History of Pinatas
Pinatas are believed to have come about during Renaissance times (the 16th Century) in Rome. Unlike what you see today, the pinatas then were pots that were filled with trinkets and jewelry. Like pinatas of today, they would be hung overhead and people would be blindfolded while the pot was swung overhead. The blindfolded person would swing at the pot to break it and release the trinkets.
The pinata came to the America's by way of Spanish explorers and conquistadors. In Mexico they quickly became a tradition of their own, with changes to what we normally see today: brightly colored shapes and figures made from paper mache and cardboard by Mexican artists.
That's why the definition of a pinata today is "a decorated vessel filled with candies, fruits, and gifts." We rarely now see or hear of pots or ceramic pinatas, but the decoration and bright colors remain, as does the tradition.
If anything, the paper mache and cardboard used today has allowed pinatas to become a favorite at parties of all ages and with uses far beyond anyone's wildest imaginations, including traditional birthday parties, to wedding party decorations and centerpieces, party favors for children's and adults parties and even today used by businesses in meetings, for decoration and as give-aways. Whatever your imagination can come up with, a pinata artist can create.
How to Make a Pinata You'll learn here how to make basic round pinatas. You can change the shape after you complete the basic pinata by following the instructions at the very bottom. Please have an adult to supervise children during this project.
• 1 Large Balloon
• 2 cups flour
• 3 cups water (you can substitute store-bought paper mache glue for the flour & water)
• Paint, colored markers or crayons
• Colored crepe paper
• Blow up the balloon and tie the end
• Cut newspaper into long thick (1 inch approximately) strips
• Mix the flour & water together to make paste
• Dip newspaper strips into paste mixture
• Place dipped newspaper carefully on balloon, covering entire balloon, except the small end where balloon
• Leave covered balloon to dry
• Repeat for 2 more layers (3 layers total)
• When 3rd layer is dry, pop balloon and remove it
• Paint the pinata in any colors/designs desired
• If desired, hang crepe paper from the bottom and sides *
• On the opposite end of your small opening, punch 2 very small openings and run string through the holes
• Fill the pinata through the bottom (opening you left) with small candy, toys, etc.
• After all the candy, toys, surprises are in, fill remainder with newspaper strips
* If you want to make your pinata into any other shape, you can do so by making legs, arms, etc out of colored (painted) cardboard or with scrunched up newspaper and glue, painted as you like. You can shape animals, fantasy characters, flowers, whatever your imagination desires. Then attach these to the basic pinata with glue or tape.
This is a great project to do with your children. It allows them to be creative and they will have fun!
Filling the Pinata:
Fill your Pinata with candy by turning it around to its back and finding the three-sided door. Pull (cut) out as much of the newspaper you want (the more you pull out, the larger the space for candy).
Use a Pinata stick or whiffle bat for breaking the Pinatas. Do NOT use metal or wooden bats. When someone is swinging at the Pinata, make sure everyone is at a safe distance.
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