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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
colorfully decorated, candy-filled
(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
Tear or cut rectangular strips of
newspapers (approximately 5 x 3 inches in size).
Inflate a large, round balloon
with air and secure the end with a knot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
Handyman Zone Team