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Sports / Outdoor Physical Games Category: Piñata

Hobby / Travel:

How to make and break a piñata.


Break open a piñata! A piñata is traditionally used at an outdoor party to celebrate a child’s birthday. However, piñatas are becoming more and more popular and are being used for other outdoor get-togethers, like a barbecue event.

Piñatas are colorfully decorated, candy-filled papier-mâché (a.k.a. paper-maché or paper mache) objects, which originated in Latin countries. Along with candy, small toys may be found inside piñatas as well. The middle of the piñata has a loop in which rope or string is threaded through. The piñata is then hung into the air with each end of the rope or string held taut and tied to objects with some height (i.e., tree branches). According to Mexican tradition, children are blindfolded - one-by-one - and each allowed a turn hitting the piñata


with a stick or baseball bat. The goal is to break open the piñata. Once the piñata is broken, the candy spills onto the ground, and all the children scurry to pick up as many pieces as they can.

Nowadays, you are likely to find a piñata at your local grocery store, especially in the Southwestern region of the U.S.; otherwise, visit a party supply store. Besides buying one, you can custom make your own unique piñata - it’s a fun and easy craft project! Visit your local craft store for art supplies (i.e., Michaels Arts & Crafts). The following are simple, step-by-step instructions on how to make your own piñata.

How to Make a Piñata:

  1. Tear or cut rectangular strips of newspapers (approximately 5 x 3 inches in size).

  1. Inflate a large, round balloon with air and secure the end with a knot.

  1. Make your own simple paste to adhere the newspaper strips onto the balloon. To make your homemade paste, add one cup of flour to a bowl, and then slowly add a small amount of water at room-temperature while continually stirring the mixture with a whisk until you achieve a paste-like consistency.

  1. Dip each strip of paper into the flour mixture; saturate the paper; gently wipe off any excess paste with your fingers; and stick the strip onto the balloon. Continue to cover the entire balloon with newspaper strips, except for the small area of the balloon where the knot is located. (See step 7 for the reason why it is necessary to leave this small area uncovered). Allow your piñata to completely dry (i.e. wait at least several hours or overnight) before proceeding to step 5.

  1. Repeat step 4 several more times. Keep layering the balloon with newspaper strips until you have a thick outer shell. The more layers you accumulate, the sturdier your piñata will be. Again, allow your piñata to completely dry before proceeding to step 6.

  1. If you plan to make your piñata into a ball (i.e. soccer ball), leave the balloon as is; however, if you would like your piñata to represent an animal (i.e. horse), glue paper attachments to the balloon. For example, the balloon represents the body of the animal. Position the balloon so that the knot where the balloon is tied off represents the top of the animal’s body. Glue four tubes from empty paper towel rolls onto the bottom of the balloon to represent the animals’ limbs. Glue another empty paper towel roll onto the balloon to represent the horse’s tail. The neck requires another tube, which is glued onto the other end of the balloon. To make the head of the animal, use a piece of styrofoam shaped like a head, or use a cardboard cutout and glue the head onto the end of the tube that represents the neck. For the ears, you can glue tubes of empty toilet paper rolls onto the head, which are shorter than paper towel tubes; cut out and glue your own shapes using stiff cardboard-like construction paper; or roll up pieces of newspaper into cones. Note: use traditional, multi-purpose glue (i.e. Elmer’s Glue-All) to paste the attachments onto the balloon. For added strength, use masking tape to help secure the attachments to the balloon. Allow the glue to completely dry before proceeding to step 7.

  1. Pop and pull out the balloon from the small uncovered area you left at the top of the base of the structure, which represents the animal’s body. Into the hole, fill the cavity of the piñata with your choice of wrapped candy and/or small toys. So as not to allow all the candy to settle at the bottom of the piñata, first fill the cavity with some pieces of colorful crepe (a.k.a. crêpe) paper and confetti, and then add a handful of candy. Alternate with crepe paper, confetti, and candy until the cavity of the piñata is filled. (When the piñata is finally broken by the children at the outdoor get-together, the decorative crepe paper and confetti will give a more festive feel to your event as it flies through the air!).

  1. Next, make a hook for the piñata so that it can be hung. Poke a small hole on either side of the open cavity. Thread a thick, sturdy piece of string through the holes. For added support, use a plastic lid from a container (i.e. a coffee can). Punch two holes on each end of the lid. Pass the string first through one of the small holes in the piñata. Next, pass the string through both holes of the plastic lid, insert the lid into the cavity of the piñata, and then pass the string through the other small hole made on the other end the piñata. Finally, tie the ends of the strings together into a knot to make a loop.

  1. Paste a good amount of newspaper strips to patch the hole in the piñata and secure the loop. Allow the piñata to completely dry before proceeding to step 10. If you’re pressed for time, and didn’t use the plastic lid mentioned in step 8, another option to cover the opening of the piñata is to crumple up a bunch of colorful tissue paper and simply stuff the hole. However, this method will not give you as sturdy a piñata as would patching the hole with pasted newspaper strips, and allowing it to dry.

