16 Fun Thanksgiving Team Building Activities for Work

A young Black woman leads her team in a project meeting

By

INTOO Staff Writer

Categories

HR

Thanksgiving is a time to come together, express gratitude, and celebrate the harvest season. While many people traditionally gather with family and friends for a festive meal, this holiday can also be an excellent opportunity to foster team bonding and enhance workplace synergy. 

Team building activities boost morale and improve communication, collaboration, and overall productivity. This article will explore 16 fun Thanksgiving team building activities that can be implemented in your workplace to create a stronger sense of unity, encourage teamwork, and promote a positive company culture.

Thanksgiving Team Building Activities 

1. Thanksgiving potluck lunch

Encouraging employees to bring dishes that represent their cultural backgrounds or family traditions can be a powerful team building activity. It celebrates the diversity within your team and promotes understanding of different cultures. It’s not just about the food; it’s also about sharing stories and traditions. This activity can create a more inclusive and harmonious work environment by highlighting the richness of your team’s backgrounds. It fosters an atmosphere where individuals feel valued for who they are and what they bring to the table, literally and figuratively, regarding their unique perspectives and experiences.

2. Thanksgiving gratitude jar

Placing a gratitude jar in the office is a simple yet effective way to promote positivity and strengthen team bonds. Team members can write down what they’re thankful for, whether related to work, colleagues, or personal life. Sharing these notes during a team meeting creates a positive and uplifting atmosphere and reminds everyone of the value of gratitude. It encourages team members to appreciate the efforts and support of their colleagues, which can improve workplace morale and strengthen interpersonal relationships. 

3. Thanksgiving team cook-off

A friendly cooking competition is an engaging team building activity that fosters teamwork, creativity, and culinary skills. By dividing the team into smaller groups and assigning them the task of preparing a Thanksgiving dish, you encourage collaboration and creativity. As each group works together to create a meal, they will need to communicate, plan, delegate tasks, and manage their time effectively. Presenting their dish to a panel of judges adds an element of friendly competition that can motivate participants to put their best foot forward. 

4. Thanksgiving pumpkin decorating contest

The pumpkin decorating contest is a creative and collaborative team building activity. Providing pumpkins and decorating supplies allows team members to showcase their artistic talents and foster a sense of unity. Whether they choose to work individually or in pairs, the process of brainstorming and decorating encourages communication and idea-sharing. It’s a low-pressure, fun activity that provides an outlet for imagination and allows team members to express themselves uniquely. Furthermore, by working together on these projects, participants build rapport and enjoy a break from the usual work tasks, making it a valuable team building exercise.

5. Thanksgiving outdoor scavenger hunt

An outdoor scavenger hunt can be an active and exciting Thanksgiving team building activity. By organizing a scavenger hunt in a nearby park or the workplace surroundings, you encourage teamwork, problem-solving, and outdoor engagement. Team members must work together to decipher clues, find hidden items, and navigate the environment. This activity promotes effective communication and collaboration, encouraging participants to think on their feet and strategize. The outdoor setting provides a refreshing change of pace from the office, and the memories made during the event strengthen team bonds.

6. Thanksgiving “thankful for you” compliments

Assigning team members the task of writing notes of appreciation for their colleagues is a simple yet powerful way to foster positive relationships within the team. These notes can be shared privately or publicly during a team meeting. It allows individuals to express gratitude for their colleagues’ contributions and support, creating a culture of recognition and appreciation. Publicly sharing these notes during a team meeting can uplift team morale and motivate individuals to continue their positive actions.

7. Thanksgiving charity drive

Organizing a charity drive as part of your Thanksgiving team building activities goes beyond benefitting your immediate team and helps the broader community. It promotes teamwork and reinforces the importance of giving back. By collecting food, clothing, or other necessities for those in need, your team members experience the satisfaction of contributing to a greater cause together. It strengthens team bonds by working toward a shared goal and emphasizes the significance of empathy and community involvement.

Employees participate in a charity drive8. Thanksgiving escape room challenge

Taking your team to an escape room facility is an exhilarating team building activity. The need to solve puzzles and riddles within a time limit creates a high-pressure environment that encourages teamwork and effective communication. Participants must rely on each other’s strengths and problem-solving skills, which can reveal previously unseen aspects of their colleagues’ abilities. This activity can simulates real workplace scenarios where employees need to work together under tight deadlines and handle complex challenges. The experience fosters a sense of camaraderie and builds trust among team members as they collectively overcome obstacles, making it an excellent team building choice.

9. Thanksgiving pie-tasting contest

A pie-tasting contest is a delightful way to bond as a team. Team members can bake  different varieties of pie at home and bring them to the office for their colleagues to sample and rate, which encourages participation and adds a touch of fun to your Thanksgiving celebration. By having teams rate the pies, you create a competitive yet lighthearted atmosphere that motivates interaction and discussion. It provides a break from more intensive team building activities and allows colleagues to enjoy each other’s company. The winning team can receive a small prize, enhancing the friendly competition and promoting a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.

