9 Thanksgiving Games You Can Play Outdoors

Thanksgiving outside? In the cold?! While it might seem far-fetched for those accustomed to a frosty November, in some parts of the country, an outdoor Thanksgiving is not just a possibility but a delightful opportunity. Imagine the crisp air filled with the scent of autumn leaves, a golden afternoon sun setting the stage for a memorable feast under the open sky. 

If you’re one of the lucky ones blessed with such idyllic weather, or if you’re simply brave enough to layer up and embrace the chill, then outdoor games can transform your holiday gathering into an active, fun-filled event. Let’s take a look at some classic games with a Thanksgiving holiday twist that are great for the outdoors.

Thanksgiving Themed Games You Can Play Outside

Turkey Touchdown- Flag Football 

Football has become synonymous with Thanksgiving, and it’s no wonder why. On a crisp autumn day, there’s something truly special about getting together with family and friends for a competitive game of flag football. But what if we told you that you could take your Thanksgiving football tradition to a whole new level of fun and festivity?

Picture this: Instead of the usual flags, imagine using turkey feathers affixed to players’ shirts or tucked into the backs of their pants. That’s right—turkey feathers! In this whimsical twist on flag football, you won’t be pulling a flag to “tackle” someone; you’ll be plucking a feather.

So, when you’re planning your Thanksgiving gathering, consider adding this Thanksgiving twist to your flag football game. It’s a fantastic way to combine outdoor fun with the holiday’s festive spirit, creating lasting memories and bringing joy to all who participate. Whether you’re sprinting for feathers or watching with a smile, this game is sure to make your Thanksgiving extra special.

Related: Office Thanksgiving Party Games

Corn Hole – Pilgrim Style

Did you know that the Native Americans who helped the pilgrims taught them to use fish to fertilize their corn? Fish is still used as an organic fertilizer option today! This scientific factoid is the basis for a funky twist to traditional Cornhole.

In this historic and scientific variation of Cornhole, you add a fifth “bag” to the contest. This additional bag is the “fish”. If a player gets a bag into the hole, they have the option to throw the “fish” and increase their score. If they successfully toss the “fish” into the hole, the other player must Forfeit the rest of their bags That round. If the player does not successfully toss the “fish” in the hole they must forfeit the rest of their bags for that round. 

The game’s inspiration from Native American farming practices adds a historical and educational dimension to your Thanksgiving celebration. It’s a fun way to pay homage to the agricultural wisdom shared between Native Americans and Pilgrims.

While traditional Cornhole is beloved for its simplicity, making it a staple of outdoor gatherings. By introducing the “fish” bag, you’re adding a touch of whimsy to the classic game, making it even more engaging and memorable.

Cornhusking Race

Make your ancestors proud by showing how fast you can husk an ear of corn. Skilled that what could’ve been extremely valuable many years ago can make for an exhilarating family confrontation. 

The Cornhusking Race pays homage to the agrarian roots of Thanksgiving, connecting you and your guests with the ancestral traditions of early settlers and Native Americans. It’s a wonderful way to honor the past while celebrating the present.

This race will require dexterity and grit. Players will rush to husk a dozen ears of corn before the other competitors. It’s a high-energy contest that keeps everyone engaged and eager to see who will emerge as the cornhusking champion.

Not only does this make a unique form of competition, it is also a great way to have others help prepare the meal!

Pumpkin Tossing

After Halloween and Thanksgiving, you may find yourself with a surplus of pumpkins. Pumpkin Tossing is the perfect way to make creative and entertaining use of these seasonal decorations that might otherwise go to waste.

Thanksgiving is a time for friendly competition, and Pumpkin Tossing delivers just that. Friends and family can compete to see who can throw a pumpkin the furthest, highest, or create the most spectacular explosion.

There’s something oddly satisfying about watching a pumpkin explode upon impact. Pumpkin Tossing adds an exciting and almost cathartic element to your Thanksgiving celebration as pumpkins burst open, scattering debris across the lawn.

Pumpkin Tossing is sure to become a unique and memorable tradition that can become a cherished part of your Thanksgiving gatherings. It’s an activity that everyone will look forward to year after year.

