Thanksgiving Turkey Chase

Thanksgiving in Alberta is almost here, and the warm weather has decided to stay with us a while longer. This is the perfect opportunity to get crafting for an outdoor game! Enter, the Thanksgiving Turkey Chase which is our modified version of tag. No animals were hurt in the creation and play of this game, unless you count the bruised ego of an adult being bested at a game by children.


We started out our game with a turkey headband craft. This is likely something that will look very familiar to you as most kids have made at least one of these in their educational career. The cutting of the pieces should be done by an adult or an older child that can safely use scissors.


  • Construction paper in assorted colours - we used black, red, brown, yellow, and orange
  • Scissors
  • Glue - we used a glue stick, but you can also use a glue gun if you have an adult to operate it
  • Googly eyes, pom poms, pipe cleaners, fabric scraps, crayons, or any other craft supplies you feel kids would like to add to their turkeys - we kept it simple with just googly eyes

We started out by cutting strips of construction paper measuring 1.7" x 11" (one sheet of construction paper cut into 5 strips). Then we cut the tail feathers out of assorted colours of construction paper, a turkey body, a beak, and a snood (that red dangly piece on the turkey's nose). We found that it was best to keep the size of the turkey body to around 4" tall and the feathers around 7" tall to keep the completed turkey from falling over on the headband like the one shown did. If you want a bigger turkey, increase the size of your headband to provide more support.

After all your pieces are cut, you or your child(ren) can begin to assemble and decorate the turkey by gluing the tail feathers, beak, snood, googly eyes, and whatever else your child wants to add to their turkey creation. When you're happy with the results, glue two headband pieces together (if you used strips from an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper to make a headband piece long enough to fit around your child's head), and attach the completed turkey to the band. Fit the band around your child's head, and glue the open ends together to form the headband and complete your turkey headband!



With headbands completed, you're ready to start playing turkey chase. This is a game that promotes children working both independently as well as together. It also involves a bit of strategy on the part of the turkeys and the chaser. You'll need the following to play:


  • Turkeys - these players will be identified by their turkey headbands
  • A turkey chaser
  • Something to form a pen to contain the turkeys - this can be as simple as sticks on the ground in a square. You just need something to identify an area as a pen and large enough to contain all the turkeys
  • Small trinkets for children to find - we used small pictures of turkeys
  • A timer

Once you have all the items needed, you can start to play the game!


Start the game by setting up the play area:

  • Assemble the turkey pen
  • Advise all players of the play area i.e. the backyard, the front yard etcetera. The play area will likely evolve as you play each game
  • Have someone not involved in the game hide the trinkets for the turkeys to find - vary the difficulty of this depending on the ages of the children playing
  • Have those playing turkeys put on their headband
  • Identify who will be the chaser
  • Set a timer for 20 minutes


Once you have all the setup done, you're ready to start playing:

  • Have the turkeys start at one end of the play area and the turkey chaser at the other
  • Have someone start the timer, and the game begins
  • The turkeys have to avoid being caught and put in the pen by the chaser
  • A turkey is caught when a chaser tags them
  • Turkeys should also look for the trinkets - see below for role of the trinkets
  • Once caught, the turkeys must remain in the pen unless another turkey comes to release them by getting to the edge of the pen before the catcher catches them or by playing a trinket
  • A trinket can only be played once and can't be used in the last two minutes of play

The game is over when either the turkey catcher has captured all the turkeys or the time runs out. If there are turkeys left to be captured after the timer goes off, the turkeys as a team have won the game. If all the turkeys are caught, the chaser wins the game. If you want, you can award prizes to all players on the winning team. 

This game can be modified based on the number of players and space you have. You might have more than one turkey chaser, extra trinkets, or increase the time for play. We hope you have fun playing your own game of the Thanksgiving Turkey Chase game. Happy Thanksgiving!

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