14+ Brilliant Ways to Guarantee Family Fun This November

Christmas seems to come quicker and quicker every year. The Halloween candy is barely on the shelves before stores start displaying Santas and Christmas Trees. Poor Thanksgiving seems to get lost in shuffle. I’m one of those moms that refuses to break out the holiday cheer before Thanksgiving is over.

With 8 kids and most that are usually too “cool” for family time, creating a Thanksgiving Bucket List that they’ll all enjoy without someone running for the hills warranted a Pumpkin Beer or two after!

This list is full of easy and fun ideas to check off that even the “coolest” kids will enjoy (as long as you don’t tell their friends). Feel free to print it and use it to make your own memories!

This post may contain affiliate links. Hey, I gotta make money somehow so if you buy something, I may make a small commission at no cost to you. 

1. Have a Movie Night

Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. This classic film is a must have for our family during Thanksgiving.

2. Nerf Gun Turkey Shoot

Surprise your kids with a stuffed turkey hunt! Grab some Nerf Guns and let them play until Thanksgiving dinner is ready. Try hiding the turkeys and teaming up!

If you don’t have time to grab stuffies, check out what A Girl and a Glue Gun did with balloons!

3. Collect & Donate Canned Goods

During the holidays, we really try to stress to our kids that giving feels so much better than receiving. There are so many families that will go without a Thanksgiving Dinner. Start a Family Service Project by collecting canned goods to donate to a local food bank.

Not sure where to donate? Head on over to Ample Harvest to find a food pantry near you!

4. Make a Thanksgiving Snack Mix

I don’t know about your family, but my family LOVES snack mixes! Easy Snack Mixes that require no cooking or baking are the BEST for busy moms!

Here are my TOP 5 FAVORITE Fall Snack Mixes:

  1.  Pumpkin Spice Caramel Chex Mix by Little Dairy on the Prairie
  2.  Harvest Caramel Corn by Two Sisters
  3. S’Mores Snack Mix by Princess Pinky Girl
  4.  Apple Pie Fall Harvest Snack Mix by The Salty Marshmallow
  5.  Easy No-Bake Fall Snack Mix by Crayons & Cravings

5. Have a Fall Family Photo Shoot

Time flies! I already have an 18-year old and sadly, I don’t feel like I have many pictures of him during holidays. This year, I’m making a point to go out and take pictures with the Fall scenery. I mean, we live in Maine. People come from all over just to “peep” at our foliage!

UPDATE: It’s now a WINTER PHOTO SHOOT with the snowfall here in the Northeast. Missed it again…shucks!

If you're not a professional photographer, Today has an awesome post with some tips and tricks for capturing the perfect Fall Family Photo.

6. Read a Thanksgiving Book…or 10!

We LOVE reading! It may be the homeschoolers in us, but there is nothing better than snuggling on the couch reading a book at the end of the day. I’m always on the hunt for books that we can enjoy during holidays.

Can I just buy ALL the Thanksgiving Books please!?!

Peek at our families 5 FAVORITE Thanksgiving Books:

7. Play a Thanksgiving Game

I’ve never thought to play a Thanksgiving Game before! Usually, I’m so overwhelmed with preparing the meal that I forget to take a minute and enjoy the time with my family.

I added a bunch of games to my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board that we are going to try this year!

Here’s my TOP 5 FAVORITE Thanksgiving Games to try this year:

  1.  Face the Pie  by Play. Party. Plan,
  2.  Stuff the Turkey Thanksgiving Game for Kids by Kid Friendly Things to Do
  3. Turkey Trivia by Craftaholics Anonymous
  4. Thanksgiving Pictionary Game by Somewhat Simple
  5.  Thanksgiving Turkey Baster Relay by Happy Home Fairy

8. Make Fall Scented Slime

If your kids are anything like mine, slime has become a staple in your house!

I have lost all my plastic containers, glue, contact solution and even laundry detergent to the slime monsters!

Here are 5 Slime Recipes my kids just HAD TO MAKE this Fall:

  1.  Fall Slime Recipe (super easy) by Teaching Mama
  2. Easy to Make Fall Slime Recipe for Kids (Science and Sensory Play) by Little Bins Little Hands
  3.  Fluffy Pumpkin Slime by The Best Ideas for Kids
  4. Pumpkin Guts Slime by Kimspired DIY
  5. Caramel Apple Slime Recipe by Natural Beach Living

9. Create a Thankful Jar

Thankful Jars are so easy to make. All you need is a jar, paper and pen.

Set out a jar for each member of the family so they can either write what they are thankful for, or have other family members write why they are thankful for them. It’s good to keep them and pull out when they are feeling a bit blue.

10. Make a Turkey Craft

Turkey Crafts are so much fun! You can make food, paper crafts, no-sew crafts. The options are endless! I like Easy Turkey Crafts for my little ones. You can also make Thanksgiving Crafts.

My TOP 5 FAVORITE Turkey Crafts:

  1. Easy Turkey Donuts by Morgan Manages Mommyhood
  2. Paper Plate Turkey Craft for Kids by Mess for Less
  3. Handprint and Footprint Turkey: An Adorable Thanksgiving Craft for Kids by a Little Pinch of Perfect
  4. Nutter Butter Turkey Cookies by I Heart Naptime
  5. Toilet Paper Roll Turkey Craft with Leaves by Easy Peasy and Fun

11. Bake a Pumpkin Pie

Every Thanksgiving, I am so busy trying to cook for my huge family that I end up screaming at the kids to get out of the kitchen. We seem to forget that baking can be an amazing bonding experience. This year, I am going to make sure to take more time and let the kids in to help me.  That's one memory they won't ever forget!

12. Pinecone Crafts

Living in Maine, pinecones are not lacking. We usually have a big bag full of them just for crafting! My kids love pinecones because they are like snowflakes. No two are the same.

Check out 5 of our FAVORITE Pinecone Crafts:

  1. Pinecone Owl Craft by Thirty-One (with template)
  2. Pinecone Bird Feeder by Mom. Wife. Busy Life
  3. Pinecone Turkeys by a Pumpkin & a Princess
  4. DIY Cinnamon Scented Pinecones by A Few Shortcuts
  5. Pinecone Christmas Tree by Christmas Around the World


If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm kinda a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. It's not my favorite holiday because there is so much work involved and expectations are so high.  We usually don't put the tree up until right before Christmas.  I am letting go of the Mommy guilt and inviting my kids to put up the Christmas Tree while I prepare our meal.

Every year, I fuss about the ornaments not being in the right place. I'm going to

"Let it Go, Let it Gooooo"

and let the kids have fun. It's their holiday too!

14. Leaf Painting

Leaf painting is a super easy craft for even the littlest kiddos. You can even laminate their work and save it for future decorations. One of my favorite things to do is laminate their creation and use them for Thanksgiving place mats. Or, we hang them in our big window to show off their work!

Here are 5 Leaf Crafts that my kids LOVE:

  1. Autumn Leaf Painting by Craft Ideas for Kids
  2. Painting Leaves by Simple Fun for Kids
  3. Fun and Easy Leaf People Craft by My Mommy Style
  4. Fall Leaf Painting with Watercolors & Glitter  by Projects with Kids
  5. Rainbow Silhouette Leaf Art by Arty Crafty Kids


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