Turkey bowling

Thanksgiving is a time to break away from the ordinary, and what could be more unconventional than using a 25-pound turkey as a bowling ball? It’s an unexpected and wildly entertaining way to infuse a dose of fun into your celebration.

Setting up a Turkey Bowling lane is relatively straightforward. All you need is a short lane, some pins, and, of course, the star of the show—a turkey. It’s a low-effort, high-reward activity.

So, if you’re seeking a unique and memorable way to spice up your Thanksgiving celebration, consider introducing Turkey Bowling. It’s a hilarious, one-of-a-kind activity that embodies the spirit of fun and laughter while paying tribute to the iconic Thanksgiving turkey. Whether you’re rolling strikes or enjoying the spectacle, Turkey Bowling is bound to make your Thanksgiving gathering extra special. Happy bowling and a wonderful Thanksgiving to all!

Bobbing for Apples Relay

Bobbing for apples alone is a classic fall activity dripping with Americana. But let’s be honest the classic game alone does not make for an exciting form of entertainment. If you add a relay aspect to the game, you can count on a hilariously good time.

The setup for this game is simple. You will need to start with the obvious bucket of water filled with delicious apples like you would for a traditional game. Split into even teams. 5-6 on a team will work well. You will need a bucket with apples for each team. 

The teams line up in a single file with the lead teammate standing in front of their bucket. When the referee yells “Go”, the teammate in front dives their face into the bucket to retrieve an apple using only their mouth. When they grab one, they must pass the apple to their teammate next in line, again using only their mouth. The next teammate must take the apple using only their mouth. This continues until the apple is passed onto each teammate. The last teammate then drops the apple into an empty bucket at the end of the line. 

Whichever team successfully transfers all their apples first wins!

Bocce Ball with Gourds

Bocce ball offers a competition in which almost anyone can compete. This simple and classic game is a great way for your family to enjoy the pleasant surprise of nice weather on a Thanksgiving weekend. Using your decorative pumpkins and gourds is the perfect way to both put a seasonal twist on this game and clear out the fall decor to make room for your Christmas decorations!

Here is how to play:

  • Gather 8 pumpkins or gourds (4 of similar color for each team)
  • A smaller pumpkin or gourd as the ‘pallino’ (target ball)
  • A flat outdoor playing surface
  • Measuring tape

The objective of Pumpkin & Gourd Bocce Ball is to score points by tossing your team’s pumpkins or gourds as close as possible to the pallino while knocking opponents’ pumpkins or gourds away.

Traditional Bocce ball rules and scoring apply. If you are not familiar, check out the full rules in this video:


Lacrosse is a sport that is loosely based on a traditional Native American game. Some scholars believe that it is likely the native American tribes that interacted with the pilgrims shared this game with them.

If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving gathering as you want to provide an educational and truly fun experience for the kids, introduce them to This popular game. It does require some equipment like goals and “sticks“, But you can find Relatively Inexpensive options for kids. 

Another great benefit is the physical activity. Obviously, Thanksgiving gatherings often involve indulgent feasting, so including a physical activity like Lacrosse is a great way for kids to stay active and burn off some energy while having fun.

Turkey Toss for Kids

Waiting to eat can be hard for adults let alone kids. The Turkey Toss Game Banner is a fantastic addition to any Thanksgiving gathering with its kid-friendly appeal. Children will be entertained while waiting for meal time by taking turns tossing bean bags at the brightly colored banner, and cheering each other on as they aim for the pumpkins and turkeys. 

This simple yet engaging activity not only gets the kids moving and enjoying the outdoors but also sparks their competitive spirit in a fun and festive way. It’s an uncomplicated game that doesn’t require much setup, making it a stress-free choice for parents looking to keep their little ones entertained. With laughter and friendly competition, the Turkey Toss will quickly become a holiday favorite among the kids.


Thanksgiving is a time for family, gratefulness, and when the weather is right, the great outdoors! These unique games will provide a fun way for your gathering to enjoy a festive and seasonal game outdoors.

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