Activity: Make your own piñata!
- Large balloon, string, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup water, white glue, newspaper strips, colored tissue paper, rope, fillings (candies, small toys, fruit), blindfold, broomstick or light baseball bat
- 1 hour plus two overnight drying times
- Art & design
Piñatas have been around for hundreds of years. Some place the origins in China, while others trace the tradition to the Aztecs. Today, the tradition is most often associated with Mexico's celebrations for birthdays, Christmas and Easter. A piñata is always fun for children at any age, in any country. Help your child make his own piñata for his next party by following the directions below:
- Blow up a large balloon, tie it with string and hang it up outside (or somewhere that is safe to get messy).
- Make the papier-mâché paste by mixing the flour, water and white glue.
- Soak torn (not cut) newspaper strips in the paste, squeeze off excess and lay them over the balloon. Continue adding strips, slightly overlapping them. Cover the entire balloon, leaving a small opening at the top. Add a second layer, and let dry for 24 hours.
- The next day, add two more layers of papier-mâché. Let dry another 24 hours.
- Glue on pieces of colored tissue paper in any pattern desired.
- If the balloon is still inflated, pop it. Punch a hole on either side of the opening left at the top. Loop a piece of string through the holes and tie it in a knot. Tie a rope to the string.
- Fill the piñata with candies, fruit or small toys.
- Hang the piñata on a hook or over a tree branch.
Once the piñata is hung, let the fun begin. Have children take turns whacking the piñata with a stick or baseball bat while blindfolded. Have an adult pull on the rope to move the piñata around to make it more difficult. When the piñata breaks, enjoy the goodies!
Note: Not all busy schedules, or kindergarteners' patience, allow for a three-day project. An alternative is to fill a decorated paper shopping bag with treats as well as loosely wadded paper to add volume without making the bag too heavy. Roll or fold the top of bag down over a long piece of string and staple shut. If the bag is too thick, try punching holes through the layers and threading the string through, tying the ends to make a loop. Attach the rope to the string, hang the piñata up and let the fun begin!
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