For some of us, Thanksgiving might be the first time in a while that we’re getting together with our extended family. Planning a holiday can be exciting, but also stressful, for parents. Not to mention, you have to keep the kids busy since they’re on break.
Take a look at our Thanksgiving guide below to help make your planning a little bit easier. We’ve rounded up our favorite Thanksgiving break activities, ways to give back and how to prepare for at-home celebrations. Have a happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving break activities
Your kids have a few extra days off and you might want to take advantage of the free time in Chicagoland. Here are some Thanksgiving break activities to try.
The Chicago Thanksgiving Parade kicks off the day early Nov. 24. See balloons, bands and entertainers move down State Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph Street. Find more local events during Thanksgiving break on our calendar.
Enjoy holiday activities
Welcome back the holiday season! Many of your Chicagoland holiday attractions are already open for families to enjoy. Find our complete list of local holiday activities, including holiday lights, Santa visits and more.
Museums are open during Thanksgiving break with plenty of new exhibits for families. Our favorites include The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle at Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, The Art of Brick and Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Lights at the Museum of Science and Industry and Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories at the Field Museum.
Focus on gratitude during the Thanksgiving season. It’s important to teach our children values around giving back to our community and helping others. We have some ideas on where to start.
From mindful yoga to a thankfulness chain, here are a few games and ideas to do as a family to jump-start your thankfulness and appreciation as Thanksgiving approaches.
Our children might understand that there are kids around their age that need help. Your family can learn more and support a children’s charity that directly assists local families and children. We also suggest checking out Thrive, a non-profit founded by Midwest mom Gina Gabel. With just $10 per month, you can feed a child for a year, in Bangladesh and the Philippines.
November is a popular time where families reach out to help others. We have a list of local organizations that offer options for adults to participate with their kids.
Here are some ways to have a great time with your family while at home.
One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the food, of course. We asked Chicago chefs to give us some tips and tricks for preparing the turkey, mashed potatoes, desserts and more. Here’s a unique recipe to add to your Thanksgiving menu — Twice-Baked Acorn Squash with Maple Butter and Pecans.
Set the kids table up with crafts, snacks, décor, fun centerpieces and new Thanksgiving traditions they can try. Get your kids to help set things up just how they like it.
If you can’t make it downtown to see the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade in person, get cozy on the couch to watch it together. You can even print out these Bingo cards by FamilyEducation and make a game out of it.
Every holiday is worth celebrating with the clinking of glasses. We’ve rounded up our favorite holiday mocktail recipes that both kids and parents will enjoy. For a Thanksgiving cocktail just for parents, check out this Fresh Fruit Harvest Sangria from Sugar with Spice.
Add some holiday books to your at-home library. Don’t forget, November is Native American Heritage Month and we have some great Native American children’s books to add to your collection, too.
Print out this gratitude scavenger hunt and walk around after your meal to find things on the list you’re grateful for. The hunt is put together by Let’s Get Together. Also, try the Gratitude Pick-Up Game from Teach Beside Me, which puts a spin on the Pick-Up Sticks game.