread stuffing." The third player must repeat it and add yet another dish, "At my Thanksgiving dinner I ate turkey, bread stuffing, and sweet potatoes." The game continues with each player adding an item to the menu after first listing all the previous items in the exact order they were first said. If a player makes a mistake he drops out and the game continues until there is just one mnemonic expert left.

turkey Turkey Hunt!
Shhh! Hunt very quietly. You don't want to scare the turkeys...
On a dozen or so index cards, draw or paste a picture of a turkey. To play, everyone leaves the room except the leader. The leader hides the cards around the room. The hunters come back in to begin the hunt. As each turkey is found, it is brought back to the leader who corrals them in a separate pile for each hunter. When all the turkeys have been found, the hunter with the most turkeys is the winner and becomes the leader for the next round.

pilgrim girl Twenty Questions
Choose someone or something related to Thanksgiving.
This is a fine old traditional game. One player says he is thinking of something. The other player then tries to guess what it is by asking no more than twenty questions which can be answered "yes," "no," or "I don't know."

turkey Where is Mr. Turkey?
A noisy variation on "Hide the Button"
One player is the hunter and the others are helpers. The hunter leaves the room. The helpers hide a small toy turkey. The hunter returns and starts to search for Mr. Turkey. The helpers gobble to give the hunter clues to Mr. Turkey's hiding place. If the hunter is not close, the helpers gobble very quietly. As the hunter gets closer, the helpers gobble more and more loudly until Mr. Turkey is found!

hat Cornucopia
The old "Fruit Basket" game with a Thanksgiving name.
The players sit on chairs forming a circle. There should be one more player than there are chairs. The player without a chair is the leader. The leader points to each of the other players and gives them a name, such as "Squash," "Corn," "Apple," "Turkey," anything related to Thanksgiving.

After everyone is named, the leader calls out two of the names, "Corn and Apple." Those two players must quickly switch places. The leader continues calling like this (keeping up a brisk pace) until suddenly she says "The cornucopia has tipped over!" Everyone, including the leader, then scrambles for a new place. The one who ends up without a seat is the new leader.

The leader may give the same name to more than one person. This makes the switching of places a little more confusing and a lot more exciting.

pumpkinPumpkin Roll
A silly old outdoor race
This is a simple race but since pumpkins are not nice smooth balls and refuse to roll in nice straight lines, you will need plenty of wandering room! If you need to play inside, use small pumpkins.

You need two large pumblins and two sturdy sticks. The racers, line up on the starting line with the pumpkins turned on their sides. On the signal, the racers use the stick to roll the pumpkins to the finish line. Younger players may want to use their hands instead of the stick. If you want to play this as teams, make it a relay race.

iboyStool Ball
An old outdoor game
You will need a light-weight three-legged stool, a soccer ball, and a strong stick for this game.

Place the stool in the middle of the yard. One player, the stoolie, is given the stick and must defend the stool. The others stand behind a line about 10 to 15 feet away. Each player takes a turn at trying to knock over the stool by throwing the ball at it. The stoolie uses the stick to bat the ball away. The one who knocks over the stool becomes the new stoolie.

There are many variations to this game and you can make up your own. Instead of a stick the stoolie might knock the ball away using any part of the body except the hands. Or two balls might be used and the players stand in a circle around the stoolie and stool with both balls trying to knock down the stool at the same time. Another variation is to use a crocquet-size ball and try to roll it between the legs of the stool.

brown line


Pilgrim and Indian line and buttons from Billy Bear's Playground
Midi downloaded from alt.binaries.midi newsgroup (sequencer unknown).
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maintained by Rosie Winters Part of the Internet@Night website.