We know pinatas are great for kids parties and all kinds of celebrations, but where are they really coming from and what is their real meaning? This post of today will take you right through all relevant and curious information. At the end you will be a pinata specialist and who knows you might make your first crazy pinata. Here we start.
Pinatas are culture, fun and always a synonym of happiness with colours, candies, and toys inside. In addition to all of that, they can be used in many different types of parties and are definitely not only for children. Plus, all the fun you get when having a pinata is not comparable to anything else.
The post of today covers:
- What is a pinata?
- How to make a pinata
- When to use it
- How to fill it
- Ways of breaking it
- The weirdest pinata I’ve made.
What is a pinata?
Basically, pinatas are mache paper art made in different shapes. They are used to celebrate something, anything. You fill it and hang it to let people take turns to break it later on.
The pinatas in Mexico are made from mud and decorated with coloured papers. However, the mache paper technique makes it easier to adapt it to any shape.
History of pinatas
When we think about pinatas we associate it directly with Mexico, their culture and colours. And Mexico definitely brought this concept to the next level. However, pinatas originally come from China. Chinese used to make them to celebrate the Chinese New Year. They made big pinatas in shapes of cows and filled them with seeds. At the end of the New Years day they burnt them and kept the ashes for themselves.
Later, Marco Polo took some pinatas with him on his way back from China to Europe and showed them around in Italy and Spain. After that, pinatas we brought all the way to America in the colonizer’s ships.
Pinatas arrived in Mexico and were used to teach faith by the Spanish. Since then, Mexicans have used them in their religious celebrations. A curious fact about them is that the original pinatas have 7 peaks or cones. Each peak represents a capital sin. Therefore, you need to break the pinata blind folded because you need to show your blind faith.
How to make a pinata?
Making a pinata is a amazingly simple. On top of that it is a valuable DIY activity to do with your children at school, at childcare or at home. But start on time, because the whole process from start to finish can take a couple of days.
The materials you need are easy to find anywhere around you and the best part is that you can recycle all your old newspapers.
Materials: balloon, glue, old newspapers, coloured paper and scissors.
Step by step pinata
- Blow your balloon till the size you want to be your pinata.
- Combine 2 parts of white glue with one part of water. I make my own glue usually. In another post I will explain how to make this special glue.
- Cut 5×5 cm pieces out of old newspapers.
- Put the pieces of papers in the glue and stick them all around the balloon.
- Let it dry and repeat at least 4 times (this part can take some days, so start on time!).
- When its hard and dry take the balloon out of the pinata and you are ready to decorate it.
- You can paint it or add colourful pieces of papers.
- Fill the pinata with whatever you like, like candy’s, small toys and gifts.
- Bring it to a party and have fun smashing it into pieces!
When to use a pinata
Usually we use pinatas at kids birthday parties. But I believe they are ideal for every occasion! Because you bring so much fun and togetherness that it is all worth it. Some surprisingly occasions where you can use a pinata are:
- Team building events
- Bachelor party
- Bachelorette party
- Baby showers
- Adult birthday party
- Workshops for kids
- Office party
- Engagement party
- Kids birthday at home
- Kids birthday at school
- Kingsday (in the Netherlands)
How to fill it
The most important thing when filling a pinata is imagination. Besides that, everything is allowed inside it! For instance, you can use just toys, or make it healthy by addings (small) fruits or make it appropriate for an adult version.
I personally love to use confetti for filling, but some people might not appreciate that, so better check on your public before using that colourful (annoying) confetti.
In addition, other interesting fillings for kids are:
- Little tangerines
- Kids jewelry
Ideas to fill an adult pinata:
- Chewing gums
- Small plastic liquor bottle
- Eatable cigarettes
- Penalty dices
Ways of breaking a pinata
We arrive at the most conflictive, but fun part of a pinata: How to break it! Some parents find pinatas violent and dangerous. But, in my view that depends on your approach at the moment of breaking it.
There are 3 ways of breaking them and I suggest each of them depending on the public age.
Adults and big children (plus 8y/o)
It is important to hang your pinata outside to prevent accidents. After that, use a scarf to blind the person who is in turn and give him/her a stick. Before letting this person go for it, give him/her 3 turns around herself and 3 chances to hit it. Move the pinata up and down while they try to hit it, just to make it extra challenging.
Children from 4-8
With children of this age it’s better to leave their eyes free to see where to hit, you can either move or leave the pinata static. After 3 chances the next kid will take the turn.
Babies and kids till 4
Small kids love pinatas, you only need to make it kids proof. Therefore, glue pieces of rope under it and give one to every kid, sit them all together around the pinata and when you say now, they need to pull it off. All the filling will come under it and the kids will take what falls on the floor.
The craziest pinata I have ever made.
I love customizing pinatas for the reason that I have the chance to put my creative ideas into it and work with structures and colours. In addition, when I get a new order I get excited and full of energy, this really brings me fulfilment. In the past years I have been making pinatas mostly for kids parties, themes like monsters, sports and minions were some of the topics I covered.
Last year I got a call from a customer that changed my perspective of pinatas and its uses. He asked for a very crazy pinata. He and his friends were coming to Amsterdam to celebrate a bachelor party, of course they wanted a pinata, in the shape of a marihuana leaf.
I must admit this was the craziest and more challenging pinata I had made so far. I had to create a 3D leaf of marihuana, keep it straight and stable enough to survive a bachelor party. I loved it and since then I do believe pinatas can be used for any occasion.
Pinatas are loved by everyone, use them to bring colours and laughs to your celebration. There is a pinata for every occasion and you can make it yourself. Still if you prefer to enjoy a very customized and special pinata you can always call me.