The Quick A To Z Guide For Your Kid’s Party Pinata
by Ann Mifsud
What’s a party without a pinata? Kids’ parties are now far more likely to include pinatas. According to many retailers, they are an increasingly popular element at parties wherever you go. There’s no doubt that these stuffed papier mache hollow models create excitement in both children and adults, the former having fun being showered with toys and candy, and the latter, witnessing their kids’ merriment.
The ideal pinata should match the chosen party theme. You will need a rope and a place from where to hang the pinata, candy and toys to fill it up, a stick or a bat for the kids to hit it with, a blindfold for the participants and of course the pinata itself.
It’s very straightforward, no?
That said however, there are countless options, when including a pinata at your kid’s party. As one can expect, you can buy a ready-made one, you can customize it or you can do it yourself – we’ll show you how below in 7 easy steps. You can go for a pull-string or a regular pinata. You need to know what’s appropriate to put in it, when is the ideal time during the party to play the pinata game and what are some simple precautions to take so that no one will get hurt. Let’s start with a very important consideration…
How big should a pinata be?
You need to make sure that all kids invited to the party will have a fair share of what’s inside your pinata. The more invitees you have the bigger the pinata must be. Here’s a rough estimate of how big a pinata you should go for, according to the number kids you’ll be inviting…
Type of Pinata
Number of Guests
If you have a big number of invitees you can go for more than one pinata as well. This would also reduce the time children have to wait until it is their turn to hit the pinata. It also means, however, that the children are going to be divided in separate groups – something that maybe you wouldn’t want. So much fun happens during the pinata game and so much to see that you might prefer all the children to stay together. In addition, if you choose to have more than one pinata you have to appoint other adults to supervise the activity.
Next is how you are going to get a pinata for your kid’s party…
What are the options if I want to buy a pinata?
The most obvious answer is to check any online retailer or a brick and mortar shop that sells party items. They sell standard or regular pinatas, pull-string pinatas, pinata kits, number pinatas and pinata accesories. They have an almost infinite choice of sizes and themes. This may be good especially if you want your pinata to be of a particular theme. Many girls would love a unicorn pinata, or a princess one. On the other hand, dinosaur and superhero pinatas go very well with boys. Younger children would be delighted with a pinata of their favorite cartoon such as Paw-Patrol and Peppa Pig.
If by now you’re still undecided about your theme, this may help you decide…
What are the 10 top rated pinata themes?
- L.O.L. Surprise! Pinata
- Birthday Cupcake Pinata
- Giant Donkey Pinata
- PJ Masks Pinata
- Giant T-Rex Dinosaur Pinata
- Sparkling Unicorn Pinata
- Avengers Pinata
- Paw Patrol Adventures Pinata
- Baseball Pinata
- Peppa Pig Pinata
Check out our party themes section for more awesome party ideas for your kid.
What is the difference between a pull string pinata and a regular pinata?
Most people are acquainted with the regular (standard) pinata, where blindfolded children have to take turns to hit and break the papier mache article so that candy and toys could come out. The other type of pinatas are the so-called pull-string ones, where kids are not swayed to break open their favorite character to get their candy and all the rest. They just need to pull strings with the pinata remaining almost intact. This is referred to as the gentler version of the first one. It has a number of strings attached to its bottom but only one of them is made to release the trap door that makes the treats fall out. You may opt for this kind of pinata if:
- Your invitees are little children, and hitting something hard with a bat may be somewhat scary for them;
- You personally see all that bashing as being fairly aggressive;
- The activity is going to be held indoors – it might be more practical and safe especially if you do not want the kids to break anything inside the house.
How do you turn a regular pinata into a pull string?
It is possible to turn a regular pinata into a pull-string one by following some steps:
- You need to have a pinata with a flat bottom.
- Mark with a pen a 3” by 3” (8cm x 8cm) square on the underside.
- Cut with a blade 3 sides of the square to form a “trap door”.
- Fill in the pinata with all the goodies you have.
- Tie one string to the flap you’ve just cut out.
- Close the flap and secure it with some sticky tape.
- Attach the rest of the strings one by one to the rest of the bottom of the pinata (not to the flap).
- Cut all the strings to the same length.
- Apply some glue the bottom area and cover it with some tissue paper.
- Leave it to dry and you’re ready to go!
It is also possible, conversely, to use a pull-string pinata as a smash-it regular one.
Can I buy a customized pinata?
