Geeky Parent Guide: Preparing Fun Family Activities for a Virtual Thanksgiving Featured

Thanksgiving will look a lot different this year. With everyone struggling with the pandemic, it’s clear that our typical holiday traditions may not be possible right now. With the fall and winter holidays approaching quickly, it’s quite possible that some new traditions will need to take place – even if they only are around for a short while.

What does that mean?

It means that we’re going to try and extend some holiday cheer for you and your family this Thanksgiving. While visiting family and friends from one Thanksgiving meal to another may not be an option, let’s put a spotlight on some fun activities for the kids to dive into.


Something my wife and I have found with our two kids, ages 6 and 8, is that they both love to be a part of making food. There are a few different ways to accomplish this with our kids. One is to watch a bunch of baking or food shows together. One of the best experiences as a parent is to see the excitement that our kids get when they watch someone making something – hearing the “oohs” and “aahs” as they watch something delicious put together or seeing these special places where people explore different cultures and their cuisines.

Check out this list of amazing shows that you and your kids can enjoy together. And, yes, you will hear your kids say many times, “I want to try that,” “I want to make that,” and “Can we make that?”

Somebody Feed Phil

Phil Rosenthal is a sweet and kind human who will restore your faith in humanity with boisterous positivity. And around Thanksgiving, his words are never truer: “It’s only good if you can share it.” Your kids will absolutely love his gleeful expressions, while centering around a harmonious message of bringing people together with food. People, come on! Watch it and you won’t be disappointed.

This show is available on Netflix where they recently released Season 4. If you have access to PBS, you can also check out his earlier show, I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.

The Great British Bakeoff

Also known as The Great British Baking Show, this show is all about healthy competition and amazing sportsmanship. It’s such a fun show, you’ll want to create your own Home Edition for Kids.

Side note: Although I adore this show and it’s such a positive example for wonderful sportsmanship, I will caution parents with the latest season on Netflix. The innuendo is more explicit than previous seasons.

This show is available on Netflix. Also, The Great British Baking Show Holidays will have a third season air on December 4.

Sugar Rush

Your kids will start to pick which teams they want to have win, while drooling over such delicious confections.

Sugar Rush is available on Netflix, and additionally, Season 2 of Sugar Rush Christmas will be released on November 27.

Strictly Dumpling

My kids adore Mike Chen and his YouTube Channel, Strictly Dumpling. They love to see him traveling all over the world and trying all kinds of tasty foods. If there’s anyone out there that might have as big an appetite as Phil Rosenthal – it’s this guy!


Both of our kids have been doing their best to stay active, all while missing their friends, cousins, and everyone else. As parents, it’s not always easy to keep up with our energetic little ones. So, what are some ways to help work around that?

Well, continue outside play as often as possible. Play games with your kids as often as possible. Read books and let them make silly voices as they read lines back and forth. You can also try some new and old ways to keep your kids happy and engaged.


STEM and Beyond

Engage with some fun STEM activities at home! In addition to fun resources for virtual learning, your kids will love to try experiments any day of the week. For example, watch this SciShow Kids video where they’ll “learn how plants move water around inside them” by watching dye-colored water travel through celery.

If your kids would much rather learn about science or space, there are plenty of impressive missions happening over at NASA as we speak. They’ve already launched a rover to Mars, with a helicopter on board to attempt flight on another planet. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx recently touched down on an asteroid, so the sky is apparently not the limit.

Play Chess

This might seem like one of the simplest things in the world, but it sure does keep my son enthusiastic to play – every single day. I told him that if he wanted to get better, I would play chess every day with him. This has been going on for a few weeks now, and I’m already certain he’s about to defeat me and never look back.

There are a variety of classic games (e.g., War, Uno, Clue, Marbles, etc.), so break out a deck of cards, dust off the old board games, or find something new to give as a holiday gift. In our case, our kids will soon get the chance to exclaim, “You sank my Battleship!”

Watch Olympic Videos

I recently introduced my kids to games I loved playing as a kid via YouTube: badminton and ping-pong. We watched video highlights of these games, and then popped up videos of swimming and gymnastics. With the Olympics also being sidelined, going back to videos of previous winter and summer games lets a young audience see previous events for the first time.

There is an Olympic YouTube Channel that will let your kids see a variety of different sports, and maybe they will become enamored with trying something new.

Let Your Kids Create Some Activities

Our daughter created a “Family Party Night” this past week. She created fun stations where we could go bowling, play pillow hopscotch, balloon juggling, and she even provided an art station where we both created something.

This is a super fun activity, because it lets your kids be the creators and provide joy for others. Plus, add some music and before you know it, you’ll have been playing or drawing for over an hour.

An activity like this might also present an opportunity to address frustration. My daughter wanted to draw what I was drawing, despite the fact that she’s a better artist than me, and she crumpled up her paper. She was clearly upset that she couldn’t get what she wanted on paper to happen. I told her it’s okay. She could try again or create something on her own. I told her that I was actually just trying to be as good of an artist as her. So, she picked up a nearby book and drew the cover without tracing.


Although parenting might be even more difficult as we navigate a pandemic, one thing will always be true: Our kids will always be loved – and we have to remind ourselves that they deserve to hear it. This world isn’t perfect, but maybe we can show them that they’re our own kind of perfect. They are exactly what we ever hoped them to be. We will continue to talk and read and laugh and be silly, because at the end of the day, the struggles are real. The stress is palpable. Our kids can sense that and that’s okay. The activities we do together. This quality time in our lives will be a place for them to look back on and realize that they did laugh. They did have fun. They were and are loved. Always and forever.

If you have any great ideas that you want to share with the geeky parent community, please leave a comment below or head over to Facebook and Twitter to start a conversation there. I hope you’re doing well during these times. We’ll get through this together.

Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.

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