7 Thrilling Thanksgiving Games for Seniors – Something for Everyone!

Seven Thanksgiving games and activities for seniors and the elderly at home or in care facilities and nursing homes to be played with minimal assistance–best for seated or from a wheelchair, and are perfect for those with memory problems.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
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The turkey dinner is done and over with. So, instead of having everyone settle on the couch for a nap, maybe have some party games planned instead!

And, because the older generations of the family are around to celebrate Thanksgiving, you might want to find fun party games that are both age-appropriate and enjoyable.

This list of senior-friendly Thanksgiving games is perfect for a family gathering or potluck dinner! And, these fun games can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age – and they are an excellent way to bring everyone together.

Thanksgiving Dinner Games

There are many different games that people can enjoy after Thanksgiving dinner! Playing games also helps increase focus and keeps people from falling asleep after all that turkey!

Whichever game you select, make sure you have plenty of tissues on hand – you might find yourself laughing until you cry!

Here are a few ideas for senior-friendly Thanksgiving dinner games:

1. Thanksgiving-Themed Dinner Game

Thanksgiving Game is a fun game for all ages and is specifically well-suited to seniors who have mobility problems, use a wheelchair, or even people with dementia. This game helps sharpen memory by testing and exercising the recall parts of the brain.

This game is fun to play even while sitting around the table waiting for the feast to be ready, and tends to be quite a crowd-pleaser.

How to play?

Allow each person to take turns naming the food on the table by saying, “At Thanksgiving dinner, I am going to eat” (name of food). The next person would then say his preferred food, followed by the first mentioned by the previous player.

The game’s objective is to recall all the foods the previous players mentioned. Add punishments for those who fail for even more laughs. The best part? Nothing is needed other than people and your memory to play!


2. Pass the Package Game

This is one of our favorite party games because it’s simple, easy to set up, and almost anyone can play it.

This game is also easy for seniors with mobility issues because it doesn’t require a lot of stamina or moving about. People with dementia can even play it because of the simple nature of the rules.

Materials needed:

  • Small party gift
  • Gift box
  • Enough wrapping paper for multiple layers

How to play?

This game reminds us of musical chairs that we all played as a child.

Prepare for the game by choosing a party gift that is small or trivial in nature. Wrap the gift in a gift box. Then, wrap the box in at least as many layers as people playing the game.

Get everyone gathered and seated in a circle. The dining table or living room may be a great place so that older players don’t have to sit on the floor (unless they want to!)

Next, designate someone to be the music player. This person will be in charge of playing and stopping the music at the proper times.

The music player turns on the music to get started, and the players begin passing the wrapped gift in a circle. When the music stops, the person holding the gift gets to unwrap a layer.

Play continues until the gift box is exposed and the winner gets the gift!

There are lots of variations of this game. One requires the player to answer a trivia question before they can unwrap a layer. Instead of music, you could draw numbers or names to see who gets to open the package next.

RELATED: Thanksgiving Gift Ideas for Older Adults

Thanksgiving games for seniors bingo
Bingo is the perfect Thanksgiving game for the whole family to enjoy.

3. Thanksgiving Bingo Game

Bingo is the perfect way to get everyone involved and have a lot of fun!

Bingo is almost synonymous with older adults. It is safe for adults and the elderly with mobility issues or dementia. Playing Bingo improves cognitive function, memory, and hand-eye coordination, increasing social engagement while practicing memory recall.

Materials needed:

  • Hat
  • Paper strips
  • Themed bingo card
  • Markers (coins, buttons, etc)

How to play?

This timeless classic is perfect for large groups and families. You can either find Thanksgiving bingo card templates online or create your own.

Then, write the letter and the corresponding picture on paper strips, draw one from a hat, and read them aloud.

For example, you could write “B, Turkey” on paper and have the person with the turkey picture in the “B” column place their marker over that. Whoever successfully gets 5 in a row first wins!


4. Thanksgiving Charades 

Divide into two teams and take turns reading and acting out a card to your team. You get the point if your team correctly guesses the word on the card before the one-minute timer runs out! The team that won was the one with the most points. 

Materials needed:

  • A table big enough to seat everyone around it.
  • Pieces of paper with different words

How to play?

Charades is a game for everyone! It entails acting out words or phrases from cards. A game of charades provides an excellent opportunity for two-way communication, which can help to improve interpersonal skills. It is also a fantastic brain workout!

There is no time limit in this adapted version of the game. Depending on the clients’ ability, a reasonable time should be allowed to guess the action.

Participants can sit at the table because most action words and phrases require only the upper limbs. It is a hilarious game that enhances psychomotor skills.


5. Thanksgiving Picture Puzzle

Puzzles are beneficial for older adults (everyone, really!) because they strengthen connections between brain cells, improve mental speed, and are especially effective for improving short-term memory.

How to play?

Get the Thanksgiving Puzzle Printables from the internet and print them out to begin. Pre-cut the pieces and place them in a small plastic bag to keep them together.

Alternatively, you can buy a premade Thanksgiving-themed puzzle and use it instead.

To make a game of it, get more than one of the same puzzle. Then divide the party into groups and have them race to see which group completes it first.

Puzzles with a lesser number of pieces are better for this. Choose a puzzle with 50 pieces or less or one of the large-piece puzzles would work well too.

Or, you can simply gather around the table as a family and work a puzzle together. Make a tradition of it and frame your work of art each year.


Thanksgiving games for seniors turkey bowl
A simple and fun card game after dinner is a great Thanksgiving activity.

6. Turkey Bowling

Everyone can participate in a brand-new Thanksgiving bowling game as a family, which will be enjoyed by seniors and grandchildren alike. It’s a variation of the traditional turkey bowling game.

This game is enjoyable, but it is not recommended for seniors with mobility issues because it requires a lot of stamina. But this game is ideal for seniors who want to keep active and have fun. Seniors have the opportunity to compete as well as get some exercise. 

Materials needed:

  • 1 Medium pumpkin – (for the bowling ball)
  • 10 Small/medium butternut squash – (for the pins)
  • Scissors – (to cut everything out)
  • Double-sided sticky tape – (to decorate your pins)
  • Ribbon – (to hang the awards with)
  • Pen or something to write with – (to keep score)
  • A large, open, grassy area

How to play?

To get started, print off the printable turkey bowling scoreboard and cards and prepare the necessary materials needed for the game. Decorate the butternut squash “pins” if you’d like.

After preparing the “pins,” place them in a large grassy area or maybe in the garage. Set them up in a typical bowling pin arrangement. Then get ready for the fun!

You’ll use a small pumpkin as your ball. But, before launching your pumpkin ball at the turkey pins, you first pick up a card and follow the instructions on the card.

For example, if you choose a card that says, “Use your non-dominant hand,” you will do as instructed as you roll the “ball.” This step is optional and makes the game more difficult for more active players.

RELATED: Creative Thanksgiving Crafts for Older Adults

Summary and Final Recommendations

Thanksgiving games are an excellent way to engage and entertain everyone while allowing them to enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Try the Thanksgiving Picture Puzzle if you’re looking for a Thanksgiving game that seniors of all ages can enjoy.

Please choose one of the other tabletop games available here, such as charades or bingo, to keep your residents or loved ones entertained and help them celebrate this memorable holiday uniquely!

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Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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