8 Thanksgiving Break Activities for Chicago Families

Not only does Thanksgiving mean you’ll soon be eating to your heart’s desire, it also means the kids are off from school for a few days. While Thanksgiving is different this year, there’s still plenty to do at home with your family for the week.

Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check before heading out for the most updated information on ticket availability, safety precautions and any last-minute closings. Stay safe!

Order takeout.

Don’t stress about cooking on Thanksgiving Day. Have someone else do the work for you! Place a carry-out order at one of your favorite restaurants. Travelle at The Langham and Found Kitchen & Social House are offering special Thanksgiving dinners for families. Here are some more Thanksgiving takeout options near you.

Volunteer together.

It is the season of giving so how about teaching the kids about compassion and helping others by volunteering together over the holiday? Even with the pandemic, there are still safe options for families to give back like donating toys for kids in need or hosting a virtual food drive. Here are some family volunteering opportunities to try.

Be a tourist (virtually).

While many of our favorite attractions are closed during Thanksgiving break, you can still enjoy their virtual experiences. Some examples include Virtual Aquarium Adventures with Shedd Aquarium and a behind-the-scenes look of Museum of Science & Industry Chicago’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light.

Watch a movie.

Image one courtesy of Netflix, image two from Science Sparks

Even if you’re planning to stay in for Thanksgiving, catch up on your streaming services. Netflix already premiered Over the Moon about a girl who travels to space to meet the moon goddess and this month released a new family holiday movie, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. If you’re looking for a new series to watch, Hulu is releasing a reboot of Animanics (Nov. 20).

Honor Native Americans.

Photo Credit: Adam Sings in the Timber

Thanksgiving is focused on family and gratitude, but teaching your kids about of Native Americans during this time is simple. Dr. Meranda Roberts, a Native American educator and one of the curators of the Apsáalooke Women and Warriors exhibit at the Field Museum, gives parents some helpful advice.

Craft it out.

If you’re looking for some Thanksgiving decor, consider these cute little turkey pumpkins. You can even use them use them as place cards for your dinner table! You can find more kid-friendly turkey crafts on Metro Parent.

Go shopping.

Whether you go crazy on Black Friday or support local shops on Small Business Saturday, get a head start on your holiday shopping. We’re sure the kids already have ideas for gifts—check out our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide featuring the best 50 toys under $50. Even if you’re at home, there are still plenty of ways to support small businesses.

Shine bright.

Seeing twinkling lights is a great way to get into the holiday mood. One of the newest holiday light attractions is Let it Shine, a drive-through lights show in the North Shore. Of course, you’ll start seeing many neighborhoods putting up their own holiday displays during Thanksgiving week. Take our free Holiday Scavenger Hunt with you to spot lights and other fun decorations.


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