10. Thanksgiving team building workshops

Bringing in a professional team building facilitator for workshops is an investment in your team’s cohesiveness and communication skills. These workshops can be tailored to your team’s specific needs, focusing on enhancing collaboration and problem-solving skills. They provide a structured environment for team members to learn and practice effective communication techniques, conflict resolution, and teamwork strategies. By participating in these workshops, team members gain valuable insights into their strengths and weaknesses and develop a deeper understanding of their colleagues.

A diverse group of employees huddle happily

11. Thanksgiving team storytelling

Encouraging team members to share personal stories, such as memorable Thanksgiving experiences, is a beautiful way to promote open communication and team bonding. Sharing personal stories creates a sense of vulnerability and trust within the team, allowing colleagues to connect more deeply. It also provides insights into individual values and what each team member holds dear, strengthening interpersonal relationships. 

12. Thanksgiving tabletop games

Setting up a tabletop area with board and card games offers a relaxed environment for team members to interact and bond. These games provide a break from the routine, allowing colleagues to unwind and engage in friendly competition. While the games may not directly tie to work-related skills, they foster teamwork, strategic thinking, and problem-solving. Plus, they provide a platform for casual conversations, laughter, and enjoyment.

13. Thanksgiving creative centerpiece design

Organizing a competition to create Thanksgiving centerpieces is a unique and artistic endeavor that fosters creativity and collaboration. Team members can work together to design imaginative centerpieces that reflect the holiday spirit, using materials such as pumpkins and gourds, dried or silk flowers, and paper. The creative process involves brainstorming, planning, and executing a visually appealing concept. By working together on this project, team members showcase their artistic talents and engage in open communication and idea-sharing.

14. Thanksgiving outdoor sports

Depending on your location and team preferences, organizing outdoor sports like touch football or soccer can be a great way to promote teamwork and healthy competition. Physical activities encourage team members to work together, communicate effectively, and strategize to achieve a common goal. These activities also provide a healthy outlet for competition and a break from the usual work routine. 

15. Thanksgiving movie

Setting up an area for a Thanksgiving movie is a cozy and fun way to relax and bond as a team. By watching classic Thanksgiving entertainment like “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” or “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” team members can enjoy a sense of togetherness and nostalgia. Providing popcorn and snacks creates a relaxed atmosphere, and sharing laughter and emotions while watching the films fosters a sense of camaraderie. This activity doesn’t require active participation but offers a break from the work environment, allowing team members to unwind and enjoy each other’s company. It’s great for a low-key, inclusive, and enjoyable team building activity.

16. Thanksgiving “Gratitude Wall”

Creating a “Gratitude Wall” in your workplace is a visual and interactive reminder of the positive aspects of teamwork and camaraderie. Team members can post notes expressing gratitude related to their colleagues, the organization, or personal life. This activity encourages reflection and the expression of gratefulness, which can profoundly impact team dynamics. The “Gratitude Wall” fosters a culture of appreciation, where team members are encouraged to acknowledge their colleagues’ support and positive actions. It’s a simple yet effective way to boost morale and create a positive work environment by emphasizing the importance of recognizing and celebrating each other’s contributions and strengths.

Move Forward With Thanksgiving Team Building at Work

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to build camaraderie and strengthen team bonds in the workplace. The 16 team building activities discussed offer a diverse range of options, catering to various preferences and objectives. From fostering diversity and gratitude to enhancing problem-solving skills and creativity, these activities can make your 2023 Thanksgiving celebration at work a memorable and impactful experience, while also helping with employee retention. Promoting inclusivity, variety, and a celebration of diversity can create a more cohesive and productive work environment where your team members feel appreciated and valued.

FAQs:

How can I make Thanksgiving fun at work?

Making Thanksgiving fun at work involves planning engaging and inclusive activities. You can organize a potluck lunch, hold creative contests, play games, or even enjoy a Thanksgiving-themed movie night. The key is to encourage participation, foster a relaxed atmosphere, and celebrate the holiday’s spirit of togetherness.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving virtually at work?

Celebrating Thanksgiving virtually at work requires creativity. You can organize online cooking challenges, virtual scavenger hunts, gratitude-sharing sessions over video calls, and even arrange remote charity drives. The key is to adapt traditional activities to a virtual format while maintaining a sense of togetherness.

What events encourage teamwork in the workplace?

Several events encourage teamwork in the workplace. Team building workshops, escape room challenges, charity drives, outdoor sports, and creative contests promote collaboration, problem-solving, and effective communication. The key is to choose activities that align with your team’s preferences and the specific skills you want to enhance. Looking for other ways to engage your workforce? INTOO offers a wealth of career development programming, including career coaching, workshops, training, and more. Contact us today to learn how we can help you harness your team’s potential and increase retention and productivity.

INTOO Staff Writer

INTOO staff writers come from diverse backgrounds and have extensive experience writing about topics that matter to the HR and business communities, including outplacement, layoffs, career development, internal mobility, candidate experience, succession planning, talent acquisition, and more.

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