After Thanksgiving dinner has been eaten, a simple brain game, such as this paper pie matching activity, will help time pass while everyone recovers from their food coma and prepares for dessert. The whole family (from 2+) will have fun creating and playing this game.
You might groan at the thought of doing anything besides zoning out and becoming a puddle of human goo after your Thanksgiving feast, but memory games after the main meal have become a beloved tradition for our family. It all started with a store-bought matching game I’d brought to my first Thanksgiving with the in-laws forever ago, but having a homemade set has been even more fun to play with and add to.
Although the adults in our clan love playing the memory game, it’s also a terrific way to keep kids occupied and entertained. If you’ve ever spent a Thanksgiving in a climate where post-feast outdoor play isn’t an option, you will thank me for this activity. It’s a lot more fun than hearing, “Is it time for dessert?” a million times.
The premise of this activity is pretty simple. Make sets of matching paper pies that all have the exact same backside. The fronts should look like your favorite pies. There is no limit to what kind of “flavor” you and your kids make. They can be as simple or as fancy as you like. You just need two of each.
Things You’ll Need
Extra Large Scalloped Paper Punch
Card stock paper in pumpkin, brown, yellow, white, red, blue, purple and (lots of) tan (See the Recollections Spice Market and Passion Fruit packs to cover lots of these colors)
1-inch circular paper punch
Quick-dry Tacky glue
Masking tape roll
Matches (for adult use only!)
Super Gloss Mod Podge
Lamination machine (optional)
To make cherry pies like ours, begin by using the extra-large scalloped paper punch on tan cardstock to make two pie crusts. Cut 20 or so 1/4-inch strips from the leftover portion of punched tan paper. The tan strips should be as long as your paper crust, if not longer. Use the extra-large paper punch again on two pieces of red card stock to make the cherry filling.
With red crayons, draw tiny circles on the red paper. You can also use pen, pencil or markers to make the tiny cherries more prominent. Carefully trim the scalloped edge off of the red paper.
Use a dot of Tacky glue to adhere the red cherry filling to the center of the tan paper crust. Then, create a lattice top by placing four parallel tan strips, equidistant from each other, across the cherry filling. Hold the strips in place with a piece of masking tape. Weave four more strips over and under the original paper pieces until the cherry filling is evenly covered.
Fold the woven lattice back, and paint a thick coat of Super Gloss Mod Podge on your cherry filling to give it a wet look. (If you plan on laminating your pies, this isn’t super necessary but is super fun.)
Fold the lattice top back onto the wet Mod Podge, and tape the corners down to dry.
When dry, trim the lattice pieces that hang over the edges of the pies.
Here’s what a cherry pie looks like after being laminated. Just as cute and now ready to be handled by even the stickiest toddler hands.
Apple pies are crazy easy to make. Begin by punching four scalloped pie crusts with your extra-large punch and tan paper.
Trim the scalloped edge off of two of the crusts, and gently fold the circles in half. Use scissors to make three to five snips in the top crust. Use a pear-colored crayon or non-permanent marker to color the center of the scalloped bottom crust.
Tear some of the wrapper off a brown crayon and gently rub it on the top crust for a more “baked” look.
Use Tacky glue on the underside of the top crust, and place it in the center of the bottom crust. The green scribbles should be visible through the snips in the top crust. Allow the glue to dry completely.
Laminate if desired.
Lemon meringue pies are my favorite to eat and make out of paper. Note that this pie requires adult participation.
Begin by punching two crusts from the tan paper with the extra-large scalloped punch. Use the inside of the masking tape roll to trace two circles onto a piece of aluminum foil and two circles onto lemon yellow paper. Use a dot of glue to adhere the aluminum foil circles to the center of the crusts. Next, cut a wedge out of each yellow circle so that they resemble Pac-Man. Glue each yellow Pac-Man down onto the aluminum foil circles.
Strike a match (only if you are an adult!) and hold it a couple of inches under a piece of white paper. Lightly “toast” the paper in several places while trying to avoid burning a hole through the paper.
If you are uncomfortable with kids even seeing this step, skip it and use crayons or colored pencils to make a gradient of browns on your white paper. Cut up your burnt (or burnt looking) paper. Glue the layers around the entire surface, minus one triangle’s worth of yellow. That reserved yellow triangle will look so lemony and divine poking out from under your paper meringue peaks.
You may want to consider laminating these because, even though they are paper, they somehow manage to look mouth-watering.
Our pecan pies are made in a similar way with the punched crust, followed by a glued circle of aluminum foil. We then used a brown permanent marker on a wedge-shaped piece of pumpkin-colored cardstock to make our pecan topping. We placed that on top of a wedge of brown cardstock, and glued both pieces to the aluminum pan.
For an easy mixed berry pie set, use the 1-inch circular paper punch with your favorite berry colors. Have the kids punch out as many of these berries as they can make.
Paint a thin layer of Tacky glue in the center of two pie crusts punched from tan paper. Working from the outside, layer the assorted berry colors onto the glue, leaving just the edge of the scalloped crust exposed.
If you decide to skip the lamination, this is another good candidate for a coat of Super Gloss Mod Podge to give the berries a juicy glow.
Finally, the pumpkin pies. Could there be a more iconic Thanksgiving pie? And more important, could it be any easier to make out of paper!?
You know the drill. Punch two extra-large scalloped crusts from your tan paper. Next, punch two extra-large scalloped circles from the pumpkin-colored card stock. Trim the scallops away, leaving two circles. Glue the pumpkin circles to the center of the crusts.
Trim a cotton ball into thirds, and place one piece in the center of your pie. Secure it in place with a dab of glue.
Laminating the cotton balls will flatten them into well-preserved whipped cream dollops that will last the ages.
Laminating will evenly flatten any pies that curled while drying, making it harder for highly competitive memory game players to look for variations on the backsides of the cards (you know who you are, cheaters!) Also, laminating this exact set of paper pies cost us about 84 cents at the local teacher supply store. Copy centers will laminate as well. It’s almost impossible to resist lamination if you can afford the time.
Trim the laminated pies with scissors, and you are ready to play.
Wrapped up in a mini pie tin and tied with twine, a set of these pies makes a thoughtful hostess gift if Thanksgiving is being spent at a friend or relative’s house.
Whether you stick to our tutorial steps or not, have fun making your own paper versions of holiday pies.
Playing this paper pie memory matching game has been known to produce calorie-burning belly-laughs, so go on, challenge grandma, challenge cousin Trevor. Take on the whole family. The more you play, the more you will laugh, and the more real pie you can justify eating on Thanksgiving.
All photos by: Megan Andersen