Enjoy these Thanksgiving-themed activities! If you live in a part of the world where the holiday has past or is not recognized at all, most of these activities can easily be adapted to meet your needs (simply change the name and eliminate the references to turkey). Regardless of what your celebrate, we can all find things to be thankful for at any time of the year. Good luck!
1) Stuff the Turkey
Skill Concepts: Shooting, Chasing/Fleeing, Teamwork, Cardiovascular Endurance
Equipment: 2 MultiGoals; 10 balls; 6 hula hoops; 20 polyspots; 4 cones; pinnies
- Place the MultiGoals on opposite ends of the activity area. If using a basketball court, place the goals near the end lines.
- If there is not a line dividing the playing area in half, you will need to make a center line using additional polyspots or cones.
- Put 10 polyspots in a circle around each MultiGoal, spacing them approximately 3 yards (steps) away from the goal, to mark the goal area. This will be referred to as the “No Guarding Zone.”
- Make a square using 4 cones in opposite corners of the gym spacing them about 3 yards (steps) apart. These squares will be “Jail.”
- Scatter 2 hula hoops on each half. The hoops are called “Safety Circles.”
- Take the remaining two hula hoops and put one on each side of the gym in the opposite corners with respect to where the jails are. Place 5 balls in each of these 2 hoops.
- Divide the group into two teams and use pinnies to distinguish the teams.
How to Play:
- The game is called “Stuff the Turkey,” and is the opposite of Capture the Flag.
- The object of the game is to successfully get the 5 balls (“stuffing”) from the hula hoop on your side of the gym, to your goal on the opposite side of the gym. The ball must make it into the center of the MultiGoal (the “turkey”).
- Explain the rules of the game:
- Once you cross the center line, anyone on the other team can tag you.
- If you get tagged, you must go to jail.
- If you are holding a ball, you are NOT allowed to be a tagger. (Note: A player is not allowed to drop the ball, tag someone, and then pick it back up. Rather, that player must return the ball to their hula hoop or get it to their goal before they can help tag.)
- If you are carrying a ball when you get tagged, you must return it to your hula hoop before going to jail.
- If you throw or shoot a ball attempting to make a shot and you miss, then you are in jail (return the ball to your side).
- The circles around the goals are No Guarding Zones. The defense is NOT allowed inside this area. The offense can enter this area to make a goal, but the offense is not safe inside this area… if the defense tags you, go to jail.
- The 2 hula hoops on each side of the gym are Safety Circles. The defense cannot tag a player standing inside a hula hoop (limit 1 player per hoop).
- In order to be freed from jail, someone from that team must touch one of the 4 cones without being tagged. Once freed from jail, every person (including the player that freed jail) gets, and must take, a free walk back (all the way back to their side). They identify themselves by walking with their hands on their heads.
- Once a team successfully deposits all 5 of their balls into their goal, the game ends. Reset the game by having players return to their sides, put the balls back in the starting hoops, and you are ready to play again!
Check This Out
- If players become really good at this game and start to play too much defense, try limiting the number of taggers per side. Give foam noodles that are cut to an 18 inch length to 3-5 players on each side. These are the only players that can tag an opponent that crosses onto their side. After each round, switch taggers.
- Try this variation! Allow a player to throw a ball from their side of the field to someone in their jail in order to set them free. If the ball is caught everyone gets a free walk back, but if the ball is missed the player who threw it must return the ball to the hula hoop and then join the player(s) in jail.
2) Journey of the Mayflower
Skill Concepts: Throwing, Teamwork, Muscular Endurance
Equipment: Omnikin Balls; hula hoops; 20 cones; foam balls (at least 1 per player)
- Place a hula hoop in center of the playing area with the Omnikin ball inside (the Omnikin ball represents the Mayflower).
- Place ten polyspots/cones on both sides of the center line going parallel about 5 yards away. The area in the middle is the ocean.
- Divide group into two teams and have each team line up on opposite ends of the playing area.
- Select one player from each team to be the captain. Remind the group that only the bravest of players should volunteer for this job because the ocean can be rough at times (i.e. the balls will be flying around).
- Evenly divide the balls between the two teams.
How to Play:
- On your signal to start, players try to throw the foam balls at the Omnikin Ball.
- All players must remain behind the line of spots/cones. Only the 2 players selected should be in the ocean.
- The job of the captain is to collect the balls in the ocean and roll them back to their teammates. They are not allowed to touch the Omnikin Balls for any reason and they are not allowed to interfere with the balls that are being thrown/shot.
- A team wins when the Omnikin ball (“Mayflower”) touches land (the line of spots/cones).
Check This Out
- Add more than one Omnikin ball. These can be sisters of the Mayflower. This creates multiple targets for teams to throw toward.
3) Turkey Tag
Equipment: 3 pool noodles (cut to about 12 inches), small cones
- Create a playing area large enough for all players.
- Mark a space using the cones approximately 10×10 paces. This space can be anywhere the teacher finds most convenient. This will serve as the fence for the farm.
- Select 3 players to be “It” (they get the noodles). They are the farmers.
How to Play:
- Explain to students that wild turkeys can fly, but farm turkeys cannot. The reason is that wild turkeys get lots of exercise and eat a balance diet, where farm turkeys do not.
- When tagged (by a farmer), students must squat down and waddle like a turkey to the farm (squared off space of cones).
- In order to escape the farm (and get back into the game), the turkeys in the farm must exercise in order to build up enough strength to fly over the fence. Let students pick any exercise and do it 5-10 times (depending on age and fitness level).
4) Thanksgiving Stations
Make any stations you want and gear them toward the season. Here are some ideas.
Focus: Overhand throw
Set up large pieces of paper with 1 letter on each piece to spell “THANKS”. Place polyspots on the floor for throwers to stay behind.
Object is to throw the fleece ball at the “T”. Once students have hit the “T” they move down to the “H” and so on to hit every letter and spell out the word THANKS.
“STUFF THE TURKEY”
Focus: Underhand toss
Cut out a picture of a turkey and tape it to an empty bucket. Use bean bags as the stuffing.
Object is to toss the stuffing (bean bags) into the turkey (bucket) to stuff him for Thanksgiving Day.
Focus: jumping, landing
Scatter the stepping stones (or poly spots can serve as a substitute) in a small area of the floor.
The object is to have the students jump from one potato to the next to mash them.
“CAPTURE THE TURKEY”
Decorate white balloons with a magic marker with a face and colored tail feathers. Give students a small paddle.
Object is to see how long students can keep the turkey (balloons) flying (in the air) using the paddles.
5) Turkey Trot Obstacle Course
Set up a course with various obstacles or tasks along the way.
Examples: hula hoops jump through, mats to climb over, exercises to perform, tunnels to crawl through, targets to throw at, etc. Use whatever equipment you have to make any stations that will be fun for your students!