  1. It’s time to decorate your piñata! Use multi-purpose glue to adhere colorful tissue paper onto the structure. Glue paper eyes, a nose, and a mouth if you are making your piñata into the form of an animal. For the tail, glue crepe paper streamers. Create a work of art! Use your choice of decorative accessories - glitter, markers, paint, silk flowers, cotton balls, feathers, colorful ribbons, shiny tin foil, rhinestones, etc. - to decorate your piñata. Let your imagination soar and be as creative as you would like! Allow your piñata to completely dry before suspending it in the air and letting the celebration begin.


Helpful Tip: Some children might get left without any candy, especially the younger ones, because they may not be as quick at snatching the treats off the ground as some of the older children. In this case, it would be wise to keep an extra bowl of candy with you. As you notice the candy disappearing off the ground, throw more candy into the air to ensure that each child in the crowd receives at least several pieces.

Helpful Tips: No matter what sport or physical activity you and/or your guests decide to participate in, this section provides useful information and tips for optimal performance and enjoyment:

  • Stay Hydrated! If you and/or your guests engage in outdoor physical activities, especially during hot weather, remember to drink plenty of fluids! Drinking simple, pure water is a great option to replenish your fluids during and after exercising. Most tap water is excellent. However, if you are still concerned about lead content and other potentially harmful particles in your tap water, using a water filter or purifier is one way to go. A water filtration system (i.e. Brita, Culligan or Pur) can keep vital minerals in the water like fluoride, while filtering out any contaminants or pollutants that may be in your tap water.

While exercising, perspiration allows your body to cool off as the sweat evaporates from your skin (a natural cooling mechanism), but in the process of this thermoregulation you loose electrolytes in addition to H2O. Therefore, if you’ve been especially sweating a lot, you need to replenish your lost electrolytes.  In this case, sports drinks - fortified with electrolytes - (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade, All Sport, Recharge, Extreme Ripped Force and Champion Nutrition Revenge Sport) are good choices.

There are also other energy drinks available on the market, such as vitamin-fortified water (i.e. Glacéau (a.k.a. Glaceau) Vitamin Water, Glacéau Smart Water, Glacéau Fruit Water, Glacéau Vitamin Energy, Propel Fitness Water and SoBe Life Water).

  • Play it safe! Wear the appropriate safety gear for each sport or activity you engage in. Also, make certain that you have all the necessary equipment for the sport or activity. Visit your local sporting goods store for assistance.

  • Stretch and warm-up! It’s important to stretch and warm-up before participating in any physical activity or sport. Stretching has many benefits: It allows your muscles and joints to relax, it improves your range of motion and it may prevent injuries. Before starting any sport or physical activity, consult your physician and get a physical exam. 

  • Keep an over-the-counter pain reliever handy! Don’t let minor aches and pains slow you down or prevent you from participating in a sport or physical activity you enjoy at your outdoor barbecue event. Over-the-counter pain medication (i.e. Tylenol (Acetaminophen), Motrin (Ibuprofen), Advil (Ibuprofen), Anacin (Aspirin), Bayer (Aspirin), Aleve (Naproxen), etc.) work great at relieving minor muscle and joint pain. Note: Always consult your physician before taking any medication, and use as directed.

  • Should any emergencies arise, keep a cell phone handy, or even a walkie-talkie! A walkie-talkie is a two-way radio transceiver, which is convenient, portable and handheld. It allows you to communicate with another person that is located at a reasonably close distance to you (i.e. if you are in the backyard, you can easily communicate with someone that is inside the house if you are both using walkie-talkies). It’s a great way to keep in touch!

  • Keep a first-aid kit handy! Accidents happen, so, for minor scrapes, cuts, etc., readily have available bandages; gauze; adhesive tape; sterile swabs; antiseptic (i.e. hydrogen peroxide topical solution, antibiotic ointment (i.e. Neosporin), alcohol pads, etc.); tweezers; anti-itch ointment (i.e. hydrocortisone); etc. Seek medical attention if necessary.

  • Prevent sunburn! Protect your skin from the sun’s potentially harmful rays, which may cause premature aging (i.e. wrinkles) and skin cancer. So, don’t forget to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and one that offers broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If participating in outdoor sports or activities, consider wearing a sunscreen that is waterproof.

  • Avoid pesky bug bites! Keep a bottle of bug spray handy. If you do get bit, use anti-itch ointment (i.e. hydrocortisone) to help relieve the sting of the bite.

  • Keep allergies at bay, and enjoy your time outdoors! If you suffer from allergies, have readily available an over-the-counter allergy medicine - (i.e. Claritin (Loratadine); Benadryl (Diphenhydramine); Sudafed PE (Phenylephrine); Zyrtec (Cetirizine HCl); Zyrtec-D (Cetirizine/Pseudoephedrine); etc.) - to relieve allergy symptoms, such as red, itchy, watery eyes; nasal congestion; sneezing, etc., due to the increased levels of pollen, dust, mold, etc., in the air. Note: Always consult your physician before taking any medication, and use as directed.

  • Set Realistic Goals! Don’t overexert yourself, especially at an outdoor get-together where the idea is to relax and have a good time. Remember, as with most things in life, practice makes perfect! So, if you’re really interested in a particular sport or activity, practice it often, and you’ll be sure to impress your friends and family at your next outdoor event.

  • Most of all...Have Fun! Whether you’re a competitive athlete or an amateur, playing sports and exercising should be about enjoying yourself, spending time with friends and family, getting in touch with the great outdoors, teamwork, the spirit of the game, stress-relief, and good health!

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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