Creative Thanksgiving Ideas for Your Youth Group

Thanksgiving is a time for coming together, enjoying each other’s company, eating some great food, and being grateful for the impact of those around you. These are all nice things, sure, but if you’re in youth ministry, the warm fuzzy feelings won’t last more than a few minutes with your students.

Real-time look at middle schoolers whenever you try to have a conversation with them…

While we don’t think ministries should rely on games and activities in order to be impactful, they certainly don’t hurt. Here are some fun Thanksgiving activities (and one more meaningful one) that your group will love: 

Turkey bowling

Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. Grab a frozen turkey (or frozen whole chicken because turkeys get pricey), set up empty two liter bottles, and knock ‘em down! If you’re not afraid to get a little messy, do this event outside with full two liter bottles. The harder someone hits the bottles, the bigger the spray. 

Stuffing sculptures 

This is a great way to use a whole bunch of leftover stuffing. (Why is there always so much leftover stuffing??) Give each participant a mound of stuffing, a bit of water to shape the stuffing, and have them sculpt anything. You can create a theme they have to follow or leave it a free-for-all. Actually, now that we think about it, you might want to have a theme. If you don’t want to use stuffing, you can use canned cranberry sauce. Have napkins, paper towels, and wet wipes at the ready. 

Jimmy Fallon-inspired Thank You notes

We love this segment on Fallon. Thanking random inanimate objects? Hilarious!

Play a couple clips from the show to get your students in the creative mood, give them a sheet of paper, and have them jot down thank yous to random objects, people, or places. We even found the iconic piano music for you to play while they write! For an added twist, have them submit their thank yous to be read on stage by you, and then have the kids guess who wrote the note. (This gives group leaders the chance to screen the notes as well, juuuuust in case.)

Local mission project

We promised there would be one genuine, heartfelt activity in here! Your group is likely doing ministry work throughout the year, but we can’t stress enough how important volunteers are during the holiday season. An easy way to get involved is signing up for a timeslot to serve at your local food bank. There’s typically an increase in donations and also an increased need for food banks during the holiday season. Get your kids together and surprise them with the ability to serve others, even if they never see them face-to-face. Packing and moving boxes also gives your more active/high-energy kids the chance to do something physical. 

Whether you’re planning a fun fall festival or a local mission project to give back, consider snagging some super-soft long sleeve tees for your group. You can use them as giveaways at Thanksgiving events or to help your volunteer group represent your ministry. We’re currently running our Fall 2021 special on ultra soft long sleeve tees, zip hoodies, and pullovers! Get started with your fall group shirts quote or contact our team at for more info.