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Crafts for Kids

 
Project of the Month ~ How To Make a Pinata
By Patricia Jensen

Learn how to make a pinata in a few simple steps. This time-honored Mexican tradition has become a beloved part of today's kids' parties. This project includes paper mache recipes and easy step-by-step instructions for making and using your pinata. Kids will enjoy creating their own homemade party pinata to show and share with friends.

MATERIALS:

  • large round or oval balloon
  • newspaper, torn into 1 inch by 6-8" inch strips
  • white computer paper or paper towels, torn into strips
  • flour and water mixture for paper mache paste
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
  • paint
  • tissue paper
  • crepe paper
  • string or yarn for hanging

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Prepare:
    Prepare your work surface with a layer of newspaper you can discard, or an old plastic tablecloth you can wipe clean of goop and glops which are part of this messy project!

    Tear several pages of newspaper into strips, approximately 1 inch wide by 6-8 inches long. Don't try to be neat and cut them with scissors; the torn edges will adhere more closely and give a smoother overall surface to the finished pinata.

  • Paper Mache Recipe:
    Next, it's time to prepare the paper mache paste by using a simple mixture of flour and water. Use a large glass or disposable bowl to facilitate easy clean-up afterwards.

    Mix one part flour with 2 parts water until you have a consistency like thick glue. Add more water or flour as necessary. Squeeze out all the lumps and add a tablespoon or two of salt to help prevent mold. See other paper mache recipe options below.

  • Layering:
    Blow up your balloon and place it in a shallow bowl to prevent it from rolling as you work on it.

    Spray or brush on a light coating of vegetable oil to keep the balloon from adhering to the newspaper when you pop it.

    Dip a newspaper strip into the flour mixture to coat, and apply it to the balloon at an angle vertically, and overlapping. Continue this process until the entire balloon is covered, leaving a small hole at the top from which to remove the balloon and fill the pinata. Let the first layer dry completely.

    Each layer will take up to 24 hours to dry, so cover your leftover flour mixture and place in the refrigerator overnight to prevent spoiling. If it gets dry, add a little warm water.

    Apply a second layer to the balloon, this time angling the strips in a horizontal direction, and overlapping. Let dry and finish with a third layer.

    The third layer should always be made from torn strips of white computer paper or paper towels. This allows for easier paint coverage when it's time to decorate.

    When your project is completely dry, pop the balloon and remove it through the opening at the top.

  • Decorate It!
    Decorate your pinata with vibrant colors, paint a face on it, add crepe paper hair and eyelashes - be creative!

    Or, try this . . . cut 3 inch tissue paper squares, place a dab of glue in the center and stick to the pinata. The edges of the squares should not to glued down. Apply over the surface of the balloon for a cool layered effect.

    You can also cut pieces of crepe paper, fringe them, curl them around a pencil and glue them to the surface of the pinata.

    Hang crepe paper streamers from the bottom of the pinata for the final touch.

  • Fill and Hang:
    Make 3 or 4 small holes around the top opening and thread a strong piece of string or yarn through them. Tie a longer string to it for hanging.

    Fill your pinata with wrapped candy, small toys, and other goodies.

  • Playing the Pinata Game:
    Hang the pinata securely and spread a blanket or sheet under it. Each player gets a chance to break the pinata. Blindfold the first player and give them a bat or stick. Spin them 2 or 3 times and point them in the direction of the pinata.

    Players get 2 or 3 hits to break the pinata. (For smaller children, feel free to omit the blindfolding and spinning.) When the pinata breaks, the children each get a portion of the candy. Give each child a small bag to hold their goodies.

    Tip: Have a reserve bag of candy to make sure little ones get their fare share.

    Caution: Adult supervision is necessary to keep children a safe distance from the player swinging at the pinata. Kids are sure to rush in when the first pieces of candy fall, unaware that the player is still swinging.

  • Paper Mache Recipe Options:
    Recipe #1 - One part flour to five parts water. Boil on stovetop for 3 minutes and let cool.
    Recipe #2 - 3/4 cup white glue to 1/4 cup water
    Recipe #3 - liquid starch found at your supermarket

Copyright 2005-08 Kids Party Paradise All Rights Reserved.

About the Author:
Patricia B. Jensen is a mother of three and kids party enthusiast. She is the webmaster and owner of Kids-Party-Paradise.com - a complete resource for kids party ideas including invitations, cakes, decorations, games, costumes, favors, and food. For all the latest party news, read her Kids Party Blog. Subscribe to the Kids Party Paradise Newsletter and get timely updates on popular new party ideas and themes, and so much more.

Do you have an idea for another Project of the Month for our Crafts for Kids Cubby? We'd love to hear from you. Email our moderators with your suggestions!

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