The easiest way to get a personalized pinata is to go for ready-made pinatas that come with a number of stickers to customize a birthday message, like “Happy 5th Birthday John!”. As another option, there are many sellers on Etsy that can create for you from scratch a pinata just as you wish it.
Besides, you may wish to do the pinata yourself, especially if you want to start early the excitement a party brings into your home.
How to make a simple papier mache pinata in 7 easy steps
Don’t be put off when you hear “papier mache”. Though you may have never tried it out, it will turn out to be easy when you get down doing it following these 7 easy steps. Most likely you already have at home all the materials that are needed.
- In a large bowl mix one part water with one part flour or PVA (white) glue to form a paste.
- Cut strips of paper 1” (2.5cm) wide from a newspaper or magazine and blow a balloon the size of the pinata you need.
- Dip the paper strips into the mix and apply to the balloon until it is all covered with paper.
- Do again step 3, so that the balloon is covered in three or four layers. Leave an opening at the top of the ballon so that you can fill your pinata later on.
- Leave it to dry for at least 24 hours and then you can burst the balloon.
- Decorate with small pieces of colored tissue paper.
- Tie a sturdy string to the pinata at the top.
You can also decorate the pinata stick with the tissue paper.
Now you’re ready to fill it up with as many treats as it can hold.
What goes in a pinata?
There’s no doubt that children of all ages love candy and it is expected that any pinata would at least be filled with some of these sweet items. Other edible pieces such as chocolate, small energy bars and fruit leather are acceptable alternatives to candy. Be careful that chocolate could melt in hot weather.
Besides candy, pinatas can be filled with small toys such as whistles, bouncy balls, soap bubble makers, toy animals or insects, kaleidoscopes, glow sticks, yo-yos, toy cars, jump ropes and squirt guns.
They can also be stuffed with art items such as glitter pens, markers, crayons, notepads, play-doh accessories, and rubber stamps.
If you then are going for a themed party, it is ideal that the pinata fillers also reflect the theme you have chosen. For example, for a pirate-themed celebration you can fill up the pinata with chocolate gold coins, eye patches, mini spyglasses and rubber hooks. If you then have a princess-theme party any item such as princess wands, necklaces, bracelets, tiaras and lip gloss, will all go well with your young guests.
Remember that normally the pinatas you buy, come empty if it is not otherwise specified. You can buy pinata filler kits as well.
Now that your pinata is ready…
How do you play with a pinata?
Choose the place where you are going to hang the pinata, such as a strong tree branch, a porch beam or a basketball ring, and make sure that it is tied well. If you wish to make the pinata as the center of attraction you would still need to ensure that is far from anything that can pose danger to the kids when they start playing.
When it is time to play with the pinata, ask the children to line up, the smallest kid first. Blindfold them when it is their turn. Spin the child around two or three times, give him or her a stick, lead them gently to where the pinata is and let them have a go at striking it. Allow each child to hit the pinata two or three times before you move on to the next child. Children under 3 may not be required to be blindfolded.
The best time when the children play with the pinata is a matter of opinion. If you want the pinata to be the highlight of the party or if you wish that the children take home the pinata fillers as party favors, then it would make sense to leave the activity to the end of the party. On the other hand, if you intend that the children use the items in the pinata during the party, then you may opt to start the celebration with it.
You need to be careful for everyone’s safety. Keep every child, other that the one whose having their turn, at least 10 feet (3m) away all around the pinata. When the pinata opens, don’t let the kids rush for the plunder, since they could hurt each other. Give out favor bags and let the kids to slowly collect their prizes. Restrict the number of items each child may choose according to the amount of fillers that are in the pinata, so that no one would be left with very little or nothing. So let say you know you have 30 items in your pinata and you have 10 guests, ask them not to pick up more than 3 items each. Let all the children know about this rule before the first kid is allowed to give the first strike to the pinata.
Concluding thoughts on having a pinata party
Having a pinata game at your kid’s party is an awesome idea, both if your kid is used to having pinatas, but especially if it has never featured in the celebrations you planned for your family members and their friends. We have walked you through all the basics you need to know, so that the pinata you’re dreaming of today for your child, will become reality by the day the party will be on.
Hi I'm Ann Mifsud!
Co-Founder, Editor & Writer
For most of us, when we think back on our childhood, it seems like it lasted a little more than a few minutes. We relish the beautiful memories we had, our many ‘firsts’ and countless adventures. And of course, we think of those occasions where we were given centre-stage or somehow felt extra special.
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