5 Activities to Foster Gratitude and Strengthen Family Connections


The holidays can be a wonderful time of year to come together as family and friends and eat delicious food. But we also know that, between cooking, hosting guests, watching children, and catching up with loved ones, Thanksgiving can be a bit hectic!

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year, but for many they can also be complex or even difficult. Not to mention COVID-19 safety restrictions that may alter family gatherings and traditional plans.

As one way to rein in the chaos, we’ve provided some simple, minimal-supply, family activities that will help you foster feelings of gratitude while having fun and deepening family connections.

family holds babies and looks at photos

Name That Baby

Gather old baby photos of you and your family, and ask guests to send old childhood photos as well. Print these images, and put them somewhere everyone can see, such as on a wall or spread out on a table. Put numbers next to each photo, and have people write down their guesses about who is in each numbered image. Whoever gets the most correct guesses wins!

Little boy draws while father helps him

Guess What I’m Grateful For

This activity is sure to bring out some laughs! Here are the basic rules:

Person 1: Writes something she is grateful for.

Person 2: Draws an image of what person 1 wrote.

Person 3: Writes what he thinks person 2 drew, without looking at the original word.

Person 4: Draws what person 3 wrote.

This pattern continues until everyone has had a chance to either write or draw. As for supplies, you can play this game with a small notebook, writing what you are grateful for on the first page and the next person drawing it on the following page, and so on. Each person should look only at the previous page. Or, if you want to play it simple, you can fold a piece of paper, making sure to cover earlier guesses and drawings as you go along.

You can play this game at the dinner table, passing around a single notebook between bites. Or, if you want a more involved game, you can give participants a notebook or paper to start their own chain. The game ends when everyone has his or her notebook back.

At the end, you can see how far off everyone was from the original word and enjoy all the fun family drawings!

Family plays thanksgiving activity, sits around the table smiling

Family Trivia

Do you know how your parents met or what your sister’s favorite hobby is? Play this fun trivia game at the dinner table to learn more about each other! The rules are simple:

  1. Give everyone a piece of paper or small whiteboard to write answers on.
  2. Have participants ask a question about themselves, such as “What is my favorite color?” The others then write what they think the answer is.
  3. After writing the answer to the question, they all share their answers. Each person who wrote down the correct answer gets a point.
  4. Rotate around the room so each person gets a chance to ask a question.

Participants can either come up with their own questions, or they can check out sites such as this one with a long list of get-to-know-you questions that are perfect for this game.

Who Looks More Like Who?

Ever wonder if you look more like your dad or your mom? We have a fun and easy activity that will quickly settle the debate! FamilySearch’s Compare-a-Face feature allows you to upload and compare facial features of family members. You can even compare some of those baby photos from the Name That Baby activity!

Not only can you compare two uploaded images, but if you already have a FamilySearch account with uploaded family images, you can compare your face with the faces of relatives and ancestors! Here’s a quick how-to.

family writes on piece of paper at table together

I’m Grateful For—

Hand out a sheet of paper to all your family members or guests with the word “Gratitude” written down the side, like an acrostic. Then explain these rules:

  1. While being timed, write down something you are grateful for that begins with each letter in the word “Gratitude.” For example, you might write for the first letter that you are grateful for “games.”
  2. After the time is up, participants share what they wrote for each letter. You get a point if you wrote something that no one else wrote. You don’t get a point for any repeats—even if the word was repeated later in the acrostic.

Set a timer for 3–5 minutes—3 minutes if you want a challenge, 5 minutes if you and your family need a little more time. If your family enjoys this game, you can try the same game using other words, such as “Family” or “Thankful.”

For more family activities, check out FamilySearch’s In-Home Activities